The Bedrock business is not just a transport operation, the end-users are buying the product from Bedrock and it is being delivered in Bedrock trucks, although the company also uses a number of sub-contractors.
The number of subbies can get up to 35 a day in busy time, but dwindles away when times are quiet. These are strictly vetted and required to supply monthly data for compliance. According to Mick a balance of 50 per cent company trucks and 50 per cent subbies gives the operation an ideal balance and enables him to deal with peaks and troughs in work.
Customers include concrete plants, civil contractors and manufacturing plants. Eighty per cent of the time the product being hauled is also sold by Bedrock, the other 20 per cent is hauled as a transport contractor for others.
Most of work involved, for a business which is not just a transport operation, revolves around bringing product from the Newcastle area to Sydney and also from Marulan to Sydney. There is some work to the West of Sydney and a plan to extend the operation North to Port Macquarie.
“Sometimes I think running three trucks would be fine,” says Bedrock’s owner, Mick Colley. “But the fact of the matter is we grew with our customer base. We grew with them through that boom, which slowed down at the beginning of 2017. This industry is the barometer of our economy, we are the first to go and the first to slow.
“This year, before the election it was very quiet. Since the election, the quotes really started to come in. This is the most amount of quotes I have done since I have been in business. We are not far from the position we were in during the boom”
Even though this is not just a transport operation, the Bedrock team totals 21, with four running the office, one sales manager on the road and sixteen drivers.
Load allocation is handled using iPads in every truck with the driver receiving instructions on loading and unloading, locations and getting the job signed for all done electronically. Drivers can actually log in on their phones if need be.
Tracking using Dynafleet on the Mack and Volvo trucks has enabled Mick to work on improving fuel consumption using consultation with the drivers. Currently, the tri-tri A-double is achieving 2.2 km/l. The transition to PBS has not dented the fuel economy possible, the move from 32 tonne payload combinations to 40 tonne payload ones has seen fuel consumption remain pretty much the same.
“We are currently tendering for some government contracts and they look at carbon dioxide output,” says Mick. “I can show that my truck is 33 per cent better in fuel economy and CO2 than a truck and quad dog.”
Compliance can be handled by the operations manager with a consultant coming in once a month to audit the data to ensure it’s going OK. All of the trips and all of the masses involved are recorded electronically, so the data is in the system and accessible for anyone who needs to look at it.
“The issue in this industry is we have got too many cowboys operating,” says Mick. “I have a subbie who works for us and he has truck and quad dogs, he does everything he needs to give data to us for CoR requirements. Everything is done by the book, the drivers are on BFM, the whole works.
“He also does some work carting dirt around and on one job gets five loads a day when complying, but all of the cowboys on the job get six loads a day. He is penalising his income, because he is doing the right thing.”