By all accounts, doing business over the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. You can just imagine the teeth clenching, eye scrunching and white knuckles of business owners around the country, holding on for dear life (and here’s hoping there’s a gentle landing and not a nasty drop).
There’s one transport logistics company over in South Australia doing the loop-de-loop with the rest of Australia’s essential transport providers—Deliver It Group—who run a medley of dry goods vans and refrigerated vehicles, including a 12-strong line-up of N Series Isuzu trucks.
“We do dairy, coffee, seafood, fruit and veg, along with flowers for the major supermarkets and retailers,” said Matt Draper, Deliver It founder and managing director.
“Half of our business is hospitality based—restaurants, cafes and the like—and the other half is supermarket based.
“When COVID hit, we saw a huge drop in one side of the business, while our supermarket trade blew out the roof.
“As that settled, hospitality picked up again. I mean, people can’t go out and travel, so if you’ve got the money, you’re spending it in restaurants, on good food, because there’s nothing else to really treat yourself with.
“It’s been crazy, it’s absolutely booming over here at the moment… we’ve grown 40 per cent as a company overall in the past 12 months,” Matt noted with a hint of disbelief in his voice.
The success of Deliver It isn’t solely pinned on a pandemic fallout. The company recently won the award for fastest employment growth in Brand South Australia’s ‘Fast Movers’ of 2019, while Matt has earned a spot in South Australia’s Top 40 Under 40, recognising young entrepreneurs under forty years of age.
“We do pride ourselves on service and presentation, and being the best we can be in Adelaide,” Matt said.
“Our model is a bit different from other large transport companies: we dedicate each of our trucks to a supplier every day. That truck will only see that customer’s products, which means we can deliver the best planning, best service and best tracking for them.
“Ninety per cent of our drivers will be taking care of the same customers, with the same truck, really taking ownership for of what they do.
“It’s just good old fashioned customer service,” he quipped.
A top-notch company needs a top-notch fleet, and this is where Isuzu’s N Series shines, with the team at North East Isuzu ensuring Deliver It get precisely what they need for the demands of refrigerated freight transport.
“We’re running 20 refrigerated trucks, and 12 of those are Isuzus,” Matt said.
“The NLRs are used mostly in the city runabout routes… the bigger NPRs and NQR we use for weighty items like dairy and out-of-town runs.
“They’re handling dirt roads on Kangaroo Island, major highways and metro driving on a daily basis while loaded.
“Each of our trucks does between 50,000 to 60,000 kilometres a year.”
Clocking numbers like this, Matt is relying on the reliability of the Isuzu brand and his work-hard, look-smart N Series fleet to pull weight. So far, so good, he says—with twenty toes and fingers crossed.
“Some of our Isuzu trucks had done five, six, 700,000 kilometres and we’d never touched them, never had to do a single thing to them except regular maintenance.
“I’m not kidding,” he assured.
“When it’s time for our older trucks to be swapped over, we certainly won’t be looking anywhere else but Isuzu.
“But none of our trucks are over four years old at the moment… we’re going with new or late-model trucks with extended five-year warranty, which makes it easy to stay on the right side of Chain of Responsibility compliance, while keeping our drivers safe and comfortable.”
Safety is something no sensible transport operator overlooks, and this means getting serious about features that cut out the possibility for errors.
It’s reverse cameras, rear-facing cameras, front-facing cameras and internal cameras for Deliver It, along with safety steps and automatic transmissions, as well as bullbars for the vehicles taking on rural roads (and possibly, kangaroos).
“Lots of cameras, yes, AMTs and autos, they have to be two-pedal,” said Matt.
“They’re more reliable, much better for driver comfort and they’re cheaper overall because we’re not going through clutches.
“Look, we love these Isuzu trucks,” he continued.
“They’re quiet, they’re smooth, they’re reliable, and very, very easy to drive, which is incredibly important because it’s been a challenge finding experienced drivers lately.
“We’re starting 95 per cent of our drivers fresh, no experience, and they’re starting off their career in these smaller N Series trucks.
“They’re all good people doing great work representing the company… my job is to make it as comfortable as I can for them, so they can get on with what they need to do.”
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