Trailer Magazine

Barker heritage and craftsmanship drives ongoing milestones

  • From the April 2018 issue.
Barker heritage and craftsmanship drives ongoing milestones

Long established national semi-trailer manufacturer, Barker Trailers, has built an enviable reputation of providing customers with transport outcomes based on operational efficiency and uptime.

The regional Victorian based family business of over 44 years, cites founders Arthur and Ernie Barker’s craft of building high quality trailers matched directly to customer requirements as the foundations of the company’s continued success.

Such customer alignment was recently highlighted when Barker supplied key customer Geoff Kelly, Owner Semi Skel Hire with his 1000th trailer. Their fleet is almost exclusively Barker. “They are the best in the industry,” Kelly says. “Barker’s are superior.”

The Barker journey has seen it evolve from two brothers building trailers for local farmers in their shed, through to a business with near 200 employees operating from production facilities in Woodend and Maryborough, Victoria.

It’s this journey the company recently celebrated in style commemorating the delivery of the 10,000th Barker trailer. The event featured a who’s who of dignitaries including Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Industry & Employment, Ben Carol, along with 180 loyal staff, family, customers, suppliers and industry guests who all recognised Barker’s outstanding contribution to the industry, and local economy and community over many years. 

Proceedings took place amidst a tangible backdrop of Barker Trailer number 10,000 sitting alongside Barker number one.

Trailer number 10,000 is a highly specified curtainsider purchased by South Australian based customer Trans Australian Freight Management. National Business Manager, Colin Gillette, says the business has undergone much diversification since its inception nearly 40 years ago.

“We don’t wish to try and be everything to everybody, but align our business with business that aligns with our own,” he says. “It’s important to adapt to the ever-changing demands of our clients and we can only do that by understanding their needs and by matching up compatible freight mixes allowing us to provide an efficient service.”
‘Trailer Number One’, showcased at the event, is a restored bogie axle Barker Flat-top. It was manufactured for customer Jack McKenna of Bendigo, and was purchased back by Barker more recently. Loyal and long-term supply partners were also recognised by Barker, as they shared their stories of supply chain activity and impressive statistics over the years.

In attendance at the milestone were three generations of Barker family and over 50 staff with more than 10 years of service, who are still working in the business. Simon Meadows, Barker Trailers CEO, says it was important to recognise their contribution.
“It’s an honour to be a part of the Barker Team, an amazing group of people who achieve great things,” he says. “There’s a true passion and commitment to quality throughout the business. Barker would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to the rich history of the Barker journey, and we look forward to achieving more great milestones with our fantastic network of staff, customers, supply partners and the broader industry into the future.”
In addition to the Barker Trailers milestone of being “10,000 trailers strong”, the show rolls on as the Barker team prepare for the big stage of MEGATRANS to engage with their valued customers, which coincides with another celebration, a 25-year association with their leading dealer Brown and Hurley.

“The Brown and Hurley and Barker partnership reinforces the essence of Barker’s history, which is being a family business with passion for providing customers with quality and efficient products and support,” says Rod Cunningham, Barker Trailers, General Manager – Sales and Marketing. “There is a real correlation and understanding between two great family businesses, that seems to resonate well with customers in particular those running family business themselves.”

The Brown and Hurley group was established in similar fashion back in 1946 when Jack Hurley and his mate Alan Brown returned from the war and decided to go into business together. Their first business was a bicycle shop with a workshop and petrol bowsers. Ever since then it has evolved into an award-winning dealer of new and used commercial trucks and trailers with nine branches across Northern New South Wales and Queensland. Family members are to be found throughout the nine branches along with a team of people who have accumulated an extraordinary amount of experience in the industry.

“Our relationship started with a hand shake back in the day and has grown stronger and stronger over the years and we certainly look forward to the companies celebrating another 25 years together,” says Scott Barker, Director and Manufacturing Manager of Barker Trailers.

Dylan Hurley, B&H Trailer Division Manager, echoed these sentiments. “Our companies are both built on foundations of providing customers with efficient and reliable products with great product support after the sale,” he says, “and we look forward to building our relationship over the next 25 years.”

“While the milestones accumulate, Barker Trailers are heavily focussed on the future, presenting innovation to the industry and meeting growing market demands,” says Rod Cunningham. “Our brand is underpinned by the timeless values of family craftsmanship and pride in our product and service.”

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