Trailer Magazine

Difference in the detail

Difference in the detail

With a strong emphasis on sustainable business expansion, SouthPoint Garden Supplies recently added the 13th heavy vehicle to its fleet. Commissioned in late June, this is the company’s first Performance-Based Standards–approved four-axle dog and tipper combination manufactured by Bulk Transport Equipment.

Sensing an opportunity in the burgeoning landscaping materials space in the Geelong region post Global Financial Crisis (GFC), one decade ago SouthPoint Garden Supplies Managing Director, Ash Cook, purchased a garden supplies business in the beautiful beachside town of Torquay in south-western Victoria.

From there he set about nurturing and growing the business into the flourishing enterprise it is today. This entailed moving to a much larger purpose-built facility in 2014, one that was specifically designed to provide ultimate efficiency for the operation and convenience for its customers.

“We custom-built it for garden supplies with concrete bins and a drive-through warehouse for all the other products,” Ash explains. “We sell all types of landscaping and quarry products as well as construction and building materials.”

Ash’s previous experience in civil construction and plant hire operations gave him a good insight into what was required for the business as a whole, and, more specifically, for the transport side of the operation. He suggests the motley crew of old gear he inherited with the business was collectively well past its use-by date and the subsequent upgrade has been pivotal to its success.   

“We inherited four vehicles and now we have 13,” Ash says, adding that keeping the ‘beast’ fed is the name of the game.

As for his reasoning for choosing Bulk Transport Equipment (BTE), Ash describes being impressed by his suppliers’ tipper and dogs bearing the BTE brand when they drove into the facility.

“I saw the BTE bodies of suppliers’ vehicles coming into our yard and the design and look of them just stood out to me,” he says. “They looked sharp and obviously well-engineered so I thought I’d give them a try.

“Naturally enough, I got a range of quotes from a number of different body builders and they were all in the same ballpark; which meant the decision to go with BTE wasn’t a difficult one.”

Ash goes on to relate how the quality construction and superb presentation of the BTE bodies is backed by what he describes as a similarly high standard in customer service, personified by BTE Area Sales Manager, Darren Jean.

“My dealings with Darren have been fantastic,” Ash says. “He really knows his stuff and there was no hard sell; he explained all the details in a way that was easily understood and he was quick to follow up by phone and email with any queries I had.

“The guys in the workshop were great too. The Production Manager, Richard Byrne, took me on a tour of the factory and showed me all the facets of how the bodies are built. I thought that was outstanding considering I have bought two bodies from them, not 32. That sort of good old-fashioned customer service goes a long way with me.”

Interestingly, since commissioning the new BTE combination Ash says the tables have turned and other operators are commenting to him about his latest acquisition.

“Suppliers delivering to our yard are telling me they saw the new truck at various locations and how it caught their eye out on the road; it’s a very striking combination.”

Adding to the appeal of the BTE body and quad-dog tipper is the Kenworth T610 SAR truck to which they are attached. This unit has a Cummins X15 engine rated at 550hp driving through an 18-speed Eaton manual transmission. It features twin seven-inch diameter stacks and a Groeneveld auto greasing system to eliminate the time and effort required for manual greasing. 

According to Ash, the Kenworth T610 SAR is an ideal truck for this application with its equal measures of style and strength.

“This is our first four-axle dog, complementing our two three-axle dogs that are pulled by 2008 model T408 SAR Kenworths,” Ash elaborates. “With a gross combination mass (GCM) of 57.5 tonnes, the new unit is mainly used for the longer hauls to the east of Melbourne and north-eastern Victoria, bringing around 900 tonnes of quarry products back to our yard each week. This represents a 30 per cent increase in carrying capacity over each of the three-axle dog units.”

The BTE four-axle dog features Alcoa Dura-Bright alloy wheels supporting SAF-Holland axles and air suspension, the latter incorporating an on-board weighing system.

Ash confirms his belief that as the business continues to grow, causing a corresponding increase in demand for quarry materials, it’s likely that more BTE quad-dog tipper combinations will be added to the fleet.

“I reckon when the time comes we’ll be lining up for more, can’t wait,” he concludes.

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