K&S Fuller Transport: True and Tested
K&S Fuller Transport, trading as K&S Transport, is a company firmly focussed on providing high standards in customer service and satisfaction that has resulted in strong allegiances enduring over the years.
Kelvyn and Shirley Fuller are salt of the earth people. There are no airs or graces from the couple who have established a reputation in road transport as being extremely reliable, caring for freight and working closely with their customer base in a very hands-on manner that has earned a high level of respect from all they deal with.
Like many in the industry the couple started with just one truck, servicing the needs of people in the western New South Wales town of Peak Hill where they carted cattle and grain nearly 40 years ago, but how things have changed since that time when conditions in trucking were not even remotely similar to what they are today.
Kelvyn and Shirley relocated to Brisbane in 1972 where Kelvin carried on as an owner driver carrying meat for butchering company AJ Bush & Sons, time sensitive refrigerated freight the mainstay of the business that saw him happily ply the highways. It is a familiar tale in road transport but when the association with the meat supplier ended, Kelvin could see opportunities servicing country areas and grasped them with both hands.
“One thing that was obvious was that many rural areas sadly lacked proper transport services, particularly west of Toowoomba, and we were able to provide those services with a high level of reliability people could count on,” Kelvyn says.
“The thing is that this is a service industry and if you promise customers a job will be done you must be able to deliver on that promise.”
The move to service those areas began in earnest in 1975 and it was soon obvious there was a need to expand the fleet to deliver the goods people were seeking in a number of areas in the South West Queensland region. Growth was the order of the day but Kelvin and Shirley never lost sight of the fact there was a real need to be in complete control of the business along with constant customer contact, something that remains a high priority today.
Focus on service
With his many years experience on the road, Kelvin was and remains acutely aware of what can happen at the most inopportune times and from day one contingency plans were developed and acted upon to ensure the freight indeed gets through.
“Years ago trucks were not as reliable as they are today and it was vital to ensure we arrived when we said we would, so every detail to counter the unexpected was worked out to address all situations should they arise. In saying that you can still have breakdown problems and this continues to be factored into the business operations,” he points out.
“The thing is that this is a service industry and if you promise customers a job will be done you must be able to deliver on that promise. We do not, and will not, promise anything we can’t do and while all tasks we undertake are done in good faith, if something does happen to go wrong you must address it rapidly and efficiently and let the customer know the exact details of the event and keep them informed.
“Our relationship with customers is excellent and we do everything we can for them to ensure their business is serviced promptly and efficiently. If they have success, then so do we,” Kelvyn says.
He explains that all aspects of compliance are thoroughly discussed with the company’s customer base resulting in a win-win situation for all. K&S Transport is totally committed to maintaining high compliance standards and works diligently to ensure all requirements are met. Each individual run the trucks do is carefully structured to achieve best practice in this regard.
Regional customer base
While the basis of the company’s business is now regional areas, K&S Transport was once a player in the long distance sector, but today this has been scaled back dramatically to better allow improved services to customers in an area stretching from Brisbane in the west to Cairns in the far north of the state.
“We still do interstate transport but the business has been more centralised on the needs of our regional customers. A big part of that is cartage into retail stores, mainly with perishable freight, keeping us busy for most periods of the year,” Kelvyn points out.
“One of the problems we have found is that loading from the southern capitals can be unreliable at times, in fact we have had drivers held over for days waiting for a return load. This is a very competitive industry and when loading is short, it can be difficult to arrange quick turnaround, plus some of the rates offered can be questionable,” Kelvyn says.
“Our relationship with customers is excellent and we do everything we can for them to ensure their business is serviced promptly and efficiently. If they have success, then so do we.”
K&S was an early DAF customer and while the recently released PACCAR engines were under reliability testing in this country, an XF95 model was leased and operated on B-double linehaul between Melbourne and Cairns.
“The DAF proved to be a good truck on B-double long distance work, but we were under strict instructions to never to raise the cab on the unit. When it came time for servicing or any work on the vehicle we were not to touch it, everything was done by DAF so all we did was put fuel in it for the duration of the time it was in service with us.
“We had ordered a new Kenworth T650 at a time when truck manufacturing was going gang busters and when it came time to give the DAF back the new truck was some months away, so we made arrangements to continue using it for another three months and had no issues with it at all,” Kelvyn reports.
Several DAFs are in the fleet including 4x2 CF models used on the cartage of plastic bottles for a major customer of the dry freight sector of the business. These have been welcomed by the drivers who appreciate the comfort features and ease of driving.
Sense of pride
The policy at K&S Transport is one driver – one truck that allows the person behind the wheel to call the vehicle ‘home’, delivering pride in the truck and trailers and maintaining a high standard of presentation the company is proud of.?
“There are a good group of people working for the company who all take immense pride in what they do not only for us but our customers. They are so good that they know customer requirements intimately and work with them to ensure the best service our company can give them is delivered. This sort of relationship with customers is extremely important and I know when a truck leaves the depot, the driver does the best job possible,” Kelvyn says proudly.
K&S Transport is totally committed to maintaining high compliance standards and works diligently to ensure all requirements are met. Each individual run the trucks do is carefully structured to achieve best practice in this regard.
A large part of the refrigerated transport activities undertaken is for a major fast food chain, including runs to Cairns, and the temperature sensitive freight is proudly carried to arrive in pristine condition. Thermo King fridge plants are used and relationships with suppliers are also of importance. Kelvyn’s long experience in refrigerated freight haulage has seen him a long user of the brand and with an emphasis on doing the job in the best manner possible, goods in his care are monitored every step of the way.
If you look at one of the latest vans operated by the company you will see the fridge plant is one he and Shirley bought at the ATA Convention auction two years ago. With its themed paintwork, the Thermo King fridge unit can be seen travelling the highways on long haul duties.
The yard at Hemmant in Brisbane is usually devoid of trucks during the week due to the fact they are all out working, indicative of the high regard customers have for the services offered. Refrigerated and dry freight sees vans, curtainsiders and flat tops operated in a variety of roles.
The policy at K&S Transport is one driver – one truck that allows the person behind the wheel to call the vehicle ‘home’, delivering pride in the truck and trailers and maintaining a high standard of presentation the company is proud of.
“You have to consider diversity in transport to give you an edge in what you can offer customers. Refrigeration is a big part of the business but so too is the dry freight we handle for a variety of customers. Container transport is not something we do much of, but if a customer wants a box picked up and delivered we are able to do that, offering a complete service to meet requirements,” Kelvyn says.
All in the family
It is a real family concern with daughter Jacqui working in the office and brother-in-law Colin Scott looking after operations. Handling the ongoing paper trail and accounts is Ruth Agate who also attends to compliance matters, and Kelvyn and Shirley are never far away.
“Customers can pick up the phone and immediately talk to one of us with any query or transport requirement addressed and handled quickly. A rapid response is important to all people and we ensure nobody is ever left waiting for a response or an answer. This hands-on approach is appreciated by those who use our services and has done much to continue a close personal relationship with customers,” Kelvyn indicates.
“Everybody who works here takes a high level of pride in both what they do and the business requirements of our customers. Pride is a part and parcel of our operations and that too is vital to the client base.”
With nearly 40 years in the road transport business, Kelvyn and Shirley Fuller have brought old school values into a business that offers the highest levels of service across every activity undertaken.
“People have come to our company to give us a trial, a test if you like, and most of those have remained with us for many years. The economic times continue to be a concern to all businesses and particularly those in trucking, but doing our very best is benefitting us and those we carry for.”