Design for living
As transport companies increase awareness around their branding, the design features of a truck can do more than just create a pretty picture. Not only does Daisy’s Garden Supplies set high standards on this front, quality customisation from PACCAR Parts just might be playing a part in helping to retain drivers.
Branding around a business, according to marketing principles, should be unique, simple and consistent. For transport companies, trucks and the trailers they haul, are often rolling billboards in which to associate a company identity with a product. Daisy’s Garden Supplies, a Melbourne-based business that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, adopts a distinct uniform approach to its fleet with an inherent awareness that brand vision often dictates growth. The core business remains retail garden supplies to builders and landscapers although the bigger trucks, like the 12 Kenworths it runs out of a considerable fleet of 80 vehicles, supplies its bigger customers with larger volumes of material as they replenish stock levels.
In 1979 the company was borne from little according to Director Evan Mulcahy whose parents Neil and Margaret established the business with a lone tipper out of a location in Ringwood where they had a permit for a garden supply business. His father, who passed away two years ago, was a diesel mechanic and a truck purist. Evan, who continues to drive, is very much in the same vein. In the early 1990s Neil and Margaret purchased an additional five acres in Carrum Downs, augmented with a workshop and, as the business grew, so did the fleet. Machines and equipment were soon added. In 2003 they purchased a pebble quarry in Bright, in northeast Victoria serviced most days by three of the Kenworths. A third retail site was purchased in Ashwood back in 2008. They have a production facility in Hallam where they mix and blend soils from raw materials which they sell out of their own yards and also to local councils and landscaping projects.
The company, according to Evan, purchased its first Kenworth, a T650, in 1990. Since then each subsequent Kenworth has been purchased with superchrome alloy rims, sun visors and stainless air cleaners from the factory spec’d in accordance with his preference.
“It’s the brand to have. The first one sold us on its reliability and the back-up service,” he says. “It was the whole package and we never looked back from there. My dad and I have always been truck people. If you’re a truck person you see the extra value in the cost to buy a Kenworth.”
Seeing a return of about half of what the business puts into a Kenworth after having had the best out of it when they sell them is part of the attraction says Evan. Design elements such as sweep backs, grill bars and gauge covers have always helped to make it an imposing commercial vehicle. Each prime mover is ordered from PACCAR with a black chassis and yellow cab, generally with a white roof. The tipper body and Hercules trailer are later mounted, with the extrusions polished prior to the body being put together.
“Superchrome alloy rims are fitted all around truck and trailer before they get sent to the painters at Total Fleet Imaging in Laverton,” Evan says. “The stripes are done so that they match the body at the same time.”
Once the prime mover is painted a premium shield clear wrap goes over the paint work to protect it. The process evolves from there.
Originally the colour scheme for Daisy’s Garden Supplies was green bodies and yellow cab with white stripe. In 2010 when Evan bought two Kenworth K108s he changed the colour scheme on the bigger trucks to what it is today, dynamic yellow.
“They’re a great advertising tool and the drivers take a lot of pride in the trucks and what they do,” says Evan. “So they really like a flash paint scheme and the rest of the accessories that go with it. And they look good out on the road and delivering into sites.”
Customers of PACCAR can nominate the accessories they want added on at the Dealership on the Kenworth T610 and T610SAR. Each of these models can be pre-delivered with decorative extras. By offering high quality accessories available at the Dealership according to Michael Long PACCAR Parts – National Sales & Marketing Manager, it also helps to reduce delays in getting the truck on the road.
“Our truck sales guys at the dealerships can now have these conversations with the customer to option up T610 and T610SAR with accessories which wasn’t something they could fully do through the dealership prior to late last year,” he says. “Customers would have had to send it out and get it fitted by an Accessories Workshop. Now the dealership can be a one stop shop and cut out that step of getting your truck fitted out by a third party, ready for use. The wait on which can be months.”
This same customisation will be available on the new model Kenworth T360 and T410 released later in the year as they share similarities with the T610 and T610SAR models. The better they can make the Kenworth product look, according to Michael, the easier it is to sell it.
“Drivers are scarce these days and we need to make sure we hold onto them. People love driving Kenworths and love being seen in them especially the more visually striking ones. If that can keep a driver working longer for one of our customers than that’s good for all of us.”
Kenworth trucks he says are an aspirational product.
“It’s the pinnacle of products in road transport. We recognise that a lot of our customers particularly on the Kenworth side of the business like to customise their trucks and individualise the experience of operating one,” he says. “This is the next level of that customisation.”
This year at Daisy’s Garden Supplies, Evan will have his second driver to reach the milestone of 20 years of service with the company. The average years of service across his drivers, however, is difficult to estimate.
“They start and they don’t leave,” Evan jokes. “They come here and tend to stay. The longevity of the staff gives you a bit of stability and that makes it a little bit easier in your day-to-day operations to be able to plan ahead and if you want to grow things or stay the same if you’ve got that support behind you. It makes it that bit easier.”
All drivers are uniformed and are responsible for the upkeep of their truck. It helps set a standard and as a result Evan says they take greater pride in their work. He expects a lot from the drivers given the business hinges on providing the highest levels of service for their customers. That means having the best drivers that are available.
“We go to some tricky spots where it’s very tight and people will say it’s too hard to get in there and we’ll get in there,” Evan says. “That’s part of the role of the driver which is ultimately to make the customer happy.”
At Bright, where Daisy’s Garden Supplies excavates pebbles out of the old dredge tailings, the product is then hauled as far as Mount Gambier in South Australia or Sydney, New South Wales and various garden supplies across regional and metropolitan Victoria. Performance-Based-Standards has allowed the company to carry more in its truck and dog combinations. Because of that the trucks have gotten bigger and so too have the distances they now cover. This often entails the drivers being away from home for a night or two during the week.
“I tend to build the trucks to suit that. The new big cab we’ve gone for has a bunk cooler, TV and microwave for the driver which makes it more comfortable for him when he’s not at home,” Evan says. “I appreciate the effort that they put in and their level of commitment. So I try and do what I can to make it easier especially when you’re not out there yourself it’s important to do what you can for them.”