Starting a new finish
As it celebrates its centenary this year, Australian paint manufacturer, Dulux, partners with logistics giant Linfox as its preferred supplier.
In the Australian environment, where harsh UV light pushes the needle into the extremes, paint created for overseas conditions and material designed on price rather than Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standard, can fade within 10 years or sooner. For operators and fleet managers who take pride in presentation, and display identifiable signage, this presents problems, especially for aging fleets.
Having recently turned 100, Dulux has long studied Australian conditions. It’s expertise in paint applications, underpins a heritage that has made it an ideal candidate to partner with Linfox. The two Australian companies have struck a recent alliance with Linfox agreeing to use Dulux as an exclusive partner across its entire fleet.
Ray Gamble, President Fleet, Linfox Logistics, says Linfox was pleased to partner with another iconic Australian brand in Dulux.
“As an iconic company, Linfox is proud to partner with another company that understands us, has similar values and maintains the highest of standards,” he says. “It’s great to work with another Australian company that understands Australian conditions and what it takes to maintain the exacting standards of our trucks and trailers in the Australian climate.”
Exposure to countless hours of brutal sunlight presents a problem for operators who are looking for brand uniformity across their truck and trailer fleets. It’s a problem, to which Dulux has engineered, through years of in-depth laboratory tests, a solution, according to Greg Lynch, Dulux, Business Manager, Dulux Refinish & Industrial.
“Ultraviolet light here is much higher than North America and Europe,” he says. “Paint from overseas can struggle to perform in the harsh Australian conditions and applications by painters of inferior product will not provide cost benefits for fleets in the long term.”
Dulux FleetShield, a product specifically developed for Australian conditions, comes from the local Melbourne laboratory where a thorough understanding of the pigments required of it has been developed over decades of testing. The testing involves both accelerated testing in the laboratory and exposure in the field.
Dulux might have re-entered the road transport market only recently but Greg says Dulux FleetShield has the pedigree of extensive lab testing, to make it a premium product. The proof, he says, is there to see.
“Fleets all want uniform colours across the board,” he says, “If you’re not concerned about brand of paint and using various suppliers you risk variations in the yard which can be noticeable.”
Partnering with Linfox Logistics to paint its trailers with Dulux FleetShield is a major boon for Dulux as it re-enters the road transport industry.
“It’s terrific to have a company like Linfox on board as a customer,” Greg says. “For us it’s a great opportunity. It elevates what we’re trying to do and it provides a credibility of endorsement which we can build from.”
With the average age of a truck closing-in on 15 years, the colour spectrum many fleets use is often well over 10 years old. Minimising the number of times a vehicle is off the road being repainted is a benefit to the fleet owner. Owners, in close consultation with Dulux, sign-off on the back of the match that best represents their requirement so as to ensure the best colour matching and Dulux will provide multiple copies of the standard so that each applicator will be equipped with it. Together with the standard the fleet owners will be able to give the Dulux FleetShield Blueprint direct to their painter. All of the products required are listed, with detailed instructions as to how they should best be applied, including primers, topcoats, clearcoats if required, and recommendations on design and colour usage. An advantage Dulux hopes to provide is that owners can give the instructions direct to their painter and have confidence that the fleet will appear how they have foreseen it.
As Dulux provides clear direction on the type of paint being used, high standards can be met, especially those maintained by larger operators. It was one of the factors that corresponded with the requirements of Linfox.
“Dulux has brought its expertise to ensure that the Linfox brand always looks strong and consistent,” Ray says. “Red must always be our red. Yellow must always be our yellow. We can’t have inconsistency.”
He said Linfox, which has many truck and trailer suppliers, could take comfort in the Dulux FleetShield Blueprint Specification.
“The Dulux Blueprint ensures that we can have consistency across all of our suppliers and maintain our exacting standards,” Ray says. “Our vehicles are the first contact many people have with the Linfox brand. Dulux FleetShield helps protect the Linfox brand by ensuring it’s always looking its best.”
Developed locally, Dulux FleetShield comes with a 10-year warranty. According to Ray, who says the Australian conditions are harsh on all of Linfox’s trucks and trailers, this was a significant point-of-difference.
“It’s great to know that Dulux stands behind its products, just as Linfox stands behind its service,” Ray says.
Dulux is Australia’s most trusted paint brand according to an annual survey conducted in 2017 by Reader’s Digest.