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Prime Mover Magazine


The ripple effect

The ripple effect

Now in its 65th year in business, Lindsay Transport has its operations running like clockwork thanks to the help of its equipment suppliers.

Spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, said, “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

He was advising that every action has consequences that flow on in other areas, and though his words were likely aimed at inspiring humans to be good to one another, they are also appropriate to consider in a transport business context.

For Lindsay Transport General Manager Operations, Rob Dummer, keeping an eye on the ripple is first and foremost an issue of scheduling the company’s fleet of 1,000-plus prime movers, trailers, rigids and light-duty vehicles.

“We have about 500 drivers, out of that around 40-50 drivers do linehaul, the majority do shuttle work,” Rob says. “Some trucks might have four different drivers changing over as they travel non-stop on tight schedules.”

Part of the shuttling process involves pre-loading trailers full of fresh produce, general freight, express freight or chiller and frozen cargo to be ready to hook up to the truck as soon as it arrives at a depot or distribution centre for a delivery. “We’re on tight schedules where there’s just no stopping,” he says. “If you delay one truck it affects more than one delivery and so on, causing a ripple effect down the lines.”

While organising the fleet is one thing, ensuring the schedules are adhered to is another matter entirely, Rob says, as unexpected maintenance or vehicle downtime can also instigate a wave of unmet deliveries. As such, equipment reliability is paramount to the Lindsay operation, which is what prompted the company to implement a new five-year replacement program for the heavy vehicle fleet. “Interest rates were good at the time and we saw the advantage of getting new equipment at the right rate,” Rob says.

“It has easily paid off in terms of repairs and maintenance, which dropped substantially as we upgraded the fleet, which is incredibly important for us considering we do all of our own maintenance in-house.”

A long-time Kenworth customer, Lindsay Transport began its fleet replacement process in 2015 through its PACCAR Dealer, Brown & Hurley Kenworth DAF Coffs Harbour, which has been working with Lindsay Transport for more than 40 years. In October that year, Lindsay Transport received its 300th Kenworth, a specially painted T409. The milestone vehicle was immediately put to work on linehaul B-double work, and more recently the company has begun specifying the new T610 prime movers. Lindsay Transport has taken delivery of 35 of the T610 prime mover since its introduction just 12 months ago, Rob says.

“We’ve always turned to Kenworth trucks for our linehaul deliveries because they are durable, reliable and have a low tare weight, so we can get more payload in the trailers,” Rob says. “The T610 takes the Kenworth product to the next level with a new, much roomier cab that the driver can stand up in, which makes it more liveable.”

All the T610s have the X15 Cummins Euro 5 Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) engine with the Eaton Ultra-Shift Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), which Rob says provides more control.

“We can program the gearbox for what we want, and make sure we’re getting the best fuel economy out of the trucks,” he says.

Part of the replacement program also included introducing DAF CF85 6x4 and CF75 8x4 trucks for local work, and some single trailer linehaul and rigid applications “It’s horses for courses,” Rob says. “The Kenworths are better for the heavier, long distance trips but the DAF trucks are brilliant around town. They’re all fitted with automatic transmissions for the stop-start traffic, and they have a good turning circle and low entry so they’re perfect.”

Previously, Lindsay would populate its metro fleet with the older linehaul trucks that had been downgraded to local deliveries, which were something of a side-note to the company’s linehaul focus. However, the local content of the business has become increasingly important, which Rob says grew in line with the changing regulations.

“The metro part of the business grew hand in hand with the changes in legislation and we needed a local truck to do that,” Rob says. “Nowadays if you don’t get the last five kilometres done right you might as well not bother doing the first 1,000 kilometres.”

The next phase of the replacement program is currently in discussions, Rob reveals. “We’re currently talking to PACCAR about its financing options and are investigating a number of business scenarios that could see us leasing prime movers for two to three years, bringing the fleet age down even further,” he says.
“We’re doing the numbers now, but the PACCAR team has been very proactive in helping us achieve our goals.”

Rob adds that the Lindsay business has been working together with PACCAR through Brown & Hurley since Tom and Peter Lindsay first approached Jack Hurley and Alan Brown more than 40 years ago, so the businesses understand each other well. “Over the years we’ve dealt with different individuals at Brown & Hurley, but the thing I like is that every single person there understands our business, our methods and our tight schedules,” Rob says. “They’re always contactable if we have any questions and work together with every part of the PACCAR offering to help Lindsay Transport succeed.”

Lindsay lineage
Now in its 65th year in business, the Lindsay Australia operation traces back to 1953, when Tom and Peter Lindsay bought two trucks from their father,  Victor, and started Lindsay Brothers to transport bananas. The company has been publicly-listed since 2003 with Tom’s son Kim Lindsay as CEO, and now boasts a fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles.

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