Adam Hester Transport on the rise
Although young for the transport industry, Adam Hester has never let his age be a factor to his business. Instead, he’s proven himself with his high quality service that facilitates strong relationships and attracts new clients.
In the road transport industry, with a workforce that is aging 2.2 times faster than all other industries, young blood is rare. In fact, 55 per cent of the over 370,300 people in the workforce are aged 45 years or over, according to the latest data from Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council E-Scan.
Tucked away in the Western Sydney suburb of Padstow, Adam Hester Transport, a burgeoning container transport company run by its namesake, Adam Hester, is bucking the trend. At only 34 years of age, Adam has become a shining example of how young people can find success in an aging industry.
“I started in the transport industry when I was just 18 years old, and worked for a few years as an owner-driver for Ingham Chicken delivering to Woolworths,” Adam says. “Woolies changed its delivery process and Ingham lost the contract, so in 2007 I bought my own truck – an Isuzu – and a side loader and started hauling containers for Jaycar Electronics.”
Ever since, Adam has worked hard to prove that he is a proficient business owner, emphasising that his age never mattered to his customers as long as he did a good job and delivered the best service possible.
And there’s no doubt that’s how Adam runs his business, allowing him to forge strong relationships with his clients, staff and suppliers. “Back when I started out on my own, I did about five containers a week for Jaycar. As Jaycar started growing, I grew with it and now we do 35 containers a week for Jaycar and 300 a week across all my clients. It’s given us a chance to build great relationships.”
Adam says that the service he provides to his clients is at the core of those relationships, and that it is therefore his main priority. “I offer a very personalised service, as I am at the front of every transaction that happens in the company. I don’t have a sales team, I do all of that personally so my clients get to know me.
“Because of the quality of the service I provide, I’ve never had to chase work. It has all been my current customers telling others that I did a good job and am good to work with. It also meant that I didn’t have any problems with being so young in this industry. I had proof of my service and capability from Jaycar, who is still a client of mine to this day.”
Thanks to his reputation, and with a good word from Jaycar, Adam then was offered work for retail giant Myer in 2010 through a well-known and respected freight forwarder. But Adam is quick to explain that it’s not just about winning a contract, it’s about making sure his customers are happy with the service provided and keeping them around for the long term.
“Costs are coming down, and everyone’s being offered cheaper rates, but my customers stick with me because they know I will provide the service they’re after,” says Adam – adding that it takes regular investments in new technology to meet growing service expectations.
“The clients I service enjoy the fact that, because of my age, I look at things differently compared to more traditional carriers, like the fact that I am very IT driven, which is something most of the older carriers don’t enjoy.”
A recent technology upgrade that Adam has ventured into is a customised data tracking system. “I created my own transport system to help get the company to that next level. I use a transport system called Freight Tracker, and modified it with modules to suit the specifications of my company,” says Adam.
With the new system, Adam’s clients can see where their containers are, in real time, at any point in the journey. It’s an honest and open approach to business that helps foster trust, making it “that much easier” to grow meaningful and long lasting relationships.
“Being in contact with customers before anything happens, rather than waiting for a problem to arise, is really important. If there is going to be any problems, we can tell them in advance, which they really appreciate,” Adam explains – adding that his customers also regularly contact him to share their appreciation for his driving staff’s professionalism and presentation.
“A lot of my clients say that my staff are really good when they make their deliveries, that they’re properly dressed and well mannered. Appearance is a big thing, especially these days. It’s a big thing for me to always have staff being presentable in their uniforms and with clean trucks, so our trucks are washed every fortnight.”
The spotless fleet of modern vehicles consists entirely of Freightliners – except for the very first Isuzu that Adam started out with, which can still be seen running around the Sydney city. “I have a couple of Argosys, Coronados and some CST Colombias. The CST Colombia is a lighter truck with excellent visibility that is ideal when operating side loaders in the wharf, and the Argosy and Coronado trucks are better for the heavier work.
“Freightliner is a really reliable truck, and it’s suited to the task, but I also chose it because I have a really good sales man there, Richard Huer from Stillwell Trucks Sydney, who I go to directly whenever I need to buy a new truck. He and I have a really good relationship.”
He adds, “I have good relationships with my suppliers for the same reason I have good relationships with my clients. They’re open and upfront, and completely honest. It’s the same reason why I go straight to Krueger and deal with Malcolm Newcombe whenever I need any new skels.”
Adam Hester Transport has grown to count 12 trucks, six B-doubles, three side loaders and 25 standard skels among its list of assets, however Adam makes it very clear that for him, there is one even more important thing that tops the list.
“My biggest asset is my staff. Good staff is key to running a successful business, like my Operations Manager, Michael Jones, who has been with me for nine years and is a big reason my business has been able to succeed. He started off driving my first Isuzu truck, and has grown with the company. He’s only a few years older than me, too.”
Although Adam Hester Transport now counts 30 drivers, five office staff and a handful of contractors, Adam makes sure that his clients are always able to contact him directly. “They don’t have to go through different channels. If my clients have questions, they can get an answer from me straight away. My staff takes care of the day-to-day operations and I oversee the lot,” he says.
Adam explains that most of his staff is older than him, which is unsurprising considering the average age of workers in the industry. However, he earns his team’s respect by being hands-on and driving the trucks, forklifts and even sweeping up the warehouse when necessary.
“I’m pretty hands-on and out there, I like to be involved in everything. I drive the trucks, the forklifts and help out in the warehouse when needed. I like to think it makes me an approachable boss. It’s important to be approachable so that my clients and staff can come to me if they need anything. The people I work with have the same mentality, including my contractors, suppliers and my mechanic. It’s just about being contactable.”
The mechanic that Adam mentions –Evans Truck and Trailer – is located ‘just down the street’ from the Adam Hester Transport depot in Padstow, making it simple and fast to get any repairs done. “He can pop round at any time. We work together really well and have built a good relationship, which also means that he works really hard for us.”
And that’s the crux of how young Adam Hester built his company in the first place. By working incredibly hard and proving himself to his clients, he was able to build up long lasting relationships in which age is hardly a concern, becoming an example of success for anyone looking to enter the industry, young or old.