Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Hino Australia, is embracing the increasing role women are playing in the trucking industry ahead of International Women's Day.
The shift that sees more women taking on key positions suggests a welcome shift is taking place when there is a critical shortage of skilled personnel within the industry according to Hino Motor Sales Australia Chairman and CEO Steve Lotter who said it was encouraging that more females were joining the work force.
“We have seen through our network that the barriers to joining our team, physical or otherwise, have been breaking down, with our business all the better for this shift to a more diverse workplace," he said in a statement.
“We celebrate and encourage this growth, as it makes us a stronger company now and into the future,” said Lotter.
A ten year servant at Sci-Fleet Hino, Jade Morrison has held several roles prior to her appointment as the Nerang Dealership Service Manager.
Initially employed as a Service Advisor, Morrison sought out a deeper appreciation of the mechanical side of the trade and became one of the first female apprentice technicians for Hino.
She arrived in her current role last November after stints as Service Supervisor and Assistant Service Manager.
Morrison said she enjoyed the team culture.
“I couldn’t ask for better people to work alongside," she said. "We are a very tight-knit team and share the same core values. It makes for a very enjoyable workplace,” said Miss Morrison.
Not to be outdone, Kara Green a Parts Interpreter at Adtrans Hino Smeaton Grange dealership, won the Parts category at the 2019 Hino National Skills Contest – the first female to win the award.
In her four and a half years at the company, Green has continued to build her automotive knowledge and skill set from scratch.
“There was a bit of pressure to do one better as I placed second the year before, so to actually do it and win was an amazing moment and one I will never forget,” Green said.
An employee for the last 13 years at Heath Hino, Rachel Howley started her career in Sales Administration, before progressing to the position of Sales Manager in 2013.
From her base in Darwin, the relative remoteness of the business has required that she master many different facets of the business.
“I have quite a diverse range of tasks and roles to fulfil; from sales to stock control to deliveries and handovers in some pretty remote places of the Northern Territory,” she said.
“I do whatever I need to keep the business moving forward, whether that’s collecting trucks from bodybuilders interstate and driving back to Darwin or just driving many hundreds of kilometres to meet with customers.
“I also enjoy the relationships I have formed with suppliers and body builders over the years, and I have some really great people in my network.”
Nicole Ardiles, now a fully qualified Sales Consultant at Prestige Hino, also entered the industry without prior truck knowledge, or sales experience.
Despite a steep learning curve, Ardiles quickly carved out an important place with her clients, reaching an impressive milestone of 100 truck sales in 2019.
“Not only would I encourage women to consider this industry, but I would encourage this industry to endorse women, as I believe it would suit a woman’s touch,” she said.
“Our customers need people who care about their business, who ask the right questions and who listen to their needs, all the things that women often carry in their nurturing nature," said Ardiles.
“Just like any industry, there are challenges that come with it, but once you can understand your place and the impact you can have, the benefits are ongoing.”
In late January, Hino Australia announced a change in its Vehicle Supply Chain and Logistics department, appointing Sara Clark to a new role of Manager, Hino Bus.
Clark comes from an automotive-loving family, with the past 11 of her 26 years in the industry spent with Hino.
“I have always worked at wholesale level, I don’t feel gender is particularly relevant when you want to be the best within your chosen field,” she said.
“I have been very fortunate to have been mentored along the way by some very inspiring leaders in automotive," said Clark.
International Women's Day will take place on Sunday 8th March.
(Image: Kara Green won the Parts Category at the 2019 Hino National Skills Contest, the first female to win the award).