When Frank Ryan started Ryans Group in Warnambool, Western Victoria, during the late 1950s, he would have unlikely foreseen that his one-truck operation would become one of Australia’s leading medium sized transport fleets.
In recent years, the company now under the leadership of son, Graham Ryan, has sought to differentiate itself from a crowded marketplace by focusing on innovation and technology, to further add value to its services.
A prime example of this focus can be seen in the Ryans Group contract servicing Vinidex, one of Australia’s largest PVC pipe producers.
When competing for the tender to supply Vinidex with product delivery solutions, Ryans introduced the company to its ‘Epod’ system in partnership with Honeywell and Peacock Bros, two businesses with expertise in productivity and scanning/mobile computer technologies.
Each of Ryans IVECO Eurocargo servicing Vinidex contracts in Melbourne and Brisbane is equipped with a hand-held Epod, which allows information to be sent and received via the Epod gateway computer at Ryans depots.
The Epod provides the driver with job information and directions to each drop-off, while providing customers right along the drop-off schedule with accurate, real time ETAs for delivery of their goods.
Once on site, the goods are signed for on screen by the receiver using the Epod and the driver can even take a photo of the delivery – this information is then uploaded to the gateway and made available for reference if required, via a website using a consignment number.
Seven new Eurocargo recently began service in Brisbane with Vinidex, and as well as featuring the Epod system, several also have customised bodies that extend over the top of the cabin, allowing the trucks to carry 12 metre pipes, providing considerable efficiency gains, according to Ryans Group Contract Manager, David Mammarella.
“These longer pipes were previously delivered by semi-trailers which are more costly to operate and are also restricted accessing certain sites because of their size,” David said.
“Working with bodybuilder Austruck, we developed a solution for carrying these longer lengths and when combined with the Epod offering, I think these factors really assisted Ryans success in this particular tender.
“Certainly the feedback from Vinidex and in particular its National Logistics Manager, Graham Jones, has been extremely positive.”
The seven new Brisbane-based vehicles are ML160 models featuring IVECO’s Tector 6 engine producing 280 hp and 950 Nm of torque from a low 1250 rpm and are coupled to the 9-speed manual transmission. All the trucks feature the distinctive Ryans Group livery, courtesy of wraps by leading fleet signage provider, TFI Group.
Ryans Group Manager, David Howell said the Brisbane-based vehicles had the same specifications as its Eurocargo stationed in Melbourne, which have performed faultlessly now for over four years.
“Our Melbourne-based Eurocargo are showing between 250,000 and 500,000 kilometres after four years’ work and have been very reliable,” David said.
“Based on this, their very high fuel efficiency and positive driver feedback, it was a logical decision to again go with Eurocargo models.
“The drivers really appreciate the comfortable cabin, driver appointments and safety features.”
The trucks are all equipped with rear-mounted Hiab cranes to assist unloading goods at the hardware stores and on job sites, and also feature swing away gates to minimise the likelihood of driver injury during unloading.
David said that the Eurocargo’s low chassis height was another attractive quality of the IVECO for this application.
“The Eurocargo has the lowest chassis height available in the segment, which makes it easier and safer to unload the goods,” he said.
Ryans Group’s Eurocargo fleet is serviced and maintained by IVECO Dealerships on service maintenance agreements, providing the company with budgetary control and allowing them to focus 100 per cent on their core business – transport.
“We’re experts in transport not on truck servicing, so we leave this to the experts at the Dealership,” David said.
“We have the peace of mind in knowing what our maintenance costs will be over the longer term and also get greater accountability from the Dealership.
“The trucks were purchased through Adtrans in Melbourne – this Dealership has been fantastic to deal with and have provided us with high service levels over many years now.”