Cus­tomer is treated as king

Work in PNG pro­vides great ex­pe­ri­ence

Big Rigs - - SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE SERIES - Kirstin Payne

SINCE 1975 Trans­port Field Ser­vice has ser­viced south­east Queens­land and north­ern NSW as a spe­cial­ist in re­pairs, spares and ac­ces­sories for the trans­port in­dus­try.

Like many other small-town deal­er­ships, the War­wick-based Volvo, Mack and UD deal­er­ship is adorned with the ex­pected neat palm, com­pany flag and per­haps a brand logo or two.

How­ever one unusual fea­ture stands guard at TFS, as a hint at some of the in­ter­est­ing hap­pen­ings in­side.

That loom­ing fea­ture is none other than a 1983 Mack R600, adorned in retro mil­i­tary khaki.

TFS manag­ing direc­tor Ge­off Lang, who has run the busi­ness for close to a decade, ex­plains the beast is part of the all-ser­vice deal­er­ship’s busi­ness model.

“Our key fran­chise is Volvo Mack and UD. So we are ob­vi­ously deal­ers for that,” Mr Lang said.

“We have 15 staff and do 15–18 new trucks a year, along with run­ning our ser­vic­ing and break­down ve­hi­cle.

“A large part of my busi­ness is also ex­port. About a third of our busi­ness is based on pro­cure­ment and ex­port for a num­ber of key clients in PNG.”

This in­cludes ex-Aus­tralian mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles that are ser­viced and read­ied for ex­port in the TFS work­shop.

“My cus­tomer will give me a want list and a bud­get and that’s what I go to,” Mr Lang said.

“We put them through our work­shop to make sure they are up to scratch.

“Th­ese are for civil use and face dif­fer­ent con­di­tions to what they would here.

“Things also don’t have to look pretty to head up there, hence the ex-army stuff.

“But I’ve done a lot of nice trucks for cus­tomers up there as well, it re­ally just de­pends on the needs.”

Af­ter ser­vic­ing and a full check, the ve­hi­cles are driven from War­wick to the port of Bris­bane for ex­port.

“We need to make sure they are as clean as a whistle for cus­toms so it is a rig­or­ous task when pre­par­ing each ve­hi­cle,” Mr Lang said.

Big Rigs asked if there was ever a scuf­fle be­tween the work­shop boys over who gets the hon­our of de­liv­er­ing the Mack Mon­ster.

“No, no, just me – I get to do that,” Mr Lang laughed.

His re­la­tion­ship with our wild north­ern neigh­bours hasn’t sprung from nowhere.

Mr Lang pre­vi­ously lived on the lush is­land of Pa­pua New Guinea, work­ing as gen­eral man­ager for au­to­mo­tive group Boroko Mo­tors.

“That com­pany up there, we had 600 staff and over five deal­er­ships,” he said.

His role’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at the time ex­tended over to Van­u­atu and the Solomon Is­lands.

The Texas lo­cal de­cided to bring his fam­ily back to Aus­tralia for his son’s school­ing.

Mr Lang’s ex­pe­ri­ence in PNG has come in handy when nav­i­gat­ing the unique road trans­port in­dus­try that ex­ists in the de­vel­op­ing na­tion.

“On the north­ern side of the coun­try, which runs way up into the high­lands, we have got the High­lands High­way,” he said.

“It is an amaz­ing bit of road net­work that, well high­way is a loose term, you have pot­holes you can put boats in.”

Land­slips and landowner prob­lems are among the is­sues that plague driv­ers.

“It’s quite amaz­ing, when I was in PNG you would hand over the keys of a $300,000 truck to a driver that doesn’t even have shoes,” Mr Lang said.

“That was an awe­some part of it, very in­ter­est­ing and re­silient com­pa­nies up there.

“I re­ally en­joy find­ing the right prod­ucts for our clients, whether that be a new Volvo or an ex-army Mack. Any­thing ex-army is usu­ally ex­tremely well main­tained.

“We get a very good ser­vice re­port from them all, it’s one of those things when my cus­tomers know they are well pre­pared and ready to work.”

The qual­i­fied me­chanic and coun­try boy at heart hopes to ex­pand the busi­ness in the next few years.

“We are about to in­vest in a new break­down truck to ser­vice our area, which can stretch any­where from Arat­ula to Moree,” Mr Lang said.

“It’s go­ing to be a new UD, of course.”

❝ How­ever one unusual fea­ture stands guard at TFS, as a hint at some of the in­ter­est­ing hap­pen­ings in­side. That loom­ing fea­ture is none other than a 1983 Mack R600, adorned in retro mil­i­tary khaki.

PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

PUR­SUIT OF EX­CEL­LENCE: TFS manag­ing direc­tor Ge­off Lang.

Ge­off Lang with the 1983 Mack R600.

The big­ger pic­ture.

The quirky busi­ness mas­cot.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.