Sadleirs Lo­gis­tics

Ian Kent looks to bring the sto­ried WA firm up to speed on IT

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS RUZA ZIVKUSIC-AFTASI

One chal­lenge fac­ing fam­i­ly­owned busi­nesses is a lack of aware­ness of the im­pact of tech­nol­ogy on busi­ness. With eastern ex­pan­sion in mind, Western Aus­tralian firm Sadleirs Lo­gis­tics knew it had to make dras­tic changes if it was to dou­ble in size and meet cus­tomer needs.

Two years into his job, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ian Kent has been busy re­vamp­ing the com­pany’s in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy op­er­a­tions, an am­bi­tious 12-month un­der­tak­ing that is due to be com­pleted in May.

With a vi­sion of dou­bling the size of the com­pany within the next three years, Kent says Sadleirs is due for an “awak­en­ing”.

His job is to un­lock the po­ten­tial of the op­er­a­tion, to bol­ster Sadleir’s bottom line and help po­si­tion the firm to be a trans­port leader on the east coast. Im­ple­ment­ing a fully in­te­grated end-to- end Or­a­cle Cloud so­lu­tion first, us­ing Aus­tralia and New Zealand Or­a­cle part­ner firm PrimeQ to ap­ply the change, Sadleirs wants to bet­ter stream­line and en­hance cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, au­to­mate pro­cesses and “ex­tract an in­creased level of busi­ness in­tel­li­gence that will help de­liver on cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions”.

PrimeQ is im­ple­ment­ing the Or­a­cle Cloud so­lu­tion in­cor­po­rat­ing Or­a­cle Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence (CX), Or­a­cle En­ter­prise Re­source Plan­ning (ERP), Or­a­cle Ware­house Man­age­ment ( WMS), Or­a­cle Trans­porta­tion Man­age­ment (OTM) and Or­a­cle Cloud Busi­ness In­tel­li­gence.

“This sys­tem will launch us into a new phase; we’ve al­ready won a lot of work on our cur­rent sys­tem so, as we roll this sys­tem out, it will give us greater ca­pac­ity to do more for our cus­tomers than ever be­fore,” Kent says.


Bring­ing ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence from lo­gis­tics groups Mitchell Corp, Toll Group and Lin­fox to the new role, Kent has been ap­pointed to im­prove Lionel Sam­son Sadleirs Group’s cus­tomer por­tal.

With more than 2700 cus­tomers on its books, Sadleirs is a pri­vately owned fam­ily busi­ness, with ori­gins trac­ing back to 1829.

Sadleirs has ex­panded its in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices to be­come a trusted lo­gis­tics and pack­ag­ing provider to lead­ing com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Aldi stores Aus­tralia, pro­vid­ing freight pick-up and con­tainer haulage from Fre­man­tle Port to Aldi’s dis­tri­bu­tion

cen­tre at Jan­dakot. It also does some do­mes­tic freight move­ment for Aldi into Perth as well as lo­cal pickup and de­liv­ery. The pur­chase of Sadleirs-Nexus trans­port di­vi­sion by the Toll Group in 2016 has seen Sadleirs un­dergo a ma­jor busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion, which led to the de­ci­sion to up­grade IT ser­vices.

“We had to sell the di­vi­sion as it was not prof­itable, which for a fam­ily busi­ness was tor­tur­ous – our big­gest as­sets but we had to sur­vive so to do this we had to make some tough de­ci­sions and it sadly meant that we had to let some peo­ple go,” Kent says.

“Our staff level now is at 343, so we’re a rea­son­able-sized or­gan­i­sa­tion and our job is to grow and give our peo­ple real jobs, good full-time em­ploy­ment into the fu­ture.”

Sadleirs’ rev­enue dropped by 20 per cent be­tween 2014 and 2016 as the WA’s econ­omy went through a struc­tural ad­just­ment.

“The WA econ­omy slowed quickly as the econ­omy moved from con­struc­tion to op­er­a­tional pro­duc­tion,” Kent says.

“As we came off the back of that big boom that had been go­ing for 12 years, we had to be­come very ef­fi­cient at what we did very quickly.

“We sat down with our teams across the coun­try and worked out ways to be more ef­fi­cient at what we did ev­ery day.

“Our big­gest cost is labour, so just get­ting a bet­ter man­age­ment of the way we used our peo­ple and what time of the day we used them was a key fo­cus. That has as­sisted us greatly in terms of us mov­ing into the new sys­tem and our ca­pac­ity to be able to get greater de­gree of busi­ness ex­e­cu­tion as a re­sult of what the sys­tem can do for us.”


PrimeQ CEO An­drew McA­dams says Sadleirs is the first trans­porta­tion com­pany in Aus­tralia to im­ple­ment a fully in­te­grated end-to-end Or­a­cle Cloud so­lu­tion.

“We had to be­come very ef­fi­cient at what we did very quickly”

“The world has changed and op­ti­mi­sa­tion is one of the keys for them”

“I call these legacy projects – a project that will make a foun­da­tion for them for a very long time,” An­drews says. “They were at a point where they de­pended on older-style sys­tems for a fair while. The world has changed and op­ti­mi­sa­tion is one of the keys for them.

“Be­ing a trans­port com­pany, they move stuff from one ware­house to an­other, and some stuff we’re do­ing is al­low­ing that rout­ing very quickly and fast. It smooths that rout­ing process rather than mak­ing it more com­pli­cated.”

Cus­tomers will have bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity of their freight at any time of the day – a sys­tem that cur­rently is pa­per-based, Kent says.

“As we grow, we’ve got two is­sues: the day-to- day sys­tem means we’re not as ef­fi­cient as we could be and it makes it dif­fi­cult to mea­sure the key as­pects of our busi­ness,” he says.

“The data is not in real time; it’s rel­a­tive to when it makes its way into the cur­rent sys­tem.

“Sadleirs is a dy­namic busi­ness so we need to know what’s hap­pen­ing today and how do we max­imise the op­er­a­tions and the cur­rent re­sources we have to meet the cus­tomers need.

“What we’ve been do­ing over the last few

years is mov­ing to the cus­tomer’s side of desk and sit­ting with them to see what’s hap­pen­ing in their world. It’s crit­i­cal that we have a more ad­vanced IT sys­tem to meet their needs in terms of track­ing freight and be­ing more flex­i­ble and nim­ble than we cur­rently are.”


Sadleirs ex­pects its rev­enue to dou­ble due to the in­te­grated ca­pac­ity com­ing from the busi­ness im­prove­ments from the new IT sys­tem.

“There would be some cap­i­tal but in terms of our in­fra­struc­ture we can get a lot more vol­ume through our ex­ist­ing fa­cil­ity with­out a mas­sive in­vest­ment in cap­i­tal com­pared to what we would have to do if we re­mained on the cur­rent sys­tem,” Kent says. “A lot of our cus­tomers are happy to give us more work if we can have a bet­ter sys­tem – more and more are say­ing they’d like us to do more freight for them and, in re­cent times, a lot of the big­ger cus­tomers have been push­ing us to do some­thing with the sys­tems.”

A de­ci­sion long in the mak­ing, Sadleirs at first was “ap­pre­hen­sive” of change, Kent says.

“It’s a big step and a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue for a com­pany our size to em­bark on. We’ve spent some time do­ing all the re­search re­quired to en­sure it’s the right step and we’ve gone through a very de­tailed process.

“The key facets to that were com­pet­i­tive­ness – mak­ing sure our cus­tomers have the best ser­vice pos­si­ble and abil­ity to grow.”

What Kent is most look­ing for­ward to is util­is­ing the busi­ness in­tel­li­gence tool, which will help gain a com­pre­hen­sive view of the com­pany.

“It will in­ter­ro­gate data on a real-time ba­sis and give us mean­ing­ful, op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion day to day,” he says. “At the mo­ment we use a rear-vi­sion mir­ror.

“This will give our cus­tomers an im­proved ser­vice that we can of­fer, which will mean they’ll give us more of their work, and that’s a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue. It will also as­sist in re­ten­tion of cus­tomers.”

With Pa­cific Na­tional as its rail part­ner, the sys­tem will al­low the two com­pa­nies to in­te­grate their sys­tems, which will lead to greater vis­i­bil­ity of freight.

The com­pany has sur­vived on old-school meth­ods thanks to its “im­pec­ca­ble” staff, who have wel­comed the IT changes.

“Our peo­ple are clever at what they do but this tool will im­prove their abil­ity to ex­e­cute at the high­est level.

“Our team is look­ing for­ward to the new sys­tem, there is no re­sis­tance.

“They will know days in ad­vance what freight is com­ing and this will take a lot of the stress out of what they cur­rently do.

“When you cre­ate that stress you cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment of peo­ple work­ing un­der pres­sure which will im­pact on safety.

“We’ll have a lot more con­trol and a lot more trans­parency to ex­e­cute the task ev­ery day.”


The change of lead­er­ship fol­lowed the award­ing of two big con­tracts – by Chevron and Aldi – to Sadleirs.

Hav­ing launched a full re­view of in­ter­nal sys­tems and pro­cesses, Kent is look­ing for growth ar­eas, say­ing he wants the com­pany to dou­ble in size over the next three years.

“There are two ways we can do that: by win­ning work from other com­peti­tors or new cus­tomers; and growth in cus­tomers which we didn’t have be­fore, like Aldi,” he adds. “We’ve grown with them as a sup­plier be­cause they’re grow­ing and, as they’re grow­ing, we’re grow­ing with them.

“My view is that Sadleirs is one of the best-kept se­crets around, par­tic­u­larly on the east coast. Our vol­ume has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in the last year – and that growth is ac­cel­er­at­ing.


Kent is the se­cond non- fam­ily CEO within the com­pany – a strat­egy the fam­ily is tak­ing to cor­po­ra­tise the busi­ness. More than half of the board is made up of fam­ily mem­bers, which still has a huge in­flu­ence on the busi­ness, Kent says.

“Their view is that we need to get the best peo­ple into the lead­er­ship group and on the board level to make sure the busi­ness has the best out­come pos­si­ble for the fam­ily,” he says.

Hav­ing worked in a num­ber of fam­ily busi­nesses dur­ing his ca­reer, a com­pany’s great­est as­set is peo­ple, he has learnt.

“Too of­ten it is ig­nored or not treated with the se­ri­ous­ness it should,” Kent says.

“Hav­ing an en­gaged work­force is a crit­i­cal in­gre­di­ent to any or­gan­i­sa­tion. All of us within the lead­er­ship team move within the or­gan­i­sa­tion; we meet with our peo­ple reg­u­larly and we’re out there talk­ing to them and meet­ing with the cus­tomers.

“We’re in the op­er­a­tions ev­ery day un­der­stand­ing what the chal­lenges are and lis­ten­ing to them.

“As a re­sult of that, you cre­ate a greater un­der­stand­ing of what the chal­lenges are of the busi­ness.”

The man­age­ment also con­ducts a staff sur­vey each year about the busi­ness – an­other rea­son the board had de­cided to up­grade its IT sys­tems is due to em­ploy­ees’ feed­back.

“When I first started it was very clear that our sys­tems and pro­cesses needed a ma­jor over­haul,” Kent says. “Em­ploy­ees were frus­trated by the sys­tems avail­able to them to do their job ev­ery day.”

Top: Sadleirs Lo­gis­tics CEO Ian Kent

Op­po­site: Sadleirs has more than 100 pieces of equip­ment on the road

Above: Sadleirs has be­come a trusted lo­gis­tics and pack­ag­ing provider to lead­ing com­pa­nies

Op­po­site: Cus­tomers will have bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity of their freight

Above: Two years into his job as chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ian Kent is pre­par­ing the busi­ness for in­creased na­tional growth

Be­low: IT over­haul will al­low Sadleirs to do more for its cus­tomers

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