compete,” he said.
He praised the NHVR for its efforts, saying most people thought the regulator was “trying to impede us and make our lives harder, but in fact they weren’t – they went all out to help me to make our business better”.
But in order to continue to compete with the bigwigs, Kent said they had to look to the future and that meant technology.
He said trucks in the fleet were being updated as more technological advances came along, but it wasn’t just in the trucks.
He said they were looking at the way consignments were managed and daily checks would also become electronic.
Soon, he said, Mt Isa Carriers would start trialling electronic work diaries.
“We’re not going to hold back, we want to be front and centre,” he said.
“All the big companies are trialling them and it’s scaring the little fella.
“As the little fella, we want to get involved and certainly if it doesn’t work, we’ll have our say and go ‘this is a bit too much for us’, but there hasn’t been one thing so far.”
As for the drivers’ reactions to embracing technology, he said it was a mixed bag.
“We’re taking the time. I’ve got some drivers here that have been with us for 20 years and are older fellas, we’re trying to address it with them personally.
“I don’t want to lose them. The problem is they are perfect in every way, but they don’t know the technology so we’re working with them to assist in that (transition).”
But Kent said he also had a few drivers under the age of 25.
While he said he was taking a risk having younger drivers, he wanted to give them a go.
But he didn’t just want them to study inside a classroom and then head straight out onto the road.
“In my day you learnt all the ropes before becoming a driver,” he said.
“I’m not suggesting you go down that line again, but perhaps an apprenticeship where we help these young guys, because it’s so hard to get them into the industry.
“We have to look forward and the way to do that is to encourage the younger generation to come forward and train them properly.
“A lot of places want two to five years’ driving experience, and that’s fair enough, but how are they going to get it if we don’t give them a go?
“I’m prepared to give them that go, but I want to train them first.”
He said in the old days, being in the trucking industry was a lifestyle.
“We were all so well respected, we were proud to call our dads truck drivers and people looked up to them,” he said.
“If a car broke down, the first one to pull up was a truckie. Anyone in need, a truckie was always there.
“It’s changed now, people think we are all drug takers.
“The whole scope of the industry has changed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I think it’s changed for the better, but along the way we’ve lost that mateship and because of the few bad blokes, everyone labels the trucking industry as rogue.
“I think we as ourselves need to portray ourselves better, I really do.
“We’re a professional outfit and we try to come across as that, but I think we have to change people’s mindset about us, that trucks aren’t scary.
“If you look at the statistics as far as crashes and deaths go, it’s proven the industry isn’t as bad as we’re made out to be.
“We’re professionals – each one of my drivers is and I want them to come home to their families every night.”
❝ The whole scope of the industry has changed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I think it’s changed for the better, but along the way we’ve lost that mateship and because of the few bad blokes, everyone labels the trucking industry as rogue.
— Kent Baillie
Stan Baillie with his wife Shirley.
Todd, Stan and Kent Baillie celebrate Kent's acquisition of the Mt Isa Carriers business.
The newest truck in Kent’s fleet.
PROUDLY MANUFACTURED AND BUILT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA SINCE 1986