MACK MILE­STONE

Han­son’s 1,000th bull­dog cel­e­brates an iconic Aussie part­ner­ship and shared fo­cus on safety. Cobey Bar­tels writes

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Con­struc­tion gi­ant Han­son’s 1,000th bull­dog cel­e­brated an iconic Aussie part­ner­ship and shared fo­cus on safety

CON­STRUC­TION GI­ANT HAN­SON has taken the keys to its 1,000th Mack truck, mark­ing a true­blue part­ner­ship span­ning 34 years. The sym­bolic Mack Tri­dent tip­per was pre­sented to Han­son in the swish new Volvo Group Aus­tralia (VGA) show­room in Bris­bane on Septem­ber 17, sport­ing mil­len­nial liv­ery and per­son­alised ‘HAN­SON’ plates. Han­son’s gen­eral man­ager of lo­gis­tics Scott Tip­ping took the keys to the truck, cel­e­brat­ing a long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship and a shared fu­ture safety fo­cus be­tween the two com­pa­nies.

“Han­son pur­chased its first Mack in 1984 and we’ve had a his­tory ever since,” Tip­ping says. “I think it’s a really sym­bolic thing we’ve been do­ing busi­ness with Mack for so long.”

Mack Trucks vice pres­i­dent Dean Best­wick re­it­er­ated just how proud the man­u­fac­turer is de­liv­er­ing the best truck for the job, a key rea­son Han­son has cho­sen the brand for so many years.

“I feel very proud that Han­son has teamed up with us to de­liver this amount of trucks as we look to de­liver the prod­uct that can make them the most money and be the safest on the road,” he says. “We do it be­cause we have a pas­sion for it.”

Fit for pur­pose

Han­son is one of the largest con­struc­tion ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers in Aus­tralia, op­er­at­ing 55 quar­ries, more than 225 con­crete plants, and 1,750 trucks com­plet­ing a gar­gan­tuan 70,000 de­liv­er­ies each month.

Tip­ping says re­li­a­bil­ity is vi­tal to meet­ing its trans­port de­mands across the fleet.

“With­out tip­pers and tankers our busi­ness grinds to a halt,” he says.

“Mack Truck gives us what we need in terms of mak­ing sure we can ser­vice our cus­tomers across the coun­try.

“We’re able to de­liver lit­er­ally tens of thou­sands of tonnes a day across Aus­tralia on the back of our tip­per fleet.”

Mack Trucks area fleet man­ager Luke Barnes says the key to en­sur­ing re­li­a­bil­ity is util­is­ing VGA’s ex­ten­sive dealer net­work to keep the wheels turn­ing for cus­tomers like Han­son.

“One of the big­gest things with Han­son, who are our big­gest cus­tomer in terms of vol­ume, is be­ing able to keep their trucks on the road,” he says.

“It’s one thing to take an or­der for 100 trucks, but it’s an­other thing to keep them on the road out there in the field.

“One of the key things for that is mak­ing sure our dealer net­work sup­ports the cus­tomer as well as what we do from a head of­fice per­spec­tive here.”

Safety fo­cus

A fo­cus for Han­son is safety and Tip­ping says he be­lieves au­ton­o­mous driv­ing aids are the fu­ture of road trans­port.

“I see tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly stuff like au­ton­o­mous driv­ing aids and semi-au­ton­o­mous driv­ing aids, as a real key,” he says.

“For me it’s the way the in­dus­try should be go­ing and our re­cent com­mit­ment to hav­ing those types of fea­tures on our tip­pers and tankers is really about us en­sur­ing that our drivers on the road have the best gear avail­able to en­sure their safety and the safety of other road users.”

Barnes says Han­son is now a leader in the safety space and hav­ing trucks fit­ted with tech­nol­ogy smarts like Bendix Wing­man Fu­sion, blind-spot alert, and adap­tive cruise con­trol with brak­ing, the com­pany has been able to re­duce the risk of ac­ci­dents (see break­out box).

“The next era for Han­son is to move into more of the safety side of things … Han­son were the first to come to us to say, ‘look, what can we do in terms of safety in the trucks, not just for road users but our drivers too?’” he says.

“We have the full Mack ‘safety pack’ on all of Han­son’s new trucks, which fea­tures Bendix Wing­man Fu­sion,

blind-spot alert, adap­tive cruise con­trol with brak­ing … those sorts of things.

“We’ve also cou­pled that with side un­der­run pro­tec­tion sys­tem (SUPS) on the side of the ve­hi­cles now … 100 per cent of their new ve­hi­cles will be equipped with SUPS and full Mack safety pack.

“To have a con­struc­tion com­pany come to us want­ing full safety fea­tures on their trucks is really ex­cit­ing for the in­dus­try. We def­i­nitely see them as lead­ers in that area.”

While Han­son or­der heav­ily au­to­mated trucks now, Barnes talks of one of the defin­ing mo­ments when the com­pany first started or­der­ing mDrive au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sions (AMT) as stan­dard af­ter many years of ‘man­ual-only’ or­ders.

“When we first had the mDrive hit the scene, Han­son weren’t really up to take on au­to­mated trans­mis­sions at the time,” he says.

“Out of an or­der of about 80 trucks I think they wanted two, and I de­liv­ered a few more than two just to show that this thing is really good.

“From then, their next or­der was 100 per cent mDrive.” Feed­back on the Mack safety fea­tures from Han­son’s drivers has been ex­tremely pos­i­tive and while some were orig­i­nally un­cer­tain, Tip­ping says that once drivers have spent time us­ing the tech­nol­ogy they come around.

“The feed­back from our drivers in re­la­tion to any safety de­vices we put on is good,” he says.

“Some drivers are a bit scep­ti­cal about whether or not those fea­tures are nec­es­sary and peo­ple nat­u­rally think they can do a bet­ter job.

“I think most of our drivers who have worked with the tech­nol­ogy and played around with the tech­nol­ogy, do see the ben­e­fits from it.”

A game-changer for Han­son’s on-high­way trucks, ac­cord­ing to the drivers, is the adap­tive cruise con­trol along­side the col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion safety fea­tures.

“The adap­tive cruise con­trol is a big one for us,” Tip­ping says. “The feed­back we re­ceive from drivers about ac­tive cruise con­trol and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing has been really good.”

Mack’s po­si­tion as one of the safest con­ven­tional trucks on the mar­ket makes the brand a log­i­cal choice for Han­son, keep­ing

“I think most of our drivers who have worked with the tech­nol­ogy ... do see the ben­e­fits from it.”

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