Aussie Angles – 100 reasons why

In Aussie Angles9 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 16, 2018

Two decades ago the view from Errol Cosgrove‘s office was through the windscreen of a Kenworth truck. These days Errol enjoys a different perspective as he looks out over one of the most modern transport depots in Brisbane… his!

In the often volatile road transport industry, where the past is littered with shattered dreams, Errol Cosgrove‘s no-nonsense philosophy of dictating honesty, quality and integrity has placed his company, SRV Road Freight, among the elite of transport business success stories.

The arrival of their new Limited Edition Legend 900 marked a special milestone for the company. This Legend 900, build number 100, signifies the 100th Kenworth to join the SRV fleet. It tows a new Vawdrey trailer with lavish artwork that depicts the major cities on the eastern seaboard serviced by SRV Road Freight as well as commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the company.

Talk to Errol about how he might describe himself and his humble reply is “simply a truck driver”. Wander around and talk to the guys on the forklifts, the girls in administration, his truck drivers or tow haulers, and you‘ll find unanimous admiration for the man they see as a fair boss, innovative leaderand dynamic motivator.

For Errol Cosgrove it‘s a case of not just providing the
best possible transport solution, but also understanding
and adding value to the customer‘s supply chain.

Errol grew up in the transport industry, maybe call it fate, but somehow it seemed only natural that he would eventually end up running his own transport fleet. In 1997, this became a reality as he established SRV Road Freight in Yatala, just off the Pacific Highway in Brisbane. Through the next decade the company maintained steady growth and today their depots cover the eastern seaboard states.

“SRV stands for Safety, Reliability and Value,” Errol explained. “We pride ourselves on our high level of safety and reliability that we provide to our customers, all with a value for money service. That‘s the essence of our company philosophy and customer commitment.”

Success rarely comes easy and great sacrifices were made in the quest to achieve the goals and standards set. While the wheels of the trucks turned night after night, Errol‘s wife Mel juggled the demands of a young family with the exhausting task of managing the office and accounts. Errol humbly admits that a great deal of his company‘s success is due in no small part to Mel‘s selfless dedication. However, in the early days his parents also worked side-by-side and helped nurture the business as it grew.

“My father, Bob, worked in the business till his passing in 2009,” Errol said. “And Mum worked in the administration for over 13 years. The family referred to her as ‘Councilor‘ and she wore the hat of many roles.”

The Legend 900 dash

Detailed kick-panel on the door

Sleeper

Today it‘s still very much a family affair, with their daughter Ashley looking after accounts and payroll, while other close family members work in sales and operations.

In terms of freight movements, SRV Road Freight handle approximately 255 interstate B-double loads per week in addition to container unloading, local deliveries and pick-ups, storage and freight consolidation.

At the business end of the scale, the fleet is made up of 100 percent Cummins-powered Kenworth trucks that tow Vawdrey trailers.

“My first new Kenworth was a K100G I purchased off Brown and Hurley and it was still working right up until last year when we sold it,” Errol said. “It had clocked over three million kilometres and worked almost every day in the 19 years we had it, so that really paints a clear picture of Kenworth‘s build quality and reliability.”

Today SRV is working closely with Brown and Hurley, Kenworth and Vawdrey Trailers to better utilise high productivity PBS vehicles, and they currently have two 26-pallet B-doubles running on the north-south routes.

“Looking forward, there are predictions the freight task is going to double by 2020,” Errol said. “We‘re already talking to our customers and suppliers about how we are going to handle and manage this.

“You must understand what it is that your customers want,” Errol explained. “They don‘t necessarily want their freight straight away; there are certain parameters that they work under such as demands placed on the freight by other parties. Success is dependent upon understanding the supply chain process.”

Errol concedes however, that one cannot aspire to quality service with an inferior product. Service needs to be backed up by quality equipment, facilities and people.

“Drivers are your company‘s representatives and as such can either be an asset or a drawback. So it‘s imperative that they are well presented, well dressed, well-groomed and politely spoken. Surprisingly, it‘s not that easy to find drivers who fit that description,” Errol said.

Finding and keeping good drivers is an all too familiar problem for many transport companies today. Older drivers are retiring and drivers of the same calibre are not there to replace them. It‘s an issue that transport associations are trying to solve, but Errol has some ideas of his own.

“We run a performance and incentive-based reward systems to encourage work-smart practices and reward drivers who implement efficiencies and productivity enhancements under their own initiative,” Errol said. “It has to be more than just a fuel-saving incentive, however. Drivers could achieve significant fuel economies while neglecting everything else and so negateany advantage. Our drivers are in the front line, they‘re in the perfect position to see where inefficiencies occur and they should be rewarded for initiatives that benefit the company.

“This year our top driver was rewarded with a two-week fully paid trip to the USA, which included a visit to one of the big American truck shows. He was also given our 100th Kenworth, which is the Limited Edition Legend 900 we purchased to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

“Our runner up driver was given a two-week vacation to Bali and rewarded with our 100th Cummins powered truck, a new Kenworth T909,” Errol said. “Both drivers also visited the Kenworth factory in Bayswater to see the trucks being built downline.”

Errol believes that SRV‘s business model, combined with the immaculate way the trucks are presented, which he quickly adds is a credit to all his drivers, is why his company does not face driver shortage problems like many others do.

“We‘re very fortunate that we don‘t have to advertise for drivers,” Errol said. “We actually have a waiting list for drivers who want to come and work for us. Having the best equipment certainly goes a long way in attracting the best people to work in the team.”