Freestone’s rise from the ashes

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


The company has gained six new customers over the last two years and has had no redundancies

Freestone’s rise from the ashes
Freestone’s Transport GM Jody Freestone says the company has a new set of challenges.

 

A new business strategy has brought along a sense of optimism for Freestone’s Transport following the loss of its long-standing customer almost two years ago which wiped off 90 per cent of its revenue.

Freestone’s general manager Jody Freestone says despite considering selling up the business, her parents and founders Paul and Christine Freestone decided to invest in organisational change to save the company from going under.

The company had 67 prime movers and 75 full time staff on its books with a performance rate of 99.34 per cent when its customer of 35 years decided against renewing the contract.

"For us in our family it was a huge change, especially for my parents, they had done the same thing for decades," Freestone says.

"A lot of people say don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; well, we certainly did.

"In 2014, there was a management change, an ownership change, with this customer and we were doing everything we could in order to service them."

Specialists in ad-hoc works and sensitive freight, Freestone’s developed a transport management system and a new accounting platform, trying to change the behaviour of its employees.

"In order to change the behaviour of people we had to understand what their behaviour was like," Freestone says.

"We wanted to empower our people and we were very fortunate in our journey when we found out about our change that our people were amazing; they knew the work was going to fall for a bit while we found new customers.

"We were all driven for the same purpose of growing our company again."

By rebranding its image, developing a new website, purchasing 100 trailers, establishing a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) and purchasing a depot in Queensland, Freestone’s had gained six new customers over the last two years and has had no redundancies.

"Although we are very proud of our results we now have a new set of challenges," Freestone says.

"We now have a diversified customer base, we have new services we never used to carry out before and we will always continue to change and innovate."

What felt like a four-decade-old start-up company, Freestone’s Transport rose from the ashes, she adds.

"My mother came up with this that we needed to have a catch-cry of our year – a year of change, so we called it a Year of Phoenix, a bird rising up from the ashes of its predecessor.

"We felt that was us in a nutshell."

To demonstrate its commitment to change, Freestone’s purchased new uniforms – something it had never done before.

"That was demonstrating to everybody at work that we’re hanging around for the long-term," Freestone says.

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