2016 cover stories: Taylor's Removals

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


Taylor’s Removals turns 100 years in less than 18 months. The third-generation business has changed from its humble beginnings, but its family values and commitment to the community remain the same

2016 cover stories: Taylor's Removals
Taylor’s Removals managing director Melissa Taylor.

 

Known as the smoother movers, Taylor’s Removals has come a long way from its horse and dray days in 1918.

Established by William George Taylor in Toowoomba, Queensland, the business is run by Ray Taylor and his wife Madelaine, and operated by their daughter and managing director Melissa Taylor.

Experts in household furniture removals, the company is also known for its commercial, corporate and international relocations division, storage and records management and crate hire.

Taylor, who was this year given the Trucking Woman of the Year award by the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA), is the oldest of four sisters and the first woman in her family to lead the business after leaving the world of fashion for trucking in 2004.

Instrumental in expanding the business’s focus, she is passionate about a diverse workforce, having increased the company’s female participation by 15 per cent in the last four years.

 

Power of persuasion

It took Taylor many years to convince her father to accept her into the business.

She fell into the fashion industry to support her studies, with eyes always set on trucking.

Her zeal for transport started when she was a young girl patiently waiting for Ray to return from truck driving jobs.

"This year he’s 50 years in the business, so this is one of his greatest true loves, and to hand that on is really difficult," Taylor says.

"I don’t think it would matter who it was; gender, age or relationship, he would have found it difficult anyway to hand it over."

Taylor was a general manager of a fashion store when she compiled a proposal to Ray, outlining why he should hire her.

"I took him out for a drink and said, ‘I want you to read this proposal but I don’t want you to answer today.’ I wanted him to talk it over with mum. It was one last go," she says.

"Two weeks later I was standing in my store and I had my national team with the national general manager offering me a regional manager position in Queensland.

"Five minutes later Dad rings, saying I’m in. It was such a big decision and for me it was such a sliding door moment."

Twelve years later, Taylor has never looked back and is humbled to have taken over the family reins after starting out in administration.

"My stilettoes don’t feel too big, but to be the custodian of this incredible legacy really is a special position to be in, and that drives me every day and makes me want to be a better leader and do the best for my family and for my team and this company," she says.

 

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Taylor wants to drive awareness of the transport industry.

 

Parental guidance

Often called Rayleen by her mother, Taylor has always looked up to her father.

"Dad and I are so much alike, we’re very similar temperament," she says.

"He’s a gentleman with a very big heart that would help anyone with a great love for the industry and his company.

"My dad has incredible experience and knowledge in this industry; he’s held a lot of board positions within the industry at the state and national level, so I’ve learnt a lot from him," she adds.

"When I came in at the age of 33 I thought I knew it all; of course I’d run multi-million dollar stores with vast numbers of staff, so what could he be teaching me?

"So I went in with all guns blazing but I realised I didn’t know much at all."

As the company nears 100 years, she wants it to remain current, saying room needs to be made for new generations and their ideas.

"Our goal is to stay relevant within the economy and within the environment here and the industry and to embrace every opportunity that becomes available," she says.

 

Training

Taylor has certainly grasped every opportunity presented to her; from developing a total records management solution called INFOstor by Taylor’s Services, to introducing a rigorous training program that has attracted more women.

The company’s revenue has also increased by 20 per cent over the last year.

Located in the mining and resources sector, Taylor’s has found it challenging attracting and retaining staff over the years.

As a result, the company five years ago joined forces with a local TAFE and the state government, establishing a pilot program focusing on educating staff.

Having engaged every single employer in a course, their self-esteem is now up, which in return has improved the retention rate.

"It’s been the biggest turnaround I’ve seen," Taylor says.

"We constantly had an ad on Seek because I couldn’t keep enough drivers or offsiders, now we probably place two ads a year and that’s only for when we want to boost numbers for our peak periods.

"We are a family business, so it was really important for me that they were happy in what they were doing and it’s shown through; the time and the effort and investment in these guys has turned around our retention and attraction. The culture has changed significantly."

By focusing on training and recruitment, the company has had the privilege to choose the right employee.

 "We’ve been focusing on who we bring into the business – whether they align with our core values and are a good fit for the team culturally.

"Of recent years, I think we’ve really developed a great team here of fierce loyalty, great skill, and our retention rate really is something to be commended."

 

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Taylor’s Removals has come a long way from its horse and dray days almost 100 years ago.

 

Diversification

Diversification has helped the company stay strong in the current economic climate, Taylor explains.

"It’s really tough out there; particularly tough in the transport industry," she says.

"We’ve increased our site from one to two thanks to our records management; that part of the business has grown phenomenally – it grew from less than one per cent to now being nearly 30 per cent of our company."

The company is also a founding member of Chess Moving Australia, which was launched 22 years ago.

Taylor’s has helped develop an asset relocation management system for Chess, enabling customers to track their non-active assets and manage them online around the clock.

"We barcode each of the items, take up to eight photos of each item and upload them to the website, with each company having their own portal," Taylor says.

The invention was customer-driven and is like nothing else in the market place, she adds: "It’s been a great addition to the group; it just gives us that point of difference in the market place."

Four new Mitsubishi Fuso trucks have also been added to the fleet over the last four years due to steady growth.

 

Leader of the pack

Taylor’s love for the industry has seen her invest in women within her company.

And being named Trucking Woman of the Year gives her a voice.

"I’ve always said when people think of the trucking industry they think of long distance but it’s so much more than that, there are so many opportunities out there but we don’t promote it enough," she says.

"I’ve always seen the transport industry as one that underlies a lot of other industries within our economy – there’s always a transport industry underpinning all of that and sometimes I think it’s the forgotten industry than no one thinks of for a career pathway."

Her drive, passion and belief in what she does are the attributes behind her success.

"I just put myself out there. I think this industry has a lot to offer, both men and women," Taylor says.

"I think it’s not just about promoting women, I think it’s about promoting the industry."

 

 

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