Henry Transport Group: drive and application


Specialists in heavy machinery transport, Henry Transport Group might be a young company but one worth keeping an eye on

Henry Transport Group: drive and application
Brent Henry

 

For Brent Henry, age has no limits. The 32-year-old has been running his own business for seven years in the west of Melbourne.

With a fleet of 18 trucks, he’s grown the business substantially, from a three-man show to a company of 19 staff.

What’s made more of an impact was the recruitment of his operations manager, Tyson Beckwith, who has helped transform the company from a warehousing distribution business to a heavy haulage company. 

The decision to invest in the development of a driver organising network (DON) app has set the business up for the long run.

Looking for a mobile application to track its vehicles and access driver information, the company designed a multi-platform transport management app that’s setting it apart from their competitors.

It alerts drivers and operations when a driver is due to have a rest break and has a GPS location, delivering visibility of live traffic conditions and job status.

The $70,000 app, which was recently trialled, was received well by its staff and drivers.

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"When you get to a certain size – unless you’ve got an operator per driver then you need something to manage your Chain of Responsibility [COR]," Beckwith says.

"The guys find it very user friendly. It’s simple and I’m constantly getting ideas of how we can improve from the drivers which I take on board because we’ve developed it across the company and not just in the office.

"It’s like a baby in a sense that it could toddle around a little bit and now it’s walking and we now want to get it to where it’s running and in a constant state of improvement," he adds.

"What it allows me to do is have a much cleaner oversight on what I need to do to make sure my guys are compliant and instead of me having to go through GPS logs, when there’s a red flag I know exactly where we’re looking.

"I’m not looking over everyone every moment making sure they’re compliant, it’s letting me know if there’s a potential breach and the best part of it is that it stops the breach from happening."

The app was developed by ConnectAuz, a Melbourne-based consulting firm.

Due to increased competition within the transport sector, HTG started developing the app 12 months ago, Henry says.

"COR is huge and trying to cover anything in regards to that can be tricky," Henry says.

"It’s about realising it’s 2019 and not 1989; we’re only a small family business, so if we can pull work and compete with the bigger guys, then great.

"It’s also to show our clients that we are making the effort; we’re not cowboys."

WHERE THE WORK’S AT

HTG derives from Henry Ashton – a transport company Brent’s father had run since the 1970s.

Henry was 25 when he joined his father’s business but became the sole manager seven years ago when his father decided to retire, hence the change of the business name.

He’s focused on heavy machinery transport since becoming the managing director, helping deliver up to 400 tonnes of steel out of the wharf each day.

The company also carts heavy machinery for the West Gate Tunnel project – new work that’s helped significantly grow the business, Beckwith explains.

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"We shifted the business from a warehousing and distribution company to a heavy haulage company and Brent was all for it as he responds to numbers," Beckwith says.

"What I found when I was doing my research in 2015, there were 75 new jobs in Victoria and something like 60 per cent of those were in civil and construction.

"So, my next thought was how do you feed into that growth area with what we do? With warehousing, there’s millions of warehouses within a stone’s throw where I’m standing right now, companies can offer warehousing space just to supplement their office space as they come in at very low rates.

"I figured, we’re not in construction, we’re not builders or civil engineers, we’re transport and logistics," he adds.

"The next step was to look at how that sector works when there is the tunnel project for argument’s sake, the machines that move the earth – where do they come from and who owns them?"

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Their service is not the cheapest but definitely honest, Beckwith says.

Being Henry’s right-hand man, he’s helped him mature professionally over the past seven years.

"Where he has weaknesses I have strengths and where I have weaknesses he has strengths," Beckwith adds.

"It’s probably been more of an evolution of the two of us, we’ve been able to complement each other and pull each other up.

"Where I probably don’t take the risks that may lead to the level of success we’re currently experiencing, Brent will do that.

"If it can be justified he’ll give it a crack, even if it’s only a 50-50 chance of happening.

"He’s gone from someone who was a hard worker and willing to work into a business owner who’s prepared to take risks with growing the business but also invest heavily in making sure the back end of infrastructure is sound."

LONG RUN

A father of two, Henry hopes to one day pass the business on to his children.

What he’s learned from his father is to have a go.

Born and raised in Melton, Henry also carries fabric rolls and palletised freight.

Not one to put all of his eggs in a basket, Henry believes in diversifying the business, covering warehousing, container cartage and machinery.

The company has grown by 118 per cent over the last 18 months – all due to word of mouth.

"We’re actually starting to get recognised a little bit; I get pictures from my mates on the other side of town, they see my truck driving past.

"Our vehicles are well-branded vehicles, we’re not going over the top, just a nice, clean logo, and everything is branded and all the boys wear uniforms," he adds.

With 80 clients on his books, Henry prides himself on having a good repertoire with them.

The company does between 70 to 90 jobs a day.

His fleet varies from Kenworth (four) to Hino and Mitsubishi.

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The furthest that the company carries to is Uluru, with most of its deliveries made between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

A boiler by trade, Henry has a few sleepless nights but it’s a job he wouldn’t swap.

"When I was at school I used to go with dad in trucks on school holidays but dad has always told me to do a trade before I jumped in," he says.

"I’ve always liked excavators and machinery and that’s why I’ve gone down that path and not just the general stuff we were doing because every man and dog does it."

 

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