Secon Freight Logistics: expansive plans

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


About to hit the half century, leading transport company Secon marks its success by expanding its footprint in Melbourne’s west

Secon Freight Logistics: expansive plans
Steve Nailer

 

Secon Freight Logistics is expanding its presence in Victoria and has committed to a huge new purpose-built logistics hub in Truganina.

After announcing the build of a 21,000 square-metre premise worth $50 million to be completed this December, it has just now declared a long-term lease of an additional 33,310 square-metre facility at 47-53 Foundation Road, only three kilometres away from the first site.

The company says the deal is the largest this year for an existing building in Victoria, with the lease taking place commence in July under contract with developer Dexus.

Supply chain consultancy firm TM Insight will also project manage the contract.

Its lease of the Foundation Road site will feature two warehouses with high internal clearance to maximise storage volume and multiply access points for vehicles.

The site will be connected by an external concrete hardstand allowing for flexible A-double truck access.

It will also feature 6,000 square metres of super-canopy areas to protect the loading of vehicles.

The company has always had its eyes on the ‘next generation’, with the recent site a final piece of a consolidation strategy, allowing it to create a leading-edge operational footprint to accommodate continued growth.

Artist’s impression of the Foundation Road site in Truganina

The company’s vision is to consolidate its logistics business in Victoria and then expand that solution into other states to meet the growing national needs of its customers, Secon CEO Steve Nailer says.

"Our key focus here is not to only drive new efficiencies into our customers’ supply chains but to also continue to meet the expanding service and quality levels they require," Nailer says.

"The consolidation from five current sites into two ‘super’ sites will assist in delivering this part of our strategy.

"The Foundation Road site will offer over 33,000 square metres of premium designed warehousing, five minutes from our mega freight hub site that is currently under construction."

The Niton Drive warehouse will not only house a new national head office including 12,000 square metres of premium warehousing and a new fleet workshop but will be part of one of Melbourne’s largest privately-owned container parks with over 20,000 square metres of hardstand.

Further to this, the container park will be linked to Secon’s new state-of-the-art cross-dock facility at Foundation Road that will be able to move awkward and non-palletised freight around the clock.

The Niton Drive site will be partially owned by Secon and partially retained by Berton Investment under a 14-year lease with Secon, with an option at the end to buy from the property developer.

An artist’s image of the logistics hub which in Truganina due for completion in December

While the cost of the Foundation Road construction has not been released, a commercial relationship with Dexus was only initiated last April.

"This was initially outside our window as we need to vacate our Blackshaws Road site by mid-June and thus created a bottleneck we could not allow to happen," Nailer explains.

TM Insight property director Nathan Bingham says Secon is one of the largest occupiers of industrial space in Victoria thanks to its new projects, firmly cementing its position amongst the major players in the transport and logistics sector.

Secon has purchased the main office, container park, cross-docking warehouse and workshop part of the logistics hub and will be leasing the adjacent logistics warehouse building from Berton Investments.

TIME FOR CHANGE

Secon has grown by 65 per cent over the last five years, with 25 per cent of the growth occurring last financial year, with all sites having reached capacity.

"Our current footprint is based over five sites and these we have outgrown and hence don’t meet the efficiency standards required," Nailer says.

Those sites will now be consolidated into the two super sites.

About to turn 50 this year – the milestone also represents a change of the guard for the company.

"As Secon grew through its first 45 years, an autocratic leadership structure was in place that passed through two generations of Considine family members," Nailer says.

"The first being founder Maurie Considine which was then passed down to his oldest son Terry.

"With the sudden passing of Terry in 2014 and along with massive growth the business was experiencing, Terry’s younger brother Brendon took over the role of managing director and implemented a flatter board structure along with a new level of operational executive management.

"Secon, now in its third generation of operational management, has a mixture of third generation family and non-family members taking up positions in its executive management team.

"This group is entrusted to continue to operate and organically grow the freight and logistics arm of the business.

"In 2015, the Considine family also started Secon Constructions with Terry’s oldest son Peter taking up the role of general manager/director," he adds.

NEW FOCUS, NEW CLIENTS

Secon has attracted many new clients thanks to the quality of its service.

Its focus has never been about quantity but rather focusing on blue chip businesses that are looking to build supply chain partners that provide value and efficiencies to their customers and correlating supply chains, Nailer says.


More on the Truganina super-site, here


"Each partner has different needs and Secon’s business model allows for benefits to be gained along the entire supply chain and not just focusing on the logistics silo," he says.

"It is not about offering a competitive rate but more importantly offering efficiency related cost savings that do not impinge of escalating costs, compliance and competitiveness whilst maintaining quality of service.

"Through this new focus we have considerably grown our existing client base whilst also introducing new clients that benefit our model."

STILL THE SAME SERVICE

The company has grown organically grown over the last decade from a small family business into an agile medium-sized business that is continually meeting the growth, compliance, quality, safety and technological needs of its customers as they grow and expand their businesses – all whilst it has maintained family values and levels of personalised customer service.

"Our success in this area has then enabled Secon to expand our customer base and meet the requirements of larger businesses that were previously outside our assets capabilities," Nailer says.

"The need to consolidate is just the next step as we continue to organically grow the breadth of Secon’s capabilities whilst maintaining the strengths that have got us to this point.

"So, yes visually Secon had and is immensely changing but at our core we are still the professional family business that our customers love dealing with.

"The happiness of our staff, contractors, customers, suppliers and community still emanates from the same values and behaviour we desire, no matter our size or capabilities."

SAFETY

The new logistics hub will not only solidify Secon’s market position but ensure safety is at the forefront of its day to day operations.

"Safety is paramount in an industry where large pieces of equipment interact with other equipment or pedestrian traffic, so ensuring this is done in the safest manner possible is paramount," Nailer says.

"A key part of our strategy is the focus on ensuring our equipment and sites are designed and operated so that risk is eliminated or engineered out of our daily tasks."

The other key part is ensuring Secon has a ‘safety first’ culture that is driven by its people as a company-wide initiative, he adds.

"As part of our risk management program, all safety issues are investigated and along with the learnings that come from these, we also have a continuous improvement program that ensures we stay well under our safety targets," Nailer explains.

"With the introduction of our new premium sites that are designed with safety at front of mind, we look forward to continuing to lower our safety targets as we expand."

Foundation Road site is under a long-term lease with Dexus, and is Victoria’s largest lease deal for an existing building this year

The company has secured approval for Super-B and A-double high productivity freight vehicles at the Niton Drive facility, which will significantly increase transport and overall operational efficiencies.

The investment of a super fleet is a stage two requirement of its strategy, worth over $2.5 million, which includes a rolling wharf to hub network that will operate seven days a week out of the Melbourne wharf precinct.

FUTURE-PROOF BUSINESS

The Foundation Road and Niton Drive sites will allow Secon to relaunch its growth strategy and build a ‘hub and spoke’ strategy.

By investing in IT systems and infrastructure that is backed by a team of dedicated and experienced customer-focussed staff, Secon plans to grow and future-proof its business.

"The buildings are just material products, as is the people, systems and processes that will ultimately drive our ongoing success," Nailer says.

And while the company doesn’t pay much attention to its competitors, its main focus is and always will be customers, he adds.

"This is a very tough and competitive industry and we all offer varying degrees of services, capabilities and options.

"We actually respect their businesses and operations, as generally they are different to ours.

"We prefer to focus on what our customers and potential customers are looking for and then seek to offer solutions that benefit their needs whilst ensuring they are in line with our capabilities and operating models," Nailer says.

TECHNOLOGY

About to move to a new operating system, CargoWise One, Secon is continuing to invest heavily into IT infrastructure and software as part of its ‘next generation’ strategic plan.

The system is an international enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that is based in Sydney, which will allow Secon to integrate its workflows into that of its customers and their forwarding agents.

"This will allow seamless processing and connectivity like never before," Nailer says.

"So, this is exciting and ground breaking technology that we are leveraging off as CargoWise One expands into the leader of innovation and connectivity in the international logistics market.

"To coincide with the development of our new ERP system, Secon has also developed a commercial relationship with Telstra to provide a secure network that ensures the security, redundancy, agility and scalability of our IT infrastructure.

"This will allow for all future expansion on a national scale."

SECON’S 50 YEAR VOYAGE

Secon was started as a family business founded by Maurie Considine in 1969. Over the past 50 years it has grown and become a transport industry leader. It specialises in freight delivery across the Melbourne metropolitan area and offers a range of services from container cartage to warehousing and rotary pumping services. Its facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art inventory equipment, allowing Secon to solve transport challenges and deliver a complete logistics service to customers.

Nailer, who previously served as Secon’s general manager, was promoted to CEO as part of a restructure following ongoing substantial growth at the company. Part of that plan was aggressive expansion over the next three years as part of Secon’s new corporate strategy.

 

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