Truck brands assessing virus impact on operations

Volvo, Isuzu and Penske relate actions in response to Covid-19 crisis

Truck brands assessing virus impact on operations
Andrew Harbison


Truck brands in Australia are as awake to the disruption from coronavirus Covid-19 as their customers, recent statement regarding their responses show.

With authorities viewing the road freight industry as an essential service, parts of that sector are less exposed than some in the economy.

It also appears that authorities will come to see that the supply of vehicles and equipment should be recognised in the same way, as Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are urging.

Volvo Group

Volvo Group Australia is looking to shore up its supply chain and work out strategies there

 "We are evaluating the situation daily, and are following all guidelines put in place by authorities," a VGA spokesperson.

Our primary focus is on the health and safety of all people.

"As of today, some impact has been identified for Volvo and Mack Trucks but we are working very closely with our suppliers.

"We are discussing their contingency plans to manage any disruptions and asking them to develop appropriate mitigation plans.

"Our priority continues to be the health and safety of people whilst doing everything we can to keep Australia running.

"As a local manufacturer and with the support of our global supply teams, we are well placed to keep Australia moving."


Isuzu Australia Ltd (IAL) also seeks to look after its supply chain.

And, like many transport and logistics firms, it acknowledges the ongoing development of the Covid-19 situation and advice from the Australian government and health authorities regarding safe work practices and social distancing.

While IAL is implementing a remote work policy, with locations "staffed only by essential department representatives with strict social distancing procedures in place", it says all business operations – including sales, service, parts and business support services – will continue to be available across its and the dealer network.

"Providing our customers and partners with uninterrupted business support is a top priority and we are determined to work with all parties to ensure continued assistance," IAL director and chief operating officer Andrew Harbison says.

"On-site staff numbers are carefully managed, and the health and safety of our employees is the guiding principle for all human resourcing decisions.

"We also have well-established sanitary safeguards for employee hygiene at our corporate office locations. These are regularly reviewed and communicated to all staff.

"We understand that certainty of business operations is critical to our customers and suppliers, and we will provide the required access and support."

"All our staff remain available and we have the facilities in place to manage meetings and other contact either online or phone."


Read how authorities are recognising trucking's crucial role, here

The company states anticipated pressures on supply chains will continue to be reviewed regularly.

"We are working work closely with Isuzu Motors Limited (Japan) and other suppliers to manage business continuity," Harbison says.

"Current stock levels of trucks, parts and engines remain adequate to support operators and customers.

"We are liaising with our partners, the Isuzu Dealer Network regarding ongoing access to sales, service and support."

IAL views communications and reassurance as crucial for the upkeep of confidence in the business in such uncertain times.

 "We will provide ongoing updates and will keep our customers and suppliers fully informed of the latest status and any impacts ," Harbison says.

 "We understand the need for our customers and suppliers to maintain business and communication channels with IAL and our plans place a high priority on providing effective contact and support resources. 

 "IAL is committed to its role as a leading Australian commercial equipment supplier and employer of choice.

"The health and safety of our workers, customers, suppliers and partners is our first priority and we are committed to supporting the well-being of all people and business associated with our brand," he concluded.


Penske Australia & New Zealand is also keen to ensure its customers and stakeholders understand it will continue to service their needs.

"Maintaining supply of the goods and services that you provide to your customers in Australia and New Zealand has never been more vital, and all of us at Penske stand prepared to play our part in reducing disruptions to your business," the regional arm of the US firm states.

"We feel it is appropriate to inform you of the actions Penske is taking to ensure both the safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff, and that your transportation and power needs are being met."

It has implemented company-wide, as well as location specific, business continuity plans, to be invoked should one of its sites be affected.

"Each of our locations has introduced a range of measures designed to minimise the possibility of infection spreading through our business and communities, and every day a dedicated ‘response task force’ is meeting with our operations management team to gauge the effectiveness of our approach."

Some examples of the steps Penske has introduced at each of its locations include:

  • equipping each site with personal hygiene supplies and PPE for our staff and customers, and continuously communicating hygiene protocol to our personnel
  • alternate work arrangements to isolate field service staff and ensure no cross contamination between sites
  • enacting split shifts for our critical staff, including warehouse and technical personnel, to limit the risk of infection
  • engaging with a medical-grade cleaning supplier in case decontamination of our facilities is required
  • cleaning of truck cabins before and after a truck is serviced
  • cleaning of service vehicles after each shift change.

"Finally, remain assured that our distribution centres are fully stocked and operational, our supply chain is secure and we are fully staffed, all backed by a robust and secure IT system that permits us to assist you from our branch locations, home or the road," Penske adds.

"Penske will continue to proactively monitor this rapidly-evolving situation and implement stepped measures in order to maximise the safety of all, while continuing to support our customers in these unprecedented times.

All of us at Penske recognise that you and your business play a vital role in keeping Australia and New Zealand up and running, and today this is more important than ever. Our goal is to ensure that our doors stay open so that yours can too."


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