Sep 27, 2021 0min read

Operating freight and logistics company, Monson Transport, which takes over 5,000 consignments weekly on the central north western coast of Tasmania, Wayne Monson has his eyes firmly set on business efficiency. He currently runs a dozen-truck fleet, with nine medium-and light-duty Isuzu trucks, including a purpose-built freight machine: the 12-pallet FSR 140-240 AMT Freightpack, sitting at 14,000 kg GVM.

Monson Transport cart everything from bulk goods to air freight (including 25,000 Chrisco hampers last year) and contract to behemoths Toll, IPEC and TNT. They are also one of the few transport companies that send multiple vehicles out to the far northwest, delivering in remote country areas.

Maintenance matters

With odometers clocking an average 200 kilometres per day (per truck) one of Wayne’s chief concerns—and one that fleet managers are increasingly aware of under tightening Chain of Responsibility obligations—is keeping on top of vehicle maintenance. Webster Trucks is extremely happy to help Wayne with vehicle compliance, and assists with all major services, keeping their Isuzu fleet delivering across Tassie.

“We’ve bought Isuzu for a long time, because of their reputation for reliability,” said Wayne.

“Dealing with Bevan Coleman at Webster’s has been really good; we always get solid aftersales service and take the trucks there for our major services. “We bought our newest Freightpack there because we needed a truck in a hurry, without a long wait at bodybuilders.

“We had a couple of glitches where the tailgate we added on wasn’t set up quite how we wanted it for deliveries, so I had a quick chat with Bevan. “He came over, had a look and then took it away to fix it up to our specifications—all at no charge to us. The service was fantastic,” he continued. “No issues since—we’re using it for palletised bulk deliveries all along the northwest coast… all the drivers just love it; they love all our Isuzus. “It’s got tons of power and we do operate in some hilly places… I’ve never had one complaint from the drivers.”

Technology uptake

Showcasing Isuzu’s clean and ultra-efficient 4HK1 turbocharged diesel engine, which pulls power at 177 kW @ 2,400 rpm and with torque of 765 Nm @ 1,600 rpm, the FSR AMT Freightpack certainly has grunt enough to satisfy Monson’s requirements. Coupled with features to shave time off pallet delivery, including easy glide curtains, quick release “Lightning” latches, LED body interior lighting and yellow safety steps and handles, the Freightpack is seeing the driving team hitting their delivery goals.

And with good truck drivers a rarer breed than in years gone by, Wayne is keen to invest in the best technology to keep his team happy. “One of our biggest challenges is driver shortage, it’s getting harder and harder to find drivers,” Wayne noted. “The work is physically demanding, and you need to be able to think on your feet.

“The industry has really changed. We used to deliver con notes and we’d sort them in sequence… now we have multiple scanners from multiple clients, and they all operate on different systems. “Drivers need to have a reasonable idea of what they’re doing,” he added wryly. “I’ve got great staff and invested a fair bit of time with them… but at the same time I’m a bit old school, I’ve found it hard at different times to take on new technology. “But we have always pushed through and taken it on, and it’s always been to our benefit in the end.”

Evolving freight task

Elaborating on the challenges Monson Transport are facing in a rapidly evolving freight industry, Wayne mentioned rate pressure was a key factor driving equipment purchase and need for efficiency.

“I think the days of the small three or four truck couriers are just about over,” he said.

“It must be very, very hard to make a living with a lot of pressure on rates, pressure on how, and when, and what you get paid. The KPIs that are in place now, reporting, time spent on deliveries… it’s changed a heck of a lot over the years.”

That’s 25 years to be exact; Wayne founded Monson Transport in 1996 with one truck, one van and one employee. Things have come a long way since then, but Wayne didn’t start fresh off the block in logistics, having years of transport experience under his belt before 1996, serving in the Royal Australian Air Force and military peacekeeping forces between the 70s and 90s.

“I joined the Air Force in 1976 when I was 17 years old,” he recounted. “I spent a fair bit of my time in purchasing and air movements, the logistics of loading and weight balance. “I also spent six months on the ground in the Sinai Desert in Egypt for a multinational force of observers in 1984 looking after supply and logistics. “You could say it’s in the blood, too. My uncle owns a bulk freight business called Monson Logistics.”

So where to from here for Wayne and Monson Transport?

“I’d like to retire, but I’ll probably never leave the business,” he said with a touch of humour in his voice. “In the meantime, I’ve got our fleet, the Freightpack, another 10-tonne tautliner delivered just before Christmas, and a 6.5-tonne pallet truck on order from Isuzu to keep me busy.”

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