How did you get started in fleet and plant, and what was your first job in the industry?
My first exposure to plant and fleet management was in private industry, where plant and equipment management for a moderate size civil and building construction company formed a component of my substantive role.
Tell us about your role and the kind of fleet and plant you manage.
I’m Manager of Operational Services at Northern Areas Council in regional SA. The organisation is not large enough to have a dedicated plant manager so the activity forms a part of my substantive role. I have two great mechanics, one of whom coordinates the workshop activities and I have another coordinator who is developing in plant management as a component of a technical role. We have a $1M plant replacement budget annually with internal hire around $1.65M annually. Amongst our fleet are 6 graders, 3 prime movers and 4 water carts. We also raise around 130,000t of own rubble with our own bulldozer and crusher.
What’s the favourite part of your job?
I enjoy finding efficiencies and developing useful data for analysing results. We introduced a 30m road train to our fleet this year, with some ingenious work by the team, delivering significant savings to our re-sheeting program.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing fleet professionals this year and beyond?
Some of the largest challenges are sometimes the smallest items. We have been following up options to provide a workable towing frame for utes behind our maintenance graders for four years. Getting a compliance plated accessory like this to facilitate efficiencies in operations is often a hard slog. The ever-tightening compliance requirements will continue to challenge our ingenuity into the future.
How do you think the fleet department can make sure it has buy-in and support from the rest of the organisation?
Information sharing is always a key to achieving buy-in. The fleet we procure and maintain is not for us the purchaser – It’s for others to use so involving the end users and the other number crunchers in finance is an important aspect of the fleet managers role.