The business commenced in its current location on the 21st of February 1985, with 1 mobile service vehicle and 2 shop staff. 33 years later, there are 3 mobile service vehicles, 4 service centre staff, an office manager, web manager and another casual who doubles as the debt collector, and banker on Fridays.
The original business model though still exists, as down time costs a lot of money, to the farmer trying to get a crop in or the Newsprint Mill trying to get that next load of paper out. That is why the 4 mobile service vehicles form such an integral part of the business. These vehicles are franchised as well, under licence to Parker Hannifin (Aust) P/L and provide the 24/7 mobile on site service.
We started with the suggested minimum stock levels, a lathe, some racks and bins and some work benches. Our first job was a hose on a machine out at a fledging Baranduda, which we had to take off, bring back to the shop to make and then take out and fit, as our mobile service vehicle was still on the way.
Today, we have state of the art crimping presses, still the same lathe, a hydrostatic test bench, a pressure test rig for cylinders and motors, hose and pipe cleaning guns, tube benders and flarers, and a host of other equipment built up over 30 plus years as experience and customer service demanded. We have over 16,000 line items in stock and have access to every major brand of hydraulic equipment and accessories, with our main supplier being Parker Hannifin (Aust) P/L. The Parker brand is world renowned for quality and performance, but our main focus is still customer service, and we will source products from anywhere to satisfy customer demand.
As well, the training of all hands on personnel is done through a formal training course at Parker in Wodonga, a course which is TAFE Accredited, as well as continual training of new staff undertaken by the experienced staff. One of the biggest issues for new staff is to know what is available to fix customer problems, and come up with effective solutions. Even 2 weeks away on holidays sometimes sees new products on the shelves because a customer has had a particular requirement, and we now keep the solution on the shelf. It is a way of evolving the business, as well as making sure that our customer focus is maintained. We get a lot of customers come to us after having tried to get their problems solved at other businesses, and 99% of the time we can help them out on the spot.
It has always been a trade-off – what you haven’t got you can’t sell, and we have always erred on the side of having too much stock rather than not enough.
The business is still evolving, with new product on the market, not only by Parker Hannifin, but by other suppliers as well. Technology has taken huge strides, and communication methods are changing. Emails, Direct credits and debits, lap top computers are now normal in any business whilst Facebook and other social media will be useful in letting the younger generation know what we do.