After sales service pushes brand loyalty

For Ray Cauchi, owner of Cartage Australia, the criteria for selecting the ideal  prime mover is enhanced safety and after market service, which will contribute  to savings over the long haul, not just in the short term.

Ray Cauchi is a busy man. His fleet of FM480s runs non-stop from quarries around Victoria, carrying sand, aggregate and asphalt to concrete plants in the metropolitan area. He is convinced that Volvos are the only trucks he will ever use.

?Back in the 1990s we had a fleet from a European manufacturer,? recalls Ray, ?but their back-up services were no good. I went to Volvo and got a price on a truck. Once we realised what we had our hands on we never looked back. Now we have 21 FM480s, with three more to come and six more on order.?

Ray says he is a devotee of Volvo trucks because of the high level of service. ?Volvo never walks away from a problem, they make it their problem. They give 100 per cent, they don?t argue. They say, ?Let?s fix the truck first and we?ll discuss it later.?

?We get all our vehicles serviced overnight at CMV Laverton. They?ve done some amazing, truly extraordinary things to keep us on the road, like fixing a blown clutch in six hours. The whole Volvo back-up service is second to none. What?s more, Volvo is a one-stop shop, so we don?t have to muck around with multiple providers.?

Ray has his trucks serviced every 40,000km and uses only genuine Volvo parts. Parts are an area where many operators look to save money, but Ray believes this is false economy.

?You?re kidding yourself if you use anything other than genuine parts,? he says. ?In the transport business, time is money; saving a few cents on a non-genuine part in the short term just loses dollars in the long run. With genuine parts you know you have reliability. When we got our last two FM480s, the drivers had a bit of a joke – they didn?t turn either truck off once until the first service. That?s 10,000km with the engine running continuously. The trucks couldn?t have cared less; they?re bulletproof.?

Ray is also a big believer in driver safety, which is why he?s over-specified his trucks and his trailers with every safety device he can get. Safety of course, is one of Volvo?s key areas of expertise and just one more reason why Ray loves his FM480s.

?We have EBS brakes and disc brakes on the trucks and the trailers. We have all of Volvo?s advanced safety equipment fitted in every truck. We can be doing 100km per hour on a wet road and if we stand on the brakes in an accident situation, the truck and the trailer will both stop, with no fishtailing or jack-knifing. How many operators can say that??

Some operators might baulk at the cost of all these safety features, but not Ray.

?To me, the extra cost is zero. Take the situation I just described, how much have you saved yourself by not having the accident? Not to mention the life of the driver!?

Speaking of drivers, what do they think of the FM480s?

?They love them, especially the I-Shift transmission. After a driver has I-Shift for a day he never wants to drive another truck. With I-Shift, every gear change is perfect, the way it?s all set up makes it very easy for the driver. Any of my blokes will do a 12 hour shift and won?t know he?s done a day?s work at the end of it.?

By fitting his trucks with every safety feature Volvo has to offer, Ray was able to apply to the National Transport Council (NTC) for a Performance-Based Standard (PBS) that allows him to carry up to four tonnes over the normal mass limit.

?We took our specification to the NTC and said, ?We have every safety feature money can buy on the trucks and trailers, more than required for the job we?re doing?. The NTC listened and agreed that they could find a way forward for us. The result is that the four-axle dogs behind our Euro 3 models are 53.5 tonnes, while the Euro 4s pull 54 tonnes.?

Ray?s trucks average three trips a day, so an extra four tonnes per load over the limit amounts to 12 tonnes per truck, per day. That is about two extra trailer loads per truck, every week.

?You see, to me that?s just a bonus,? says Ray, ?I didn?t fit those safety features so I could apply for a PBS, I fitted them because I believe that safety pays for itself.?

Ray has maximised the potential of every available feature on the Volvo truck. So what does he believe is the key to his success?
?Service. Richard Singer (from Volvo Group Australia) and everyone at CMV Laverton are always there, no matter what. Cartage Australia appreciates their support and the support of the whole Volvo organisation because without them we?re not going anywhere. To me, service is where true value lies and with Volvo you know that they?re going to stick with you throughout the whole life of the truck. To me, that?s beyond price.?

Source: Volvo Group Australia

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