A focus on its culture and purpose has seen Rocky’s Own grow and flourish, with the Rockhampton-based outfit recently celebrating the delivery of its 250th Kenworth.
Nowadays, the delivery of high consequence dangerous goods is the main gig for the Rockhampton based outfit.
For CEO and director of Rocky’s Own, Bryan Smith, the company’s success all comes down to process. “Revenue, size and the number of trucks has never been a driving factor, it’s all focussed on process, safety and culture. And from that everything else just happens,” he said.
“I suppose it’s a simple philosophy: if you treat your suppliers fairly, your customers fairly and your staff fairly, you’ll generally go alright.”
Smith, 60, is originally from Merbein, Victoria. He moved up north to Rockhampton and started hang-gliding, eventually becoming an instructor. “I did that for a few years – I was having too much fun. But I needed a real job and that’s when Wally, who started Rocky’s Own, took me on.”
Smith already had previous experience working in logistics and had spent several years as a truckie in his younger years too.
“When Wally asked me to join the business, I thought I’d have a go at it and it all went from there.”
Smith joined the company in 1996 as sales manager and worked his way up to the role of CEO in 2000. He is also the current vice president of the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA).
Smith and national operations/fleet manager Rod Carige, 50, took ownership of the business around 10 years ago.
“Rod started as operations manager and myself in sales. We started just a few months apart. There were about four trucks back then.”
Fast forward to today and the business now operates an impressive fleet of 164 trucks sporting the company’s green, white and gold livery (predominantly Kenworths with a few Volvo rigids in the mix too) and 287 trailers. It’s purchased 16 new Kenworths in the last year alone, including the 250th truck – a blinged-up Kenworth K200.
Based at the Rockhampton branch, the special milestone K200 is used to transport high consequence dangerous goods to mine sites across Queensland and NSW.
Rocky’s Own currently employs close to 300 staff across its eight depots, which are located throughout Queensland and NSW, as well as one in Kalgoorlie. Some employees have been there since Smith and Carige started with the business, while there are others who have been there for 15 or 20 years.
In his three decades in the industry, Smith has seen a great deal of change. “Regulatory controls and compliance are the biggest ones. Safety is really important in our industry, which has some poor statistics stacked against it. It has one of the highest fatality rates of any industry. We’ve worked on our processes and managing safety standards and everything grows from that,” he said.
“The industry is highly regulated now and a lot of good has come from that regulation, but I think sometimes it’s getting to a tipping point where it’s getting to be over regulated.”
Rocky’s Own services a whopping 276 mine sites across Australia in every state and territory, with the exception of Tasmania.
“Mining services represents about 70 per cent of our business, but we do general, heavy haulage and refrigerated freight as well,” Smith explained.
“In the last four to five years, the business has also branched out into licenced major hazard facilities, which is the warehousing of high consequence dangerous goods. We have a major hazard warehousing facility at Helidon.”
As with any transport operation, safety is paramount – but when you’re transporting dangerous goods, it’s even more pivotal. That’s why all freight movements carried out by the Rocky’s Own team are performed to the highest possible transport safety and security standards.
Its equipment also has to live up to its high standards too. Rocky’s Own maintains an impressive fleet of modern trucks, which wear the Kenworth badge.
“We also have a longstanding relationship with Kenworth dealer Brown and Hurley – and business is all about relationships. It’s the people and the back-up service that are critical,” said Smith.
“Kenworths are built in Australia, for Australian conditions, and they have one of the better networks of servicing in the country. And that’s important because you can have the best truck in the world, but if it’s on the side of the road broken down, it’s not much good to you,” explained Smith.