As we are all inclined to do, the end of year is a good time to take stock. It is also a good time to take a look at the opportunities for the year ahead.
We operate on a rolling five-year plan and in spite of the trials and tribulations of the last few years, we find ourselves in a position where we are ahead of the curve in reaching a number of our key targets.
While some of it could be attributed to good luck, it is also fair to say that you make your own luck. The roll of the dice is not the only factor by any stretch.
Strategy and tactics are all the better when backed up by a healthy dose of initiative, ingenuity and courage. Those are traits that are all too common in Australia’s heavy vehicle industry.
That presents us with a great situation to revisit our ambitions and our strategies to deliver them.
HVIA is a member association so everything we do is designed to deliver value to the organisations that we represent, and to the broader industry that they serve.
The Brisbane Truck Show is our best known method for delivering that value. While it is perfectly reasonable that it is not front of mind for attendees between one show and the next two years later, it is no small undertaking and planning for the next event is actually already well underway when the doors close on the last one.
We were in an interesting position coming out of the 2021 show where a significant number of long-standing exhibitors had been unable to attend, mostly due to lockdowns and international company policy.
We knew, however, that most were committed to returning for the 2023 show. So, we put out our initial expression of interest in late 2021, six months earlier than would normally be the case.
The support was overwhelming and created a conundrum as we sought to enable as many exhibitors into the show as possible, while ensuring that the interests of show attendees guided our decisions about space utilisation.
What we have ended up with is an amazing collection of the very best the industry has to offer, that will fill virtually every nook and cranny of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre when the doors open next May.
That’s not to mention everything taking place across the road as part of the South Bank Truck Festival.
Or the Heavy Equipment and Machinery Show running in parallel at the Brisbane Show Grounds.
There are plenty of other reasons to join us in Queensland next May including the Heritage Truck Show and events and activations around the city.
Meanwhile, HVIA has been busy in a range of other ways, including our government advocacy, policy development, technical and regulatory assistance, training, awards programs and industry careers promotion.
Our success in engaging members and delivering successful outcomes for industry has also resulted in attracting a much broader range of commercial support.
We commenced our new supporting partners program this year and have been delighted to welcome the likes of Ampol, Chamberlains, Energy Australia, Morris, and Royans on board through that initiative, with more on the way.
Recently we announced our second Principal Partner – Wurth Australia have stepped up alongside National Transport Insurance as our major partners.
These organisations enable us to be more ambitious in developing and delivering programs to further the interests of the industry.
Without exception they are companies whose values and cultures are established around providing meaningful and tangible support for the industry that they service.
They participate actively in looking at removing blockages to success.
An example of this is through their support of our various workforce development initiatives including the apprentice of the year award, national apprentice challenge, careers campaigns and our forthcoming young leaders council.
The Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme is overseen by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to enable the design, engineering and manufacture of truck and trailer combinations that set benchmarks for safety and productivity for specific tasks on pre-approved routes.
HVIA members have demonstrated the capacity of the scheme to deliver on that mandate and continue to develop vehicles that are the envy of the world under the program.
That scheme has continued to be refined, including substantial achievements in 2022 with a number of pre-approved designs dramatically reducing red-tape, and a change to the rules around tyre specifications which HVIA has lobbied for several years to achieve.
In 2023 the scheme is undergoing a significant overhaul ahead of what we call PBS 2.0. It is vital that industry plays a strong role in shaping the outcomes of that review, which will have dramatic impact on our outputs and productivity over the years ahead.
Vehicle width and its alignment with international standards has been a major issue for the same reasons.
That is particularly true as battery electric and fuel cell electric heavy vehicles come on to the market in greater numbers.
HVIA is working closely with industry, government, training institutions, energy suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure that the pathway to a zero emissions future is free of unnecessary (often bureaucratic) impediments.
HVIA is also involved in developing various training courses on the back of the ongoing success of HV101, our first online course now widely used as an induction tool for new starters to the industry.
On the training front, with the support of the HVSI grant program, we are currently finalising an online load restraint course and a best practice tyre management course. We expect to launch those at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
2023 will provide a welcome opportunity for the industry to get together and it is our privilege to facilitate the southern hemisphere’s largest trucking industry event for that purpose.
It will be a showcase of everything that is good about our industry, and certainly that includes an exciting array of new trucks, trailers, equipment, components and technology.
As you start making your plans for 2023, I strongly encourage you to make being in Brisbane from Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21, a firm commitment.
I have no doubt that this time next year you will reflect on that week as one of 2023’s major highlights.
Todd Hacking is the CEO of Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia.