A transport industry stalwart who started his climb through the ranks more than 25 years ago as an apprentice heavy vehicle mechanic has been named the Craig Roseneder Award winner in the 2020 Castrol Vecton Industry Awards.
Dennis Roohan, who took an early release from his apprenticeship, established himself as a skilled mechanic and is now General Manager of Beresfield, NSW-based AJM Transport, is the proud recipient of the esteemed prize which recognises technical and maintenance excellence in the road transport industry.
In an industry that is time-critical and cost-sensitive Roohan, 42, has used his fleet management skills to lift the company’s monthly uptime rate to an impressive 99 per cent with a corresponding 73 per cent fall in vehicle defect numbers.
Despite those dual achievements he is quite modest about that success.
“They go hand-in-hand. If you’re doing your preventative maintenance right and you have a great team that understands the goal then the rest of it falls into place,” he said.
“AJM has equipment that does in excess of 12,000 kilometres per week, 52 weeks of the year (600,000km annually) and when you do these sorts of kilometres there’s nowhere to hide. You learn quick about what breaks and how to prevent it occurring again.”
Roohan has also led the charge for AJM to venture into Performance-Based Standards (PBS), a scheme that lets heavy vehicle operators use innovative, optimised vehicle designs to achieve greater productivity and improved safety while having minimal environmental and infrastructure impact.
“We have used this platform at AJM Transport to allow our customers better productivity with fewer movements through a variety of different tautliner combinations.”
He is also rolling-out the new and unique Teletrac Navman GPS system capable of tracking both truck and trailers, for the AJM fleet.
“I spent months researching and ensuring we had a package that could do all the business required from one tablet in the truck, allowing our drivers to do all the required COR from one unit and, more importantly, was user-friendly. This provided real benefits for the business,” he said.
Roohan also introduced the specialised Gearbox workshop software package in 2017. Effectively a preventative maintenance system, it captures whole-of-life costs for each unit.
As well, the business is currently in the process of fitting the Guardian Seeing Machines system, using face and eye-tracking algorithms to measure driver head position and eye movements, across its fleet.
If safety parameters are exceeded an audio alarm is activated and the seat vibrates. At the same time, data and footage are relayed to the 24/7 Guardian Centre for review. This piece of equipment has already proven to be an extremely valuable safety initiative protecting lives and equipment.
The man who started in the industry as an apprentice is well-known for his expert technical knowledge and hands-on approach to workshop management.
Roohan, who has given some 20 apprentices a start, is adamant that proper training and quality mentoring are the secrets to turning out highly skilled technicians. And he works hard at developing those skills.
“If my workshop cannot give them the necessary skills they need to be competent then I send them to one of our suppliers for extensive training to ensure they finish their apprenticeship in the best possible position,” he said.
Commenting on the award win, announced during the ATA’s recent online Technology & Maintenance Conference, ATA Chair David Smith described Roohan as a proactive industry member who demonstrates outstanding knowledge, ability and leadership qualities.
“He currently serves as the ITC Vice-chair and chairs the council’s Productivity working group,” said Smith.
Roohan’s prize includes an all-expenses paid trip to to the US Technology and Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition with full registration, partners’ program, return airfares and accommodation, $1500 spending money and complimentary registration to the next in-person ATA TMC.