SYDNEY – Borg Manufacturing, one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of panels and cupboard components for the kitchen and building industry, has bucked an industry trend by operating its own transport operation – and is specifying Allison Automatics in its trucks to enhance efficiency and aid in driver recruitment.
“Our oldest UD automatic is about two and a half years-old and now our policy is that all new trucks will be automatics,” said Michael Borg, managing director of Borg Manufacturing.
Borg Manufacturing operates a fleet of 155 trucks including 35 UD MK and PD rigids equipped with the fully automatic Allison 3000 Series™ transmissions, which are used for local and regional distribution work from the company’s warehouses around the country.
“We trialed them and have found that the fuel economy is better with the automatic trucks than with the manuals, particularly in city work,” said Borg. “In terms of performance, the automatic trucks accelerate faster and offer a more relaxed environment for drivers.”
While many manufacturing businesses have moved away from handling their own transport logistics, Borg successfully runs its own fleet and operates it as a separate business unit running at a profit. It is part of this efficient operation that led Borg to move to the Allison-equipped UDs as the company’s pick when it comes to its rigid distribution trucks.
“Originally we looked at the Allison because we were not only having trouble finding qualified drivers but we were spending a lot of time and money repairing and maintaining drive lines on the manual trucks,” said Borg. “We found the drivers were burning out clutches and damaging the synchros in the gearboxes so it was costing us a lot of money and keeping the trucks off the road.”
Borg drivers handle as many as 25 drops a day on a normal delivery run in metro areas with a lot of stop- start driving and often in heavy traffic. The constant stop-start work makes the Allison Automatic the perfect choice for Borg with the company’s maintenance and repair costs reduced significantly since the switch to automatics. The company recently placed and order for another10 Allison equipped UD MK 11 250 rigids.
“If we can save five minutes on each delivery and we are doing 25 a day then we are saving more than two hours a day per truck,” said Borg. “Our transport department is run like any other transport business and despite the fact that many people say it can’t be worth running our own truck fleet, the reality is that with our model we actually make money from our transport operation, so we must be doing something right.”
Borg has built the company along with his brother John over the past 25 years and says the key to the competitive edge has been keeping full control of the business processes from start to finish, particularly on the logistics front. Recently the focus has been on streamlining the company’s final mile delivery processes and the deployment of carefully specified and designed rigid trucks has been an important part of that.
“We look to take control of the processes that can be actively controlled and that means taking care of all the processes in house, making sure we can produce just in time to a very specific quality standard. We could outsource elements of that, but we want to be in charge of our own destiny and add value where we can,” said Borg.
The Borg operation was started in 1990 and today is one of Australia’s largest manufacturers and distributors of melamine-coated MDF boards and laminates for kitchen and furniture manufacturers, builders and other users. It operates all of its own factories and warehouses across the country under a number of brand names including Polytec, Parbury, Symonite, Dekorform and APP.
The company employs more than 300 people in its transport and logistics operation with total personnel across the entire company including its manufacturing operations.