Transport company Vellex Pty Ltd has a conventional business model with a defining quality, according to managing director, Charles Vella. “What sets us apart is the family aspect,” he says. “Clients who had previously dealt with larger transport companies tell us they are relieved to find they are dealing with someone who cares. “That family aspect can be seen in our relationships with our clients and in our relationship with our staff,” he said. The company was established in 1985 under the Vella family name and emerged under the Vellex brand in 2007. It is now a corporate entity with traditional family values, new equipment and technology to take it into the future.
Now that we’ve switched to a new fleet of Linde forklifts the operators enjoy coming to work. They love the comfortable seat and the two-foot control and all the control levers being right there where they can reach them easily. It’s like a lounge chair operation.
It has expanded into Victoria, South Australia and Queensland in the last four years, with major clients in the hardware, packaging and automotive industries. Charles Vella, who signed off a switch to a fleet of Linde forklifts earlier this year, said previously the company had purchased the best trucks but that its forklift fleet was rarely updated.
Fleet and Maintenance manager, Dale Hedley, who joined the company two years ago, found himself responsible for nearly 300 pieces of equipment, including more than 60 forklifts whose regular breakdowns kept a maintenance contractor busy and prosperous.
“Now that we’ve switched to a new fleet of Linde forklifts the operators enjoy coming to work,” he comments on the changeover. “They love the comfortable seat and the two-foot control and all the control levers being right there where they can reach them easily. It’s like a lounge chair operation.”
Joe Vella, one of the six siblings who steer the company’s direction made the decision to initially trial a single Linde forklift at the busy Vellex Sydney depot, then additional models were added.
The superiority and increased productivity of the Linde equipment exhibited itself immediately through quieter operation, better ergonomics and an absence of the overheating problems experienced with other forklift brands performing the same work. The outcome was a major drop in operator fatigue. The advanced filtration system used by Linde forklifts also resolved dust-related issues experienced by other forklift brands at the Wetherill Park depot.
“We use our forklifts heavily because of the cross-docking operation of our depots,” Dale Hedley said. “In the early stages of the trial of the Linde forklifts it’s fair to say opinion was divided among our operators, but now they all love them. They won’t look at any other forklift.”
Vellex made the changeover to the increased productivity of a Linde material handling equipment fleet throughout its network of depots in the first quarter of 2016. As many other businesses have found, it was a combination of Linde attributes which ranked its equipment ahead of alternatives.
“We were happy to look at all brands, but I think what tipped the decision was a combination of driver safety, comfort, ergonomics and the Blue Spot system which makes for a safer workplace,” Charles Vella said. “Linde safety and ergonomics standards are far superior to anything else available on the market.
“The swipe-card, keyless access system was also important to us. With Linde FleetFOCUS even the licence expiry date is embedded in the access swipe card and we get a warning if a driver is approaching that date. Once they go past that date the forklift won’t start for them unless they have come back to us with a new licence. We believe it should be compulsory for all forklifts to be fitted with these types of safeguards.
We move pallets, cartons and awkward freight which we pick up from clients daily and deliver the next day and, where possible, overnight. With our new Linde fleet we’ve got the best possible forklifts to help make that happen.
Fleet and Maintenance manager, Dale Hedley, said the growth of the Vellex forklift fleet, now approaching 70 units, is linked to utilisation and efforts to extract the maximum productivity from the company’s assets. “The Linde FleetFOCUS fleet management system covers everything from workplace health and safety compliance to monitoring the utilisation of our equipment,” he said.
“The transparency it provides as to who is on the forklifts and the alerts to any impacts or mishaps are very important to us. With the size of our operation it was almost impossible to administer on paper from a workplace health and safety point of view.
“On the utilisation front FleetFOCUS makes our forklift drivers more accountable, with its reporting on traction hours, lifting hours and seat hours. At one stage in our Melbourne depot we had probably three or four forklifts in excess of what was required. Something like that is quickly highlighted by a FleetFOCUS report and you can take action to save money. We’ve been able to reduce forklift numbers in New South Wales and Victoria. Previously we carried extras because breakdowns had been a daily occurrence.”
The changeover to Linde equipment and a switch from purchase to long term rental was a strategic one for Vellex and a decision which once made, the company was keen to announce.“
Our partnership with Linde is something which we broadcast to our clients and explained our reasons for doing it,” Charles Vella said. “Because of Linde’s stature in the industry we also mention our partnership to the various regulatory bodies to advise them of our commitment to safety.
“We move pallets, cartons and awkward freight which we pick up from clients daily and deliver the next day and, where possible, overnight. With our new Linde fleet we’ve got the best possible forklifts to help make that happen.”