Paccar keeps the home fires bright

By: Steve Brooks


Paccar Australia bucks the local manufacturing trend with its Melbourne-based plant that produces nine Kenworth trucks each day

Paccar keeps the home fires bright
A Kenworth fresh off the production line in Melbourne.

 

While Australian car manufacturing is close to extinction, at the Paccar Australia headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Bayswater, the commitment to local truck manufacturing is continuing to deliver market-leading dividends.

Kenworth trucks have been produced at the Bayswater plant since 1971 and since then close to 55,000 Kenworths have rolled off the end of the line bound for truck operators in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.

Meantime, Kenworth continues to be the number one selling heavy-duty truck on the Australian market, currently holding around 21 per cent of the category.

Add that figure to the three per cent-plus held by fully imported stablemate DAF, almost one in every four trucks sold on the Australian heavy-duty market comes from Paccar Australia.

Kenworth production at the Bayswater facility is, however, the unquestionable jewel in the crown for Paccar Australia and the company uses customer tours of this world class and clinically clean plant to great effect.

In 2015 Paccar Australia says it hosted an astonishing 349 plant tours and as one Kenworth senior executive recently emphasised, "This plant is a huge asset ... the most effective tool we have to gather and maintain a customer base."

Yet just as technology has had a major impact on the performance and efficiency of trucks over recent decades so, too, has manufacturing technology and the incessant drive for greater efficiency provided the platforms for massive changes to design, production, and quality control systems at Bayswater.

The vast investment in engineering, production technology, and the land required for expansion has obviously been huge but so have the returns delivered by robotics, automation and critically, ongoing investment in equipment and training.

As it stands today, the factory covers 12,000 square metres and sits little more than a stone’s throw from a parts distribution centre covering more than 9,000 square metres.

According to several Kenworth insiders, decisions made decades ago to invest in neighbouring land demonstrate Paccar’s long-term commitment to Australian truck manufacturing.  

Critically, local manufacturing continues to deliver big dividends and in turn, strengthens the operation’s ongoing viability. Paccar Australia last year achieved combined revenue of $750 million.

 

Kenworth ,-Paccar ,-Andrew -Hadjikakou ,-Manufacturing ,-Owner Driver2

Paccar Australia's Melbourne facility. 

 

Speaking at a recent press tour of the Bayswater facility, newly appointed managing director Andrew Hadjikakou commented, "There are a lot of exciting things happening that will be revealed in time but my role is not to change the world but to keep doing the good things and ensuring the company remains stable and viable.

"Paccar provides access to capital to improve quality, we employ more than 800 people directly and many thousands more through our dealer and supplier networks.

"So while Toyota, Ford, and Holden are ending local car production, Paccar continues to increase its investment in truck manufacturing at Bayswater.

"We stand on our own two feet without government handouts and this company has achieved so much and our goal is to continue to achieve.

"The people we employ are well trained and motivated, there’s a great deal of gratitude that goes both ways between us and our suppliers and our dealers, and we play a big part in the broader community," an upbeat Andrew Hadjikakou continued.

"We are committed to manufacturing in this country. Absolutely!"

 

 

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