Meet Steve Beer.
He’s our fastidious transport manager at Coolabah Turf, and he and his awesome team are the reason that we’re able to distribute almost 30,000 pallets of high grade turf to our customers every year - on time and on budget.
Managing the transport delivery arm of our Coolabah Turf enterprise is no small feat. In fact it’s an enormous role, with extremely high pressure and no room for error.
Lucky for us, this bloke is the ultimate perfectionist. He runs a finely oiled machine, overseeing transport logistics, compliance, load planning, turf deliveries, warehouse storage, truck maintenance safety, customer care and team performance.
The work that goes on behind the scenes by Steve and his team is nothing short of miraculous. Because of them, we receive constant feedback from our marketplace about how amazing our commitment to on-time delivery is.
It doesn’t matter whether the delivery is to a customer, landscaper or retailer based locally, or to clients based in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo or Shepparton - every one of our turf deliveries is made within a 10 minute window either side of the allocated delivery time. This blows us away every day.
While Steve’s world centres logistics and honouring customers promises for on-time delivery schedules, a primary focus of his attention is also truck maintenance safety. He’s been involved in transport his entire life and is the third generation of his family to work in the industry.
His philosophy around his work is simple.
“I don’t expect the drivers to do anything I haven’t done, or wouldn’t do,” he says.
“I like to lead by example. They know that if everyone’s had a big day, I’ll be down at the yard helping them load and being hands-on to get everything going. I always like to be in and amongst it – even if it’s just throwing a couple of straps, or pulling the curtain shut, and having a bit of a chat with the guys. I think that sits well with building a good group and a strong team morale.
“I also like to try and give all the drivers a call in the mornings on my drive over from Shepparton – that’s what I use my transit time for. They’ve usually left on a run at 3am, so I just call and have a chat to them for 10 minutes to make sure they’re okay and that their day is running fine. I think ultimately they appreciate that.
“We demand very professional operators at Coolabah Turf and we’re lucky to have the guys that we’ve got. No one here would get away with driving like a cowboy - that’s just not how we roll.”
Steve’s been with Coolabah Turf for two years now and prides himself on building the most time efficient and cost effective transport runs as possible.
He’s also meticulous about the presentation of equipment.
“I don’t like to see stuff dirty and not looked after. Our trucks are essentially a mobile billboard and I like to see them spotless driving down the road because it sets a good company image.
“We’re fortunate to have a team of blokes here who are fastidious with their stuff as well. Even despite the conditions we work in with dirt and mud and all the environmental aspects, the vast majority of the time the trucks leave the farm nice and clean each day. That’s just the expectation.”
Coolabah Turf’s fleet of temperature-controlled refrigeration trucks are a rare commodity in the turf industry, and not only maximise the shelf life of the turf, but ultimately ensure the turf is delivered in the absolute best condition possible.
“It’s just the extra step we take to ensure the quality of the end product for the user,” Steve says.
“In the summer, the harvest team fires up early to get the grass cut before it’s too hot and our guys know that as soon as the turf is on the trucks, they’re back in the shed, curtains closed, in the shade with the fridges running ready for delivery – that’s the number one priority.
“After rain events, we deal with pallets that are wet and heavy which has its own set of challenges around planning for runs based on weights. We work really closely with the farm harvest team to plan for all sorts of extremes.”
Steve loves his job (pressure and all) because it’s always evolving and no two days are ever the same.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of pressure at times, but you’ve got a strong team around you, and we’re all in the same boat working together,” he says.
“I always say to anyone looking for a job here, that there’s a reason I get out of bed every day and drive an hour each way to work from Shepparton.
“It’s because we’ve got a good group of people working here. It’s a huge motivating factor. We’ve got a workforce with 30 to 35 full-time staff, plus casuals depending on the season, and to have a group of people that size where overwhelmingly everyone gets along, I think that’s pretty unique.”