Kenworth DAF Adelaide
100 Port Wakefield Road, Cavan, SA, 5094
Phone: (08) 8139 4000
Fax: (08) 8244 3919
Kenworth DAF Riverland
Cnr. Hughes Street & Jellett Road, Berri, SA, 5343
Phone: (08) 8582 2944
Fax: (08) 8582 1399
473 Burton Road, Burton, SA, 5110
Phone: (08) 8280 6600
Kenworth DAF Adelaide > Rags to Riches - Craig Arthur
It all started for Craig with the family business about 30 years ago, back when Craig's grandmother was cleaning the South Australian Commercial Motor Vehicle Group (CMV) head offices in Flinders Street. While his father, Trevor was taking care of the truck detailing at CMV's South Road dealership.
When CMV moved part of its dealership out to Gepps Cross, his Dad made the shift as well, taking on the detailing and pre-delivery work for CMV's bus division.
"He could see the potential within the CMV Group," Craig said of his father's long association with the family company. "They were his only client and, over time, he based his business out of CMV Truck Sales' Regency Park dealership.
"Craig joined the family enterprise in 1983, helping his father detail and refurbish CMV's new and Craig joined with his mother, Marilyn to take over the reins.
A year later and the country was in the grip of a severe recession. Economic activity had plunged to its lowest level in 50 years, with the road transport industry particularly hard hit. Not really the ideal moment to set up a new business, but with fewer new trucks to pre-deliver, Craig decided that now was as good a time as any to set up his own enterprise.
The first step was to expand his detailing business. "We started painting trucks," Craig said of his company, Craig Arthur Pty Ltd's difficult start. "A couple of years later, we won the contract to deliver ‘V' drinks."
"Craig put four brightly painted trucks into urban delivery around Adelaide, while using long haul subcontractors to bring the soft drink in from Melbourne. In 2003, he added a Kenworth K104 to his interstate freight.
The company had now expanded into two divisions, – truck detailing, body repairs and paint finishing and the transport logistics division. Each Craig's trucks advertising his truck detailing business with their bright red livery.
When Craig's son, Jesse started motor racing, the fleet adopted the same blue and red colour scheme as Jesse's racecar.
Likewise, when his daughter, Tamara began driving a racecar he painted a number of the company trucks purple and pink similar to her car.
While there may be some contest over which truck gets what colour scheme, in more recent times there's been no debate over what brand gets to wear those colours. . . Kenworth.
Recent expansion plans have included the addition of two T609s, four K200s and a T409. One of the K200s has been painted in Craig's regular blue and red colour scheme, while the other has been painted in Tamara's purple and pink.
The T609s are based on the east coast, one in Brisbane and the other in Sydney. Both rarely get to Adelaide, so Craig has only seen them a couple of times since they went into service.
"One did 40,000kms in two months and during and just one other time! They're both going very well; the drivers love them. They're very comfortable and ride exceptionally well.
"There's a one-truck/one driver policy for the majority of Craig's fleet, however there are four day cabs, which are double shifted during the day with change-overs at night.
The new T409 is one of the day-cabs in the fleet and is based in Melbourne, replacing a K-Series cab-over, which is now working out of the company's Adelaide depot.
"That's the beauty of a Kenworth," Craig said of his fleet. "You can run them 24 hours a day – you can only do that with a Kenworth and not worry about breakdowns. It's all about getting maximum utilisation from your investment.
"Familiarity with other brands has proven not only Kenworth's reliable performance, but also their lower day-to-day operating costs and higher resale.
"I keep the majority of my trucks for five years," Craig explained. "In that time almost all trucks will have paid for themselves. But it's whatever you get for it when it leaves the fleet that's yours – that's the bottom line.
"Having pulled Kenworth's apart to repaint and refurbish them long before he ever thought of owning one, Craig knows Kenworths inside and out. As well, he knows how most other brands have been put together too.
"There's no comparison," he says bluntly. "The wiring loom, and all the bits and pieces you don't think about – that's the difference.
They are the little things that can make or break it. The Kenworths are so much better and I don't have to worry about cracks or leaks. Now that I'm not just polishing but operating them as well, they've lived up to my expectations . . . absolutely, without question."
"After using other products, I have a great respect for the Kenworth brand."
Craig's trucks run regular schedules out of Adelaide to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The mighty C-Series was added to the fleet to pull triples to Darwin, and today is working a regular road train operation to Brisbane.
"It's a good looking truck," Craig said of his C-Series. "It's a bit heavy for the Brisbane run, but one thing's for sure . . . it won't wear out in a hurry!.
"Operating K-Series for the past eight years meant that Craig was vitally interested when Kenworth announced the development of the next generation of its versatile cab-over. He hasn't been disappointed and the new K200 is living up to its high expectations.
"The flat floor and the driving environment gives the operator more room both when driving and when they hop in the bunk," he said of the K200.
Today, there are ten K-Series cab-overs, three T-4 SARs, two T609s, the T409 and the C508 in Craig's fleet. Routine maintenance is done in-house with Craig's son, Jesse a diesel mechanic working in the workshop.
"These new generation three engines seem to be the best yet," Craig said of the ADR compliant Cummins diesels. "The particle filters are a good thing, not only for the environment, but the reduction in cab noise is excellent. Kenworth are continually improving the drivers' environment and today that's critical . . . the K200 is a positive move forward!"
The progression from detailing hasn't changed his affiliation with the CMV Group. Craig's long association with CMV continues and details the group's trucks.
"It works well. I deal with Jarrod Dawson at CMV and I respect and value their business and know they value mine. Both businesses work very closely and we know what each other expects," explains Craig.
"It's great to have such a longstanding association."
It's an association that has reinforced Craig's belief that service is more than just a word printed in a company brochure.
Moreover, customers appreciate and remember a job well done. He backs that up with a tidy, well-presented fleet that stands out in a crowd.
Craig's trucks are delivered out of Kenworth's Bayswater factory with red cabs and blue bonnets; his paint shop applies the blue squares and silver edging detail that finish them off. That is if they're not getting the ‘Tamara Racing Pink' colour scheme.
Having spent most of his life working on or being around Kenworths, Craig says he admires not just their dependable engineering, but also their strong, purposeful looks.
However, while he prefers his Kenworths to look the part, he has never been a big fan of fitting extra lights – believing trucks and trailers with an over abundance of lights only serve to draw extra (unwanted) attention to themselves. "Then there are also the fines associated with not having all the lights working."
"Presentation is very important," he emphasised. "Your customers can judge your whole operation by the first impression you make when your truck arrives in their yard. It's something that shouldn't be underestimated.
"For a bloke who kicked off his business in some of Australia's toughest economic conditions, Craig says he only sees a positive future for road transport. Believing that adversity and challenge are standard operating procedures for most truck operators, "it's how you look at and deal with the issues that determine the outcome. "
"Kenworth is a central factor in both operations. It is a great association. I take pride in operating my Kenworths and am proud of the way we present trucks for CMV.
"Hard work creates its own opportunities and over the past 30-years Craig has put in the hours and taken every opportunity that has come his way.
Supported by his wife, Jo-Ann, who manages the accounting and office side of the business, together they have built an organisation that employs 65 people dedicated to supplying the highest standard of professional service possible.Back to News & Events