Lonsdale Transport services Couriers is a courier company that has been operating in Queensland for the last 15 years. Their primary business function is delivering medium- to large-sized packages across metropolitan Queensland(QLD) (Brisbane). The business has a good reputation in the marketplace for reliability and value for money.
After a slow start entering the competitive delivery market, Lonsdale Transport services has built a solid reputation over the past 12 years, and this has been reflected in their growth and profit margins.
Lonsdale Transport services primarily targets small- to medium-sized business which make up 80% of their customer base. They are limited by their geographic location, as they currently do not deliver outside of the metropolitan area.
The company has been marketed through direct sales, telephone, internet listings and mail-outs. Through a program of telephone follow-up to ensure customers’ ongoing satisfaction with the business, Lonsdale Transport services has an admirable 87% retention rate for existing customers.
Although sales and profits have increased each year by an average of 5%, the owners are looking to move forward by delivering to regional areas in QLD.
The organisation is family owned, with three family members acting as a management board and responsible for approving all business decisions.
- Managing Director – responsible for daily operational management decisions.
- Logistics Manager – responsible for the scheduling of the trucks and drivers.
- 20 truck drivers.
- five office support employees – responsible for administration, accounts, human resources and sales.
Strategic plan goals
The organisation’s strategic goal is to grow the business and increase business profits over the next three years by expanding delivery routes to include regional QLD.
Operational plan goals
Lonsdale Transport services will:
- commence deliveries to regional QLD within 12 months
- increase sales by 40% in the next three years.
The owners of the business are not risk takers. They are aware that their ongoing success is the result of a small, experienced team, close personal ties with clients and a reputation for reliable, low-cost service. Moving forward, their vision for the company is to retain those strengths and core values through any expansion process.
The strategic and operational plans were developed as a result of external market research, indicating a shortage of delivery organisations providing services to regional QLD towns. Lonsdale Transport services Couriers were looking for their next growth opportunity and saw that this was an ideal opportunity to be seized upon.
It was also felt that the company was now sufficiently stable and experienced, and in a financial position to expand the business without risk to their current financial stability or reputation.
Reports from the Sales Manager indicated that contracts have been lost because some clients want to engage a courier who can deliver to their regional offices. Lonsdale Transport services is currently unable to meet this demand and therefore some potential clients have been lost. This became a motive to expand operations for both financial and customer service reasons.
Lonsdale Transport services Couriers currently allocates two drivers per truck to ensure that drivers are able to load and unload heavy packages. The strategy going forward is to remove the need for two drivers per truck by installing an automatic lift gate on the back of each truck, at a cost of $10,000 per truck. This will mean that only one driver is needed per truck, as no heavy lifting will be required.
This will allow Lonsdale Transport services Couriers to purchase 10 new trucks and use the existing drivers for regional routes. Each new truck will cost $60,000 (including installation of an automatic lift gate). The money to purchase the trucks will be borrowed from the bank on a business loan.
|Current sales||Estimated sales (yr 1)|
|$17 million||$22 million|
|Annual net profit|
|Current net profit||Estimated net profit|
|$1.9 million||$3.2 million|
|Loan repayments||Operating costs (fuel, servicing, etc.)|
|+$200,000 per annum||+$2.2 million|
|Administrative costs||Labour costs|
The company communicates with employees via email for head office employees, and a printed monthly newsletter for drivers. The company provides information regarding policies and procedures through employee manuals that are kept in each truck. Office-based staff can access copies of these manuals in the office.
All trucks are fitted with a GPS system to assist drivers in navigating to each pick-up and drop-off location. Trucks are also assigned a PDA that provides drivers with the details of each delivery, and records when a job starts and finishes. The data from this device is sent back to head office to complete productivity reporting. When this device was introduced, drivers were not happy as they felt it meant that the organisation did not trust them to manually record the time spent on each job. Many drivers also resented having to learn how to use the device and thought it was a waste of time.
Head office employees work very closely together as a coherent and motivated team. They are generally positive about the organisational direction and respond well to change.
Drivers are currently happy with the work environment, as they enjoy working as part of a two-person team. The Logistics Manager typically leaves the drivers alone to do their job as this is what seems to make them happy. In the past, supervisors and HR have tried to encourage drivers to participate in organisational activities, but this was not well received – the drivers complained and asked not to be involved. The drivers’ view is that their team is the two-person driver team, and they seem to like the comforts of that working environment.
Drivers are typically negative about change. They have, in the past, done their best to block any changes from being implemented, even going to the lengths of threatening strike action and getting the union involved to assist in resolving the issue.
Summary of current employee populations
Head office employees:
- covered under individual contracts
- salary range $32,000–75,000 per annum
- small team of mainly male employees, with a wide range of ages
- many opportunities to participate in learning and development programs due to management support; however, have shown little interest
- high employee engagement scores, citing teamwork and opportunities have contributed to the company’s success as real motivators.
- covered by an award
- salary $45,000 per annum
- heavily unionised
- employee demographics are all male employees, aged 25–65.
- few opportunities to participate in learning and development programs due to being on the road; however, have shown very little to no interest
- large number of workplace injuries due to heavy lifting
- low employee engagement scores, citing pay as an issue
- currently experiencing low turnover
- history of industrial disputes regarding pay and other change initiatives