01/12/2017 - 15:14

Sadleirs chief investing for growth

01/12/2017 - 15:14

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Two years into his job as Sadleirs Logistics chief executive, Ian Kent is preparing the family owned business for increased national growth after overseeing major changes to its local operations.

Sadleirs chief investing for growth
Ian Kent says Sadleirs is one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Two years into his job as Sadleirs Logistics chief executive, Ian Kent is preparing the family owned business for increased national growth after overseeing major changes to its local operations.

The current change program includes a big investment in the company’s IT systems, and is likely to be followed by a progressive redevelopment of its extensive property holdings at Kewdale.

This follows the sale last year of its north-west-focused road transport division to Toll Group.

Mr Kent said Sadleirs, Toll, Centurion and K&S Corporation were all competing in the same market segment, and none were making  good money.

The sale cut about 35 people off Sadleirs’ payroll, which stands at 370, and reduced annual revenue by about $40 million.

On the growth front, Sadleirs has moved to full ownership of its Country Carriers business.

Mr Kent said annual turnover fell to less than $200 million last year after the north-west sale and the slowdown in volumes as major customer Chevron completed its construction projects.

Turnover was heading back to $220 million this year, with much of the growth coming from the east coast.

“We were too WA-centric,” Mr Kent told Business News.

Sadleirs’ growth had been helped by Aurizon’s exit from the intermodal market and the recruiting of a new business development team.

“We were one of the industry’s best-kept secrets,” Mr Kent said.

“A lot of our existing customers didn’t know the scope of our business.”

He said the national growth meant its east coast depots were under some pressure, while in WA it was going through a design phase to achieve better utilisation of its 30-hectare depot at Kewdale.

While a partial property sale was one option, Mr Kent suspected the owners of the business – eighth generation family company Lionel Samson Sadleirs – would prefer to retain the property holdings.

The Samson family’s links to the operations of the business are being sustained by Tom Wisdom, who is a director and taking a lead role on the property review and a big IT roll-out.

Sadleirs is set to become the first transport company in Australia to implement a fully integrated Oracle Cloud solution, in collaboration with IT specialist PrimeQ.

Mr Kent said Sadleirs spent a lot of time seeking a solution that would suit its diverse operations, which encompass rail, road, sea and air freight delivery, a global forwarding and customs services division, industrial packaging supplies and warehousing.

“We have many disparate legacy systems in the business and historically this has restricted our ability to grow,” he said.

“We are now seeking to streamline and enhance our customer experience and have engaged PrimeQ to provide a ‘best in breed’ Oracle solution.”

PrimeQ chief executive Andrew McAdams said the logistics industry in Australia was characterised by older information technology.

“By replacing its legacy system with a cloud-based solution, Sadleirs will benefit from lower capital costs and rapid implementation times as well as greater delivery efficiencies,” he said.

PrimeQ was established in 2016 and employs 110 people across Australia and New Zealand, including eight in WA.

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