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Vawdrey Australia builds success from innovation

13 March, 2006

Truck body and semi-trailer manufacturer Vawdrey Australia is entering its third decade of growth in the rare position of still retaining many of its original customers.

BlueScope Steel Australia

The company logo is a familiar sight on Australia's roads, with the Vawdrey production tally passing more than 25,000 truck bodies and semi trailers, and accelerating.

Vawdrey Australia's retention of many of its original customers is by no means a reflection of low competition in its industry. In fact competition is fierce, particularly from competitors who have merged with or bought out competitors.

"My father started this business with the single minded attitude that he would never compromise on quality," Paul Vawdrey, the company's national sales manager said. "We've adopted the slogan 'At Vawdrey quality doesn't cost', and that drives the way we design and build."

Vawdrey's commitment to quality was underlined in 2002 when it partnered Kangan Batman TAFE to open a Training Centre for the development of new apprentices. The school caters for up to 20 students. Their contribution will ensure Vawdrey's quality and standard is maintained into the future.

Careful selection of materials is at the heart of Vawdrey's success. Company founder and chief executive Mick Vawdrey originally trained as a plumber and has worked with metal all his life. He has a hands on role in all design activities and points to the use of XLERPLATE® steel as just one example of the company's attention to detail.

"Weight and strength are two characteristics which receive maximum attention in all our products," he said. "This applies to Titeliner (curtainsider) models from rigid body, dog and pig trailers through to semi-trailer configurations in flat deck, drop deck, single, B double and triple trailer combinations.

"We aim to provide units which will give the maximum carrying capacity while not sacrificing durability. Using quality materials such as BlueScope Steel's XLERPLATE® steel supplied through OneSteel gives us the confidence to stand behind our products way beyond what any usual warranty would require.

"We build units which will give our customers maximum flexibility in their businesses," he said. "One day a truck may be carrying a load of pillows and the next day it might be carrying a load of liquor. Whatever the load, they are dealing with Australia's tough road conditions," Mick Vawdrey said.

"It's not unusual for one of our truck bodies or semi-trailer units to outlast three or more prime movers. To achieve that we just can't afford to compromise on quality."

Sales Manager Paul Vawdrey said that the use of Australian materials such as XLERPLATE® steel made sense for the family owned business which operates from 40,000 square metre premises on the South Gippsland Highway at Dandenong South.

"We don't just build standard designs, we also build to special order," he said. "We also regularly have customers tour our manufacturing plant so that they can be confident about the workmanship and materials which go into their truck bodies.

"The Vawdrey name is synonymous with high quality and durability. We build these essentials into every one of our trailers and rigid truck bodies using the most advanced technology and equipment available."

Paul Vawdrey said the company is proud of the part it has played in the evolution of Australia's semi-trailer manufacturing industry, proud of its reputation as a manufacturer and will continue to add to its long list of firsts in design changes, testing methods and technological advances through innovation.

"We are in the business of continual innovation and product development," he said. "We have the experience and technical resources to be able to develop a product that exactly meets customer demands."

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