With a continuing need to modernise the fleet and to future-proof the supply of bulk quarry products and pre mix concrete, Craig Sargent’s family business, Tegra Australia, recently acquired their first DAF truck to facilitate their medium to heavy-duty market needs.
Craig Sargent, director of Tegra Australia, was first introduced to the transport world when his father John sold the FB Holden family Ute in 1964 to pay for his first truck.
Founding the family business meant 6-month-old Craig was pushed around town in a pram by his mother Barb for several months, until they could afford to buy another car.
When Craig reflects on the early stages of his life, he recalls a feeling of being safe and secure. “I actually rode in the front seat of a truck before I travelled in any seat of a car,” Craig laughs.
“In those days, the trucks had bench seats and I can remember plenty of times sitting on Dad’s lap, driving the truck. You would probably be in put jail for doing something like that today, but that sort of thing wasn’t uncommon in the 1960s.”
John established Sargent’s Transport working as a contract carrier for Humes Ltd Concrete Pipe manufacturers in Harden, New South Wales. By the time Craig was in high school, he was lending a hand to set up his family’s first concrete plant. Craig worked early mornings, batching concrete before school, allowing his father extra time to transport product to local customers.
Over the years the family business gradually acquired eight concrete plants, three quarries and a whole pile of equipment, which today collectively operates in the southern region of New South Wales, using a fleet of more than 40 trucks, stationed at head office in the township of Young.
Trading as Tegra Australia, today Craig steers the business with his younger brother Darren and their 85 knowledgeable staff. The company holds the largest supply of quarry products in southern New South Wales, delivering bulk loads and logistical needs to landscaping yards, construction sites, and essential community projects.
“We look after a lot of local charities,” Craig explains. “We’ve got one particular concrete truck where we donate two dollars for every cubic metre it moves to help with prostate cancer. We have a lot of men who work in this industry and we are all about health, safety and self-awareness.”
Apart from necessitating community relationships and running the business, Craig and his team at Tegra are frequently searching for new ways to modernise their operations.
Tegra has traditionally functioned with ‘all-American’ engine and driveline trucks. However, the PACCAR product range suited their diverse fleet of concrete agitators, tankers, B doubles, and truck and dog combinations, and in 2004 they made the switch to Kenworth for all heavy-duty applications.
A 13-year ongoing relationship with PACCAR helped Craig make a decision to replace one of the company’s short-haul bonneted trucks with a DAF cabover. In mid-2017, he purchased Tegra’s first DAF truck for their local tipper application. As Craig explains, it wasn’t a straightforward choice for him to make.
“I’m not a big fan of European trucks but I researched the cabover market extensively and went through all the European trucks, and the DAF CF85 stood out well.
“Apart from the fact it better suits the driver for site access, in terms of visibility and manoeuvrability, the DAF is just a better option for us in the medium to heavy-duty market. It has the flexibility to satisfy some of our high-end work as required. It’s incredibly modern and spec’d very well for our needs. I can see more of these fitting into the fleet.”
The FAT CF85 (510 Hp) operates around Cootamundra, Jugiong and Gundagai in southern New South Wales. Its primary role is short local deliveries, carting large rocks to construction and civil works sites. The substantial sized aggregate requires more pull power and potency. Consequently, the cabover was manufactured with a steel body for hauling larger quarry products.
“We were able to spec things quite heavily for a relatively small truck,” Craig says.
“Importantly, we were still able to spec it with some American driveline components that we were already comfortable with; the Road Ranger gearbox, Meritor differentials and Airglide suspension. So we were able to hold onto the little things without making a big wholesale change away from the American driveline. And that gave us a bit more security.”
A major focus for Tegra has been identifying factors that determine success. As such, they are engaged heavily with companies like PACCAR to help accelerate support and back-up service for their landscaping and construction industry customers. Craig sees this commitment as the glue that brings demand and supply together.
“I’ve been to the PACCAR factory in Melbourne as well as one of their factories in the United States and it gives you an idea of their sheer size and commitment to the industry. And having dealt with them over the past couple of decades, I knew going forward that the same ‘above and beyond’ back-up service would be on this truck – and that’s why we signed on the dotted line with the DAF.”
Another foundation of long-term business relationships is that both parties actively collaborate to understand shared goals and opportunities to deliver the best outcome. For example, according to Craig, PACCAR Financial understands the challenges transport companies face.
“It’s just a smooth and easy transaction with PACCAR Financial,” he says. “They are very accommodating with all the trucks we have purchased. They recognise the various body building processes and supplier fitments we have to go through before we actually use the truck.”
Inland Kenworth DAF Wagga Wagga sales representative, David Warren, says the strength and stability of PACCAR Australia was pivotal in Tegra’s purchase of the DAF product.
“Tegra Australia has been a staunch supporter of the Kenworth product since day one,” David said. “Importantly, Craig has seen the quality of service and support PACCAR offer and he truly believes in supporting local companies.”
Craig argues that it made perfect sense to extend the strong and transparent relationship with PACCAR across more of their suite of products and services.
“With the DAF purchase, we financed the whole package through PACCAR Financial. Their reps are easy to talk to and they are very knowledgeable about their product. And that safeguards the future for us and secures our aspirations.”
To realise these aspirations, Craig has never lost sight of the original values of the family business. Recalling that little boy sitting on his father’s knee in the truck, Craig now appreciates his responsibility to maintain a viable company that provides security and safety for all that work in it.
“We stay focused on what we have to do and treating people how you would like to be treated. I value that greatly for all of our stakeholders because we have a lot of families and children that we need to feed each night, and a lot of people go off to work each day and I have to make sure they all come home.”
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a range of medium and heavy-duty trucks across the country. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, truck leasing and rental services and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.