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Celebrating 50 Years at Gough TWL

In 2016 Gough TWL will celebrate 50 years as a partner to New Zealand road transport. National Manager Mike Brears offers some thoughts on the past, present & future …

In classic Kiwi style the company began trading in the original owner's private garage in 1960s Dunedin. Les Cleveland was a visionary man and steadily built a business focused on the smart importation of product and developing a knowledgeable and passionate team to support the transport operators at the heart of the industry.

Today the company has grown to be the countrys most accessible with a 19 branch support network, a 36 strong infield support team and over 105 staff. With sister-company Gough Transpecs a team of 8 brake specialists also provide a major asset to local industry from Cape Reinga to the Bluff.

Both TWL and Transpecs became members of the Gough Group in 1992 - also a NZ privately owned family business. The Gough Group are the leading value-added solutions provider to the infrastructure, mining, forestry, transport and power system industries.

Our teams throughout the country remain as integral today as they did in the 1960s.

We strive to become an extension of our customers operation. Understanding their business down to the running gear on their fleet ensures we're able to respond rapidly with tailored local parts & service with the aim of keeping their business moving.

What we are really talking about here are partnerships. There are very clear expectations placed upon us, and our local and national teams are always striving to exceed customer expectations. If we get it wrong we will certainly hear about it. Having said that we will put it right and we will learn, that is our tradition.

Our branch teams have huge pride in customer satisfaction & have really driven the progress of the company over the years. This positive culture has really driven our growth at a grass roots level - that is good as that is where it all happens & where the productivity is.

It's not always so serious though.

We operate in a great industry and there's always occasion for a yarn and a laugh. Many people enter the transport industry and find it has a great heart and build their entire careers in it and then we see the successive generations - which speaks of an industry with family at its centre.

Historically TWL was also born as a family business and remains so today. So this sense of community and family is a real drawcard & very grounding for many in our team.

To do our job right our product range is intrinsically linked to our local customers.

Gough TWL's specialist parts & equipment product categories include heavy truck and trailer, light trailer, transport & safety equipment, electrical, lubrication and filtration products.

These products are essential maintenance items, stocked locally to our customer's requirements and are supported throughout the company with exceptional product knowledge to ensure our service is world class.

The strength of our local teams is enhanced by our total national coverage meaning we can quickly respond to a requirement for that more obscure part or get access to the knowledge we or our customer requires.

A major focus for TWL is the ongoing aftermarket support of the company's major transport agency lines.

While sister company Transpecs' focuses steadfastly on supporting trailer OEMs with the technical integration of major transport agency lines into new trailer equipment, TWL is a key part of the aftermarket value chain along with other independent parts & service partners.

Such key agency lines include SAF, Wabco, Alcoa, Edbro, Ringfeder and Holland. All have achieved iconic status in the NZ market over the past half century and continue to drive industry innovation and development.

We're absolutely committed to these brands. Our relationship with companies like SAF-Holland, Alcoa and Wabco are part of our lifeblood and mirrors the status of the Caterpillar, Hyster and Palfinger dealerships in our wider family business.

Building on its specialist products, Gough TWL offers an extended range of accessory & workshop items with the intention of providing one-stop solutions for today's commercial transport workshops.

A major asset to our customers is our Brake Consultancy Services team.

Our brake team is a key area where we can offer customer's major added value. While a fundamental of their role is brake certification & compliance, they are also an advisory resource second-to-none in terms of enhancing vehicle & operational performance. The technology available to operators today in conjunction with the brake team's knowledge is the catalyst for cost-savings, profit improvement, legislative compliance and increased safety on multiple levels.

Many fleet operators can point to a time when a brake team member has got a unit out on the road after successfully trouble-shooting a problem for them. These guys go the extra mile travelling big distances to provide this kind of support.

Our brake team, like our branch network, is situated throughout the country - once again providing an excellent local resource.

As TWL moves beyond its 50th birthday the focus remains on local customers.

We should never be confused about what our job is and what our partners want from us. That is a taken.

What we do need to do is to continue to build and nurture our people and continually enhance the experience customers have when they deal with us. This always involves a great deal of listening and obviously asking some questions. We also want to show leadership and try new things.

We're a part of a much larger team today as opposed to the 1960s. We will be building on our standards and ensuring the full value of the Gough Group is available to our customers - they are at the centre of everything we do.

Thank you to all those who have contributed to our first fifty years and we look forward to building on our partnerships for the road ahead.

All the best, Mike.