Refrigerated van gives celery specialist competitive edge
RUNNING a competitive fresh produce business demands superior quality, greater efficiency, enhanced safety and, most importantly, reliable refrigerated transportation. For Schreurs & Sons, the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Side Refrigerated Van delivers on all fronts.
Schreurs & Sons is a third-generation farming business that is 100 per cent Australian family-owned and operated, specialising in celery, leek and baby leaf lines (including spinach, rocket and snow pea tendrils). With seven properties, spanning in total over 1,000 acres, it is one of the largest suppliers of celery in Australia, and also serves international markets.
Chris Schreurs – Director of Business & Commercial Operations – takes pride in delivering high quality products to customers all year-round. His fleet transports fresh produce in Victoria, primarily between the business’ farm growing regions and the Melbourne wholesale market.
For Schreurs & Sons two of its biggest challenges are operational efficiency and load security.
“As we don’t have loading docks on any of our farms, we need an efficient and safe solution that not only maintains the integrity of the produce (particularly on warm days), but also achieves minimal turnaround time between locations,” Chris said – adding he was recommended to invest in MaxiTRANS’ refrigerated transport equipment.
“Maxi-CUBE came highly recommended to us by our interstate freight partners, Consolidated Freight, and when we compared a Slide-a-Side to other equivalent options available, we believed Maxi-CUBE provided the best solution for our needs. MaxiTRANS’ willingness to work with us to ensure we obtained the most efficient set-up and best use of the Slide-a-Side design was a great contributing factor.”
Chris said the design process involved working through various door configurations that could deliver the most efficient results. “We believe the time spent on this task was well worthwhile as we are now benefiting from that final design,” he said. “Another special specification we added was a stainless steel floor. As our finished produce can come out of the fields quite wet, we went for a more durable floor to prevent rust settling in as we’ve experienced in the past with other trailers.”
As for productivity, the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Side certainly pays off Chris comments.
“Moving from curtains where we would have to strap down the load, this process is now taking less than half the time with a Slide-a-Side,” he said. “In addition, we elected to purchase a B-double set, which now takes our round trips from our main growing region in Tarwin, Victoria to our production facility in Clyde, from an average of three trips a day into two.”
With the load restraint characteristics of a rigid wall van, Chris said the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-side is advantageous because the operator is not required to strap down the entire load when fully loaded.
“This time saving ensures our produce returns to the production facility in a timelier manner, enabling us to get it packed and pre-cooled ready for effective and efficient distribution.”
Chris rates the thermal efficiency of the insulated roof, front wall, side walls and doors quite highly.
“With the fridges up and running over last summer, we were very surprised with how well the thermal insulation worked on the Slide-a-Side,” he said. “It has exceeded our expectations in maintaining temperature control. So, they have done an excellent job there.”
The Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Side’s sliding doors, according to Chris, are an important feature. “They are designed well and work with minimal effort, which is naturally saving time, stress and strain on the operator. This in turn is also a great OH&S outcome.”
“The reliability of the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Slide is excellent,” he said. “Keeping up with the maintenance and the scheduled servicing, we haven’t had any issues that have caused any concerns whatsoever.”
MaxiTRANS also provides its customers with access to a comprehensive nationwide service network. Chris says they are great to work with.
“Of course, it is worthwhile using MaxiTRANS’ network to service our trailers; they know the ins-and-outs of their gear, provide some great advice and to top it off, they have a good warranty coverage that provides an extra level of comfort and support.”
Overall, dealing with MaxiTRANS is a very smooth process for Chris.
“I felt it wasn’t about a quick sale with them, but really more about finding the best solution to cater for our needs,” he said.
“The process of final design was very thorough and their guidance throughout the whole process and willingness to understand the needs of our business was a great experience.”