Waste Management Review looks at Vaclift’s secret to success as the company reaches its 50th year in business.
In 1968, Industrial Containers filled a need in the market and provided skip bins for a growing industry. In the early 70s, it also began building vacuum tankers powered by milking machine pumps.
The company has come a long way since its early days, changing its name to Vaclift, improving upon their vacuum tanker design, and moving their focus to providing purpose built and reliable machines for the waste industry.
Jon Pamment, Managing Director of Vaclift, is the second generation of the family business which has lasted 50 years and expanded across Australia. He says the company’s values of honesty, humility and services have been critical to maintaining customer relationships over the past five decades.
“Our survival through all the ups and downs is due to our customer relationships. We work hard to maintain existing customers, with some working with us for more than 30 years. Our growth based on referrals is solid, so we are doing something right when our customers recommend us,” he says.
“We strive to treat our customers the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
“Whether they are an owner operator, run 10 trucks in a fleet or are a multinational company, it doesn’t matter – what they want is what you would want.”
Jon says Vaclift’s team of experienced engineers and designers helps create solutions for their client’s challenges.
“We create solutions that suit the Australian environment and regulations. We first strive to understand what our clients want to do and design to meet those needs and regulatory requirements,” he says.
“Further, when something goes astray, we are here with the expertise to get it right quickly.”
He explains that technical support, after-sale support, parts and servicing are paramount to ensuring Vaclift’s customers are provided with high-quality service.
“We understand the cost of downtime, which is why we ensure we have virtually every part in stock all the time,” Jon says.
“Our clients make a living out of the products we provide. If we can’t get it back on the road quickly, we’ve failed. Because we have designed, manufactured and installed the systems, we understand them intimately.”
Keeping things simple is the key to a reliable product according to Jon, who says the challenge comes from meeting modern safety standards without losing that simplicity and reliability.
“When we first manufactured vacuum tanks in the 70s they were a vessel, a milking machine pump and a side swing door with ‘G’ clamp locks. They took 10 to 15 minutes to create a vacuum,” Jon explains.
“Today, the tanks are ready to vacuum load or pressure discharge in one minute, they tip, and the doors use automated hydraulics with robust safety interlocking.”
Vaclift has been the distributor of Italian BoB Hooklifts for more than 20 years and has sold more than 550 across the Australian market.
Jon says Vaclift has provided BoB with feedback for the Australian market, which has led to the creation of a new hooklift, the BoB ITK multihook height machine.
“For a long time, the lack of an Australian standard has resulted in a minefield of bin designs with differing hook heights and rail widths. We now have a hooklift that can accept a wide range of sizes and shapes with no operator input,” Jon says.
The new BoB hooklifts can handle rail widths from 860 inside to 1180 outside millimetres and features a lifting hook that can safely work with 1430 to 1610 millimetre hook heights.
“All that needs to be done is line the bin up, pick it up and dump it. It’s safe and easy, with nothing to adjust or adapt, all with BoB’s robust hydraulic interlocking,” he says.
Vaclift is able to manufacture tankers from 2000 litres to more than 26,000 litres with tankers available to suit skid bases, hooklift bases, rigid trucks, semi-trailers and B-doubles. Jon says all can be developed to custom specification and with performance-based standards certification.
He says Vaclift is able to provide products that are fit for purpose, durable and easy to use with a range of possibilities.
Vaclift is able to help customise tankers with features including remote control systems, retracting bumpers, LED clearance lights, sludge pumps, water tanks, work lights and rear mounted cameras and more.
Jon says this flexibility shows how Vaclift strives to maintain the same level of understanding and cooperation in the industry to provide dependability.
“No matter who the customer is, they all want and deserve the same thing: great designs, great prices and great service.”