Australia, Cranes & Lifting, Features, Industry News, West Australia

Ashburton Crane Hire’s service reigns supreme

Ashburton Crane Hire's service reigns supreme, according to Director Guy Black.

Growing up in the cranes and lifting industry, Guy Black decided to create his own destiny in 2005 with Ashburton Crane Hire. He goes into depth about his company’s history, the expanded services it offers, and what sets Ashburton Crane Hire apart from its competitors.

Servicing the crane industry is part of Guy Black’s DNA.

Guy is a second-generation crane business owner; in 1989, his father Bill Black founded Onslow Crane Hire Services in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. From the outset, cranes and transport played a central, formative part to his life.

Commencing his career with his father and later moving to various projects in the mining and construction industries in Australia and New Zealand as a crane operator, Guy and his partner Tenille decided to start their own crane business in Perth in 2005. 

“I’m very passionate about the crane industry,” he says, “and I recognised the potential for an experienced crane service provider to enter WA’s crane market. So, we took a loan out against our home, purchased our first crane, and ventured into business ownership from there.”

Established in 2005 by Guy and Tenille, Ashburton Crane Hire’s (ACH) path to the position it finds itself in now was not always so simple. Starting its operations with a 20-tonne Franna and a door-knocking approach, Guy admits that things were “difficult” from the outset. 

“At the start, we didn’t have any work – not one client,” says Guy. “But we kept on persisting, we kept on doing the right thing by people, and we kept on providing an honest, hardworking service.”

“We did it the hard way, but I believe it was the best way to do it,” he continues. “Not having everything handed to you keeps you grounded and humble and makes the taste of success sweeter.”

Today, ACH employs over 50 people in Western Australia across two depots in Perth and Port Hedland. The company prides itself on its 100 per cent employee retention rate, with operators and dogmen who joined the company back in 2005 still working at ACH today. 

Additionally, it has built up its fleet size from one 20-tonne Franna pick & carry crane to over 30 cranes, plus a large transport division consisting of ten prime movers and over 50 pieces of trailing gear. With its smallest machine available being a 12-tonne Kato city crane, ACH’s fleet also possesses 25-tonne and 40-tonne Franna cranes, a variety of all-terrain cranes, and its flagship machine: a 300-tonne Demag mobile all-terrain crane.

Ashburton Crane Hire's service reigns supreme, according to Director Guy Black.
Part of Ashburton Crane Hire’s repertoire is completing shutdown work on mining sites in rural, isolated areas, such as the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.

ACH services multiple industries across Western Australia wherever cranes and heavy haulage logistics support are needed. Completing projects in the oil  and gas, mining, construction, marine and civil engineering industries, the company’s reach extends across Western Australia with their Northwest depot in Port Hedland servicing Karratha, Onslow, Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Newman and surrounding areas. Its Southwest depot is responsible for servicing the Perth metro area and other surrounding regions.

One of the challenges of operating in Western Australia is its remoteness. For the team at ACH, however, that challenge is their strength; with its facility in Port Hedland, the company is equipped to serve even the most remote customers. 

“It’s very isolated in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions; we are more than happy to drive those 500-800-kilometres to service the surrounding areas,” says Guy. “Clients who know we’re capable of making these trips love our service; they know we’re constantly on hand to provide back-up for their business 24/7.” 

“We’ve consistently shown through our work that we’re happy to operate in any place that our customer needs us,” says Guy. “Now, we’re starting to reap the rewards of our hard work by being awarded a series of major maintenance and construction projects for lithium and iron ore projects in the Pilbara, and infrastructure in the Perth metro.”

Additionally, ACH recently formed a joint venture partnership with a local Nyamal Aboriginal Traditional Owner Company, with Guy saying the company is “proud and excited” to make such an announcement.

“I was brought up in the Pilbara, growing up in Carnarvon, Telfer, Roeburne, Karratha and Onslow, and am very proud to have a close association with the people and the country up here,” he says. “We have local Indigenous team members, and using local labour is our first priority when it comes to staffing.”

“Our management live up there in the community; they’re not FIFO workers, and they’re well immersed in the local environment. These guys really understand the challenges it presents and how to find the best solutions to the problems presented,” he continues. “Our local team aside, our dogmen, crane operators and truck drivers work on a rotating roster of two weeks on, one week off, FIFO from Perth. We fly permanent staff members from Brisbane and Sydney to complete our staffing requirements across our maintenance, project and adhoc works.”

Getting staffing right is imperative to running a successful business for Guy and Tenille. As Guy highlights, a crane is a crane, and a truck is a truck; what sets a company apart from others is its people and the attitudes that are fostered and nurtured to deliver good service.

Ashburton Crane Hire's service reigns supreme, according to Director Guy Black.
ACH has been awarded a series of major contracts recently thanks to the level of accessibility it provides across multiple regions.

“When we’re hiring, we look for a good attitude and honesty,” he says. “We want people who, when they walk through our doors for a day at work, are ready to go out of their way to do the little things that ensure our clients are happy.”

Hiring based on attitude is only half of the job though, as Guy says. The other aspect is creating an environment where people are respected and enjoy coming to work. Hosting regular barbecues and providing complete flexibility for whatever the personal lives of its workers demand, Guy is insistent on creating a “family-like” environment at ACH.

“We respect – and do our best to retain – very honest, hardworking, down to earth people, because that’s the culture that we want here,” he says. “There are people who are still working here from when we started the business; we want to retain our staff for as long as possible and give them ultimate longevity in their careers here.”

After all, as is the motto and a highly repeated phrase internally: “service is what sets us apart,” according to Guy.  

“At the end of the day, we’re a crane and transport service,” says Guy. “But, we go to the ends of the earth for our clients, and we know we’ve got great people to back us up.” 

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