How a small family business became a thriving brand
IT'S one of the biggest and most iconic businesses in the region, but Wickhams Freight Lines is still somewhat of an enigma to many.
Nestled away in the industrial estate, the long-standing business is most recognisable by it's distinctive red and white trucks often travelling our roads.
The thriving brand has grown from a small business transporting its own produce in 1992 to a company that has business across Australia.
Joining in the early days, current director Darren Eather was a driving force behind the company's expansion.
"Straight away we wanted to grow from being just a family business in a small town,” he said.
"Transforming into a more structured business was a bit of a struggle, employing more people and delegating responsibilities away from the family.
"Things have progressed over 20 years, we're still a family company running over three generations and our employees are just like family as well.”
The transport company has about 400 local employees and depots in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
"I don't think too many people in the local community know too much about us, because they can't see what we do every day on a large scale,” Mr Eather said.
Warwick's business community will certainly know the operation of Wickham Freight Lines after it was awarded Business of the Year at Saturday's Business Excellence Awards.
It was the first time the company entered the awards and it also took home the award in Retail, Wholesale and Distribution.
"We don't celebrate too many milestones, so entering this year was to gain a bit of recognition for our employees,” Mr Eather said.
Over the decades the company has grown from operating with 10 trucks to now having more than 100 on the roads.
"The transport industry is also growing and to keep up we need good, experienced people,” Mr Eather said.
"We are very lucky we have a great team of people now, but will need a lot more in the future.”
Mr Eather said one of the biggest changes to the industry came with the requirement to adapt to the digital age.
"Technology changes in the office and in the trucks has made the industry a lot safer,” he said.
"We have real time monitoring, better and safer trucks, with an emphasis on driver fatigue management and engine emission controls.”
One of the highlights of Mr Eather's jobs is working with some of the most respected companies in Australia and being trusted with their freight everyday.
Mr Eather said they have kept relationships with some of the suppliers and clients for more than 20 years.