Symons Group continues to build on a foundation that began in 1984 with the establishment of Symons Transport. The group has now grown to also incorporate property interests and provide extensive services to the energy sector.
Encompassing Transport, Energy Services and Waste Remediation Services, Symons Group provides innovative quality transport solutions, delivered safely and efficiently. The Group aims to exceed customer satisfaction expectations by using world-class, innovative equipment and a highly motivated, skilled team to continuously improve their systems. Symons Group’s management team and high-quality fleet are ably supported by a high-quality driver team.
The vast majority of the Symons Transport and Symons Energy Services operations are based on a large, multi-purpose site in Bell Block, Taranaki. The workshop base for the Group is split between Bell Block and Oakura, Taranaki. The Group is proud of its Taranaki origins and family-based values and has become well known for high quality, well-presented equipment, attention to detail and strict regard for safety practices.
“We have a strong focus on HSE and quality,” says Symons Group General Manager Mark Robinson. “Not only are we accredited through the Tertiary Level Workplace Safety Management Programme (WSMP) with ACC, but we are one of the few transport companies to be accredited to Fleetsaver Gold level for our transport operations. We’ve invested significantly in this area in recent times and believe our commitment to this area is a strong point of difference. For example, we were the first company in Taranaki to import grapple forks for our Symons Energy loaders because of the safety and efficiency improvements they offered. In addition, our environmental compliance in capturing waste, hydro-carbons on our sites is positively recognised by local authorities. And our trucks are all Scania, a brand renowned for their safety specifications.” The company considers all these factors to be especially vital in working with their customers because they are operating in local communities.
Family Values and Community Spirit
As part of Symons Group’s commitment to family values, they continue to treat every customer as unique entities with special needs. This approach, combined with their growing high-quality fleet, yard capacity and facilities, together with their high-quality management and local and national partnerships, means the Company is also flexible enough to cater to a wide range of transport and energy sector needs.
These family values and flexible strength are built on a 30-year history of being 100 percent family owned. “Graham Symons began the transport company in the early 1980’s,” says Robinson. “Prior to getting involved in trucking, Graham had developed farming interests in Coastal Taranaki. Initially, the trucking interests were an additional side line to farming, but over time grew to a more standalone business. Increasingly the transport company has grown with other divisions of the business emerging, such as Symons Energy Services and Waste Remediation Services.”
Robinson points out that the entrance into the energy sector was largely based on bolstering the significantly seasonal element of the transport company. This created revenue diversification and reduced risk exposure. “In more recent years, Graham has established a small board and senior management team to provide a more structured, rigorous approach to managing the growth of the companies. Graham now chairs the Board, maintains key relationships, and has an active interest in new areas of development for the companies,” says Robinson.
Today, Graham’s children, Jane and Murray are currently on the management team. Jane recently took the lead role in HSE / HR while Murray has been in charge of the transport division for the last two years. Being family owned and Taranaki based is a big part of the brand and culture of the companies. “Despite significant growth, we’ve worked hard to maintain the family feel of the company and the ethos this brings, looking after our own people but also treating our customers with a real personal touch,” says Robinson.
“Part of growing with the support of our community is also investing back into it. We like to partner a whole host of community causes in the province, such as junior rugby, junior surf-life saving, schools near to the areas we are based and around the sites we work, various children’s charities, a range of junior sports-people competing in national and international events, community infrastructure projects such as the development of the regional cycle velodrome and regional BMX track, the local Helicopter Rescue Trust, to name just a few. We are not an international company but a local one that intends to be around a long time. Part of being in a small community is doing our fair share to support people because we’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of support from the community ourselves. We strive to over deliver on the expectations people have of us but with a humble approach,” explains Robinson.
Integration of Transport and Energy Services Exceeds Customer Expectations
Symons Group’s Transport Services division has become synonymous with delivering safe, exceptional transport solutions to their customers. This division is able to provide a nationwide service specialising in the areas of bulk liquid transport (includes food-grade) and oil related services. “We have become renowned for innovation and our continued commitment to utilising the latest in technology and product innovation — our customers are receiving the safest, most efficient transport solutions,” says Robinson.
Significant elements behind the Company’s competitive advantage include their strong HSE record, excellent presentation of the single, modern Scania brand fleet and investing time and resources into constantly looking to improve the service they provide for customers. As part of that, significant, ongoing investments are also made towards high-quality equipment, such as trailers with certified bolsters and head boards, custom-built tankers, etc. Careful attention and resource application also goes towards driver training.
Symons Energy Services feature specialised equipment and operators familiar with the handling and safety requirements of oil field equipment, including the transport of casing, drill pipe and assorted drilling equipment. One of the top priorities here is to achieve zero harm to people, property and the environment while delivering an optimised service with highly experienced and trained staff. “We work with companies in the energy sector to understand their needs. To better meet these needs we have developed a large, multi-purpose, environmentally friendly site with a range of services and facilities, including a number of service providers to operate in the Symons Energy Services yard,” says Robinson.
By offering both Transport and Energy Services divisions, Symons Group is able to provide an integrated supply chain solution, offering the benefits of storage and inspection with logistical support of a transport hub. Through this, the Company can offer strong incentives for clients who choose to integrate their energy and transport services with Symons.
“We provide a one-stop energy service hub that allows customers to have one point of contact (make one phone call) to access a whole range of logistical support services,” says Robinson. “Not only does this reduce time and administrative function for clients dealing with us, but it also improves the efficiency with which we are able to provide services as we are able to coordinate our own resources with a lot more ease than if multiple parties were involved in this process. We are able to take a lot of the hassle often associated with managing logistics away from clients and allow them to focus more on key aspects of their business.”
“We can also respond much more quickly and effectively to emergency type situations. We are competitively priced but can save further costs by virtue of the efficiencies enabled through our integration. For example, there is far less downtime in working with Symons, and we also ensure that there is no charge on trucks when loading from within our yard, which is a significant savings in logistics across a drilling campaign.”
Furthermore, Symons Group maintains an operating consciousness regarding legacy issues for the companies they work with. They maintain a high regards for HSE and environmental measures, ensuring that they are of the highest standard. This includes reducing their environmental imprint. For example, water they use through the inspection facility is rain water captured from their warehouses.
Strong Investments and Looking Forward
This financial year has seen a significant investment in the Company’s facilities and equipment, growing their capacity across the Energy and Transport areas. The Group is in the process of completing their third warehouse. Shed Boss Taranaki, a company specialising in providing custom designed steel building solutions, has been responsible for the design, build and project management of all three warehouses. Shed Boss worked with Symons from early design stages, taking care of engineering, design, building consent documentation, all the way through to complete construction and project management. Shed Boss’ strong and right focus on their customers paired with their involvement in the steel building industry for nearly 10 years and 30 years of local experience in building and related trades ensured the safe and timely work for these warehouses.
In addition, Symons Group also continue to invest in the transport area, increasing the overall equipment inventory of the fleet by approximately 20 percent, with trucks, food grade tankers and trailers being added.
Robinson went on to discuss elements they’ll be pursuing to capitalise on this new growth: “We promote a culture of constant improvement, high expectations and innovation — there is a drive within the Group to always look to do things better than before throughout all of our operations. As part of this, we look forward to continuing to grow our team and continuing to develop the capability of our people to meet current and future challenges and opportunities. This includes continuing to work with existing and new customers to help improve their operations — we get a thrill out playing a strong role in seeing our customers succeed.”