Peter Brueckner, Executive Chairman, Powerhouse Logistics
Today, logistics companies feature a full range of services for their clients to help them develop comprehensive logistical solutions. Logistics has grown far beyond simply transportation services. However, back in the mid-90s, most of the companies in the logistics industry were heavily segmented. Determined to achieve a niche status within the logistics industry, Peter Brueckner worked his way through the challenges and established POWERHOUSE Logistics (PHL) in 1989. “We wanted to avoid dragging customers through a sausage factory. They were tough economic times back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Interest rates were close to 20% yet that was the beginning of our success, commencing our business during a mini-recession,” says Peter.
30 years on, the company remains lean and continues to stay that way. The owners re-invested the majority of profits back into the business allowing the company to continuously grow in a natural, organic way. The company’s success also attracted other smaller Australian logistics companies to become part of the Powerhouse family includes Endeavour Customs in Sydney, Scorpion International in Newcastle, PJ Customs Brokers in Darwin as well as a few others. Many of the major clients who supported Powerhouse from the very beginning are still customers of the company today.
Leveraging Technology to Overcome Challenges
The logistics industry has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. The changes occurred not only within the infrastructure of the industry but also how customers place orders and communicate with their suppliers and logistics providers. Powerhouse believes the customers want total visibility of their supply chain and also ask their freight forwarder or customs broker to offer additional services such as pick and pack, warehousing and direct distribution of orders to their clients, repacking and neutralizing of freight, proof of deliveries, 3PL, 4PL, and even finance.
Without the latest IT and software solutions with regular upgrades as well as cyber preparedness, it would not be possible to offer such value-added services and at the same time maintain a paperless office environment for PHL. Leveraging new technologies, the company is constantly growing, meeting every unmet need of customers.
Powerhouse Logistics arranges imports and exports by sea and air freight for large, multinational, listed companies as well as irregular consignments for start-ups where it assists them with vital information from the very beginning. The services that the company offers to the clients include: Global Supply Chain Management & Consultancy Services, Air Freight & Sea Freight, Imports & Exports, Bio Security & Customs Border Clearance and Consultancy, Project Cargo & Full Charter Services, Mission Critical & Remote Logistics. Along with that, it also provides Heavy Lift, Break Bulk and Oversized cargoes, Aerospace & Defence, AOG (Aircraft-On-Ground), Sensitive, Hazardous & Secure Cargo Services, International Animal Transport and Reverse Logistics, Hand-Carry & Hand Delivery Services etc.
Meeting Customer Needs
The demand for Powerhouse Logistics grew over the years. Being a private, 100% Australian owned and managed company with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, and Sydney; provide PHL with a total geographic coverage on the continent. “We believe that most of our clients like the fact that they can also ‘talk to us on the phone’ instead of having to go on-line to contact us or being transferred back and forth,” asserts Peter. The clients also appreciate that the company answers the phone even after hours in case of a ‘factory break-down’ where an urgent spare part has to be flown into Australia overnight and then to be hand-delivered on weekends.
Powerhouse Logistics have global connections to every corner on earth. Most of their overseas agents are part of the HTFN network, one of the longest established (more than 30 years) Global Logistics Networks. HTFN (www.htfn.com) is a unique network of mainly privately owned Logistics companies with a select and limited number of companies per country, employing more than 13,000 employees in over 60 countries, with a combined turnover of over $2 billion.
But most importantly, Powerhouse Logistics offerings are only as good as their professional and dedicated staff members as they are at the frontline of inquiries. The team constantly communicates with its overseas agents, shipping companies, airlines, trucking companies, and feeds back that information to the customers to make sure that certain goods arrive or depart in time and as booked.
“We are in the very fortunate position that our staff turnover is extremely low and as such our customers are provided with a professional, tailor-made service through the same Powerhouse employee, year after year,” affirms Peter.
The success of Powerhouse can be attributed to the visionary leadership and the yearning for growth of Peter Brueckner, Executive Chairman, major shareholder and founder of the company. He handles responsibilities such as HR, marketing, managing the global network of overseas agents, acquisition and the financial wellbeing of PHL. Alongside Peter, Anthony Daniels, Director Sales, minor shareholder, focuses on major customer sales and maintenance of the VIP clients as well as project cargo. Craig Alfano, the Managing director, looks after all the operations, staff training and employment, IT department, sales support, monthly P+L and drives the company to achieve and exceed budgets on a monthly basis.
As a privately-owned company, Powerhouse manages its offices and people on an extremely democratic basis. Peter goes on to say, “For instance, some of our mottos or part of our modus operandi is to ‘catch people doing something right’ (instead of wrong), to “always trust until proven wrong” as well as to ‘give, in order to receive’ i.e. we pay bi-yearly bonuses to all staff members to keep them motivated and dedicated.”
The team is always encouraged to constantly learn and study to obtain Industry Accreditations. They have been cross-skilled as much as possible so that they are informed of all the details of the entire supply chain instead of only being an expert in one area within this vast industry.
Recognition and Vision
Powerhouse Logistics is constantly enhancing its knowledge within this exciting and ever-changing industry and entice staff members to do the same. Peter shares, “We focus on ‘always being our customers’ first choice when it comes to Global Logistics’ and to keep offering reliable and competitive freight and customs solutions.”
The company does not believe that big is necessarily more effective for the overall success of the PHL group and wishes to continue to grow step-by-step in an organic and manageable manner. “POWERHOUSE Logistics has won many industry awards, proving that we are totally ‘on the ball’. We applied and participated twice with DCN/Lloyds List Australia and won the prestigious award of ‘Freight Forwarder of the Year’ both times during 2010 and 2012. We have not applied since but will consider doing so soon again,” asserts Peter.