Founded in 1957, national road haulier Slabbert Burger Transport has logged in years of experience in the South African transport industry. The company’s success transcends their industry and has become an example of the potential of combing business acumen and patriotism, and propelled Slabbert Burger to the largest privately owned transport company in South Africa.
For the few of you, dear readers, who may be unfamiliar, Slabbert Burger operates nationally and has a presence in Southern African countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. The company is headquartered in the Western Cape, and has an unrivalled network throughout the regions it serves. They move break bulk cargo, containerized cargo, hazardous and non-hazardous cargo as well as chemicals over short and long distances.
Principles and values
The company is founded on the small-company principle of providing personalised and personal service to clients, yet is big enough that it can cope with the ongoing and changing demands of transportation and the vicissitudes of weather, mechanics and roads.
Despite the breadth and size of the company, the team might have grown the company even larger. But for Slabbert Burger, success is not solely measured in monetary measures. Instead, the company has been built around a dedication to delivering efficient and reliable service at competitive prices, granting all employees training and development opportunities to enable them to realise their aspirations and maintain the highest standard in order to build lasting relationships with clients. In other words, this is a company with a long-term vision and values that has led Slabbert Burger to be recognized nationally as a world-class corporation as a result of the quality and value of its service.
Slabbert Burger’s success is also a collaborative effort. “We believe that the collective skills and experience of our team can meet our clients’ needs. Through teamwork and commitment, we continue to build on our strengths to develop our full potential, achieve a shared vision and keep our clients coming back,” says Manager of Marketing, Bruce Kearly. The company also places substation credit in the management staff and employees for introducing new and varied ways to continually improve the operations.
Fine management aside, there is a practical side to the transport company that should not be overlooked. The Slabbert Burger hi-tech fleet consists of Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and DAF trucks that all have different trailer combinations. These include tri-axles, super links, flat decks, coil carriers, cargo floors and tippers. Vehicles are regularly replaced to ensure that the fleet stays up-to-date and are regularly serviced and strictly maintained to the set standard maintenance schedule as prescribed by the manufacturers. The high level of training among the drivers helps to maintain the excellent standard of the fleet as well.
All company drivers are well qualified and skilled to perform the tasks assigned to them. These qualifications include driver skills, medical fitness, health and safety as well as HAZCHEM training.
“We are able,” says Kearly, “to service a variety of customers because of the variety of vehicles available. We work with containerized products, bulk bags, food stuffs, coal, iron ore, and with a lot of mining companies and corporate because we are able to provided viable solutions for their needs.”
Since Slabbert Burger owns their trucks, they are able to deliver a service because they have the hardware to get the job done. There are no excuses, no second (or third) parties to be relied upon. Rather, this is a holistic and comprehensive service from top to bottom.
“We have always been a customer driven company. If a problem crops up (which you must be prepared for), we have the solution at hand. There are no excuses, only solutions. For example, in the unlikely event that a fan belt breaks on a truck, we can say a mechanic will be there in an hour, the repair will take another house, and it is on its way in two hours. There is minimal delay.”
This angle of operations ultimately results in cost saving for client. It’s all about scale of economics, for a company of size can utilise their workshop must better. The scale economics spread of operation spread between 400 vehicles down the cost of maintenance per vehicle, enables bulk buying down for diesel, oil, and the hardware itself.
“The thing is, success is not something that comes overnight,” says Kearly. “We are in fortunate position where we only have to streamline and fine tune what we are already doing. Big empires have fallen because they have become cumbersome and complacent. Therefore, we always look to better the utilization, and the moral of our customers and employees.”
Proud SA company
The company, founded by the Burger family, together with a dynamic management team, operate what is arguably the most successful transport company in Southern Africa. This success has permeated into the general economy, about which the team is very proud. “We are very proud about the support we give to the economy of South Africa. Our success helps provide solutions economically to the public but to the industry and makes South Africa better place to live in. We are extremely proud that we could achieve something reinforcing the importance of trucking in South Africa. We have succeeded to such a point that we have exceeded the railways, which is difficult, but we have achieved that,” smiles Kearly.
Slabbert Burger excels as a leading company in an ever-changing transport environment by providing transport and logistics services of the best value to its clients. This is achieved by maintaining both safety standards and high levels of client care, developing our staff, and delivering on time. Long may they run.
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