Introducing Daniel Rice Dealer Principal of CJD Kenworth DAF Launceston…
Daniel, tell us about your Dealership…
We are a PACCAR parts, service and sales dealer for Tasmania and have dealerships in Launceston and Hobart. Our featured Launceston facility has 30 staff working out of it and supports truck and trailer service and repair work. Almost 20 percent of our work force has been with the business for 10 years or more. PACCAR product supplied from this branch makes up almost 50 percent of all heavy duty trucks sold in the state.
What have been CJD Kenworth DAF’s highlights?
2008 appointed PACCAR truck sales, service and parts dealer for Tasmania
2013 DAF Truck Dealer of the Year
2013 DAF Truck Salesman of the year – Chris Saltmarsh
What is something unique about your Dealership?
Our people – hard working, willing to put in extra effort and go beyond what most business would expect their staff to do – they create the customer experience and make them feel at home. We also have long term employees, some with up to 25 years continuous service with the same business, who have great product and industry knowledge.
How did you get started in this business?
My first exposure to the business was travelling with my father in the truck doing his “grocery and grog” freight deliveries on the West Coast of Tasmania before I started kindergarten. I also spent time with my grandfather delivering potatoes all over the North West Coast of the state from his farm in his truck. I then progressed to helping load and wash trucks by the age of about seven years old. By the time I was ten I spent every Saturday washing trucks and trailers where my father worked and also every school holidays working in the workshop there relining brake shoes and helping service trucks, forklifts and trailers. At 14 I had a permanent weekend and school holiday job with a local truck dealer (they were a DAF truck dealer amongst other trucks) servicing and washing trucks, assisting tradesmen and any odd jobs they needed doing. When I left school I started a Diesel Mechanics apprenticeship with that company and while doing that also drove trucks at night just to help out some friends and get some experience behind the wheel. It all went from there to where I am now with CJD Kenworth DAF in Launceston.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Back in 2008 when I came on board with CJD Kenworth DAF in Tasmania I set a personal goal to have our dealership win DAF dealer of the year one day. I was passionate about DAF having grown up with them and having done my apprenticeship on them. At that stage none of our staff were passionate about DAF and no one really thought it possible or even worth working towards. As the years passed by our staff saw the benefit in promoting the DAF product and as we delivered more of these trucks we all experienced how reliable and efficient they were and how they benefited our customers when sold into the right applications. All of our employees then jumped on board with the vision we had as an operation to win this award and within a twelve month period CJD Kenworth DAF Tasmania celebrated the 2013 DAF Truck Dealer of the Year award.
This was a long term project and one I would love to repeat – look out for us again in the near future as our Tasmanian team can do it again!
Is there a customer experience you are most proud of?
I don’t know about most proud of but most thankful for and appreciative of.
When a Tasmanian customer approached CJD Kenworth DAF to purchase a new, then unreleased T950 Legend, we had to chase information down and sift through all the rumour and innuendo that was out in the market place. This customer stuck with us and gave us some time to get organised while we continued to dig deep into what was happening and try to get specs and as much information to him as possible. This customer is passionate about his trucks and this T950 Legend, if it came about was going to mean a great deal to him. Missing out on this one off truck would also have meant a great deal to him I am sure.
To finally see our General Sales Manager Chris Saltmarsh place that order for the customer, after much hard work putting together a suitable specification, and then to see it at the point of delivery and hand over with the customers family there and some of his employees it was actually quite an emotional thing. This was the only T950 Legend to come to Tasmania so I am very proud that we managed to get one delivered here in the island state but very thankful that this customer stood by CJD Kenworth DAF and supported us with this order for a one off, fantastic looking truck.
If you weren’t working in this industry what would you be doing?
I really don’t know. I have been associated with this industry more or less since I was born and working in it washing trucks and helping load up since I was in grade 2 at school. This is what I do and enjoy. Maybe touring around the country, fishing, shooting and seeing the sights of our fantastic nation if I didn’t have to work or maybe farming if I did have to work.
Who is your role model, and why?
I don’t really have one in particular but anyone who does well in life in whatever their chosen expertise is and still remains humble in their success and helps others achieve their goals through experience and contacts has got my vote.
Where is your favourite local spot?
Pierre’s Restaurant in the city – they do a great breakfast / Jailhouse Grill for dinner “awesome steak” and Star Bar for a drink on a fantastic Tassie Summer afternoon.
What is your favourite truck model?
T950 / T909 love them both – these are what tough trucks are modelled off!
What are your thoughts on the future of the industry:
I believe the industry has a great future with new technology coming on board to make operators’ lives easier and more organised and an increasing freight task ahead of us all to continue the growth of the industry when many others are in decline. We just need to promote our industry better and more professionally to make it attractive to young people as a career choice so we can entice new people to the industry and show them it is a great career path with many opportunities for learning and advancement.