A five-strong fleet of new Toyota Huski skid steer loaders is the latest 'engine room' driving the success of one of Victoria's largest landscaping businesses.
Warrandale Industries, a family run business based in Scoresby, Victoria, has put Toyota Huski skid steer loaders to work since its inception, as directors and brothers, Rob and Tim Buruma, explained. "Our Dad, Henk, emigrated in 1954," said Rob Buruma. "He was a high-school teacher and started rotary hoeing and landscaping on weekends to make extra money. From that, he started the company. He bought a second-hand Mustang skid steer and Bedford tipper for $5000. It was a big decision for him.
"The second machine he ever bought was a brand-new Toyota Rassler Skid Steer when they first came out in 1985 and that was an even bigger decision for Dad, but even at that time it was a reasonable price for a machine that demonstrated good reliability.
"We've kept on buying Toyota Huskis ever since and the business has kept developing and growing throughout the years to become what it is today."
Rob Buruma said his father's call to invest in his first Huski skid steer loader was integral to the business' growth and that to date it has bought 34 Toyota Huskis since 1985.
"That first Huski was a catalyst for our ultimate success," he said. "It was one of the best early on things he did for the business because it really allowed it to grow. That has been a continuous trend for us.
"As the business has grown, we've needed more Huskis to keep up with our workflow and the large scale of our projects so we've added more Huski machines and currently maintain a fleet of five Huskis which we regularly change over.
Presently, Warrandale Industries employs over 40 staff and is responsible for a raft of complex, award-winning projects, including the 2018 Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers Award, and performs many public works on behalf of the Victorian government.
Co-director, Tim Buruma explained that one of the businesses' points-of-difference is that in addition to being specialist landscapers, they are also commercial builders.
"Essentially, we focus on large-scale commercial landscape construction projects that are detailed, varied and specialised," said Tim Buruma. "They vary in complexity and feature across multiple disciplines, from the Advanced Tree and Palm tree relocation we did around Albert Park Racetrack, or AFL Oval construction, pedestrian bridges, public toilet facilities and bespoke playgrounds and waterparks, for example.
"We also undertake exciting projects for Zoos Victoria, many award-winning, and are currently onsite again at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne with the Arid Garden redevelopment.
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) Victorian area sales manager - Huski Construction Equipment, Thomas Machar, said Warrandale Industries has an ethos of investing in its equipment in order to maximise its abilities on site. "They are a top landscaping company - they do some very high-end projects - and they use only top-quality equipment for their operators and customers," said Mr Machar.
"They have a strategy of investing in top-quality equipment to reduce manual labour and gain efficiencies. The right equipment helps them get through their workloads faster. When you're in their depot it's impressive to see just how much industrial equipment they've got.
"Warrandale does large-scale landscaping jobs so for them the Huskis are like big, powerful, reliable wheelbarrows. They are extremely handy and useful machines to have on site in order to be used at any time."
Mr Machar said Warrandale Industries also prefers for its equipment to be new. "They like to keep their fleet really fresh," he said. "To that end, they turn over their Huskis every four years with the philosophy of ensuring absolute reliability and appearance. Their staff like the new equipment and the customers like it, too."
Warrandale Industries' latest order of Toyota Huski skid steer loaders comprised four 5SDK8s and a 5SDK5, and was a like-for-like replacement of its former fleet, as Tim Buruma explained. "We bought the exact same models from Tom back in 2015," said Tim Buruma. "We stick with what we know and what we trust, as is the case with the Huskis. We know exactly what we need, and it has proven to be a good balance, so we saw no need to change it."
Rob Buruma explained typical duties for the differing models: "With the 5SDK8s it's lots of rockwork, soil, mulch, bulking-out - just general material duties.
"The 5SDK5 is smaller so it's a bit nimbler and it's handy for running a broom down paths on the commercial subdivisions we do. It's also great at other jobs and we have different attachments for it such as forks and augers."
Of the many reasons Warrandale Industries chooses Toyota Huski skid steer loaders, Tim Buruma said simplicity and operability is chief amongst them. "One of the main reasons we buy Huskis is their ease-of-operation," he said. "They're user-friendly, pretty straightforward, are well-balanced and have great capabilities for what we need to do.
"We have 40 staff and multiple operators, so they need to know how to use them. We have a training system we use and we stick with that. Also, Toyota doesn't make massive changes to the newer models so that keeps the functionality familiar."
Tim Buruma said another reason they prefer Huskis is their quality and reliability, traits that TMHA describes with the acronym QDR (quality, durability and reliability).
"They're also a reliable machine," he said. "We've never had any mechanical failures. We're not exactly kind to them when they're at work, but they're a good, tough little machine."
Warrandale Industries has also been a longstanding customer for other Toyota machines including passenger vehicles, four-wheel drives and Toyota forklifts. "All those vehicles have also proven reliable," said Rob Buruma. "That's what we look for: something that's reasonably priced, reliable and stands the test-of-time.
"We also look for a good return on our investment when we feel it's time to replace them.
"They're not expensive for what you get out of them and what we trade them in for. The benefits we get out of the Huskis over the years we use them before rolling them over is pretty impressive.
"That's another reason why we've stuck with Huskis for so long: we always get good performance and we also get a good deal out of them."
As is the case for all businesses these days, safety is a paramount concern for Warrandale Industries and Tim Buruma said the Huskis tick a number of boxes in that regard. "They have very good visibility from the operator's seat, so that's an important safety consideration," he said. "Also, they're compact little machines on site. They don't have large extensions hanging a long way out from the body that are more likely to accidentally hit things when they turn. Also, they're nimble. They have excellent manoeuvrability and an outstandingly tight turning circle."
In conjunction with skid steer loaders, the Huski Construction Equipment range also comprises scissor lifts with platform heights ranging from 5.72m to 9.68m, and a selection of mini-excavators including a 1.3-tonne short-radius machine and six zero tail swing models ranging from 1.6 to 6 tonne.
For more information freecall Toyota Material Handling Australia on 1800 425 438 or visit huskiconstructionequipment.com.au