The flying (truck) doctor

The flying (truck) doctor

Feb 9, 2016  Mechanical engineering 

The flying (truck) doctor
(Photo by: Scania)

Scania workshop operator John Kelly has been known to travel over 1,000 kilometres to get an engine operating. Now aged 71, he has embraced technology and has no intention of retiring.

Located in the town of Geraldton on the mid-west coast of Western Australia, Kelly’s Truck and Marine Service has an operating radius bigger than many European countries.

Over the years, staff from the Scania service workshop have been called on to repair engines in remote desert mining camps, at desolate truck stops, and on ships working on large scale oil and gas projects.

Fewer faults thanks to improved technology

Owner John Kelly is a licensed pilot and when required will fly hundreds of kilometres to get an engine up and running again. “We go wherever they ask us to go,” he says with a laugh. “Of course, these days we get a lot fewer call-outs like that thanks to improved technology. While in the old days a driver didn’t know something was wrong until there was a bang and the vehicle stopped working, today the computer handles everything.”

Kelly, 71, has worked in automotive sales and service since undertaking a mechanical apprenticeship in his teens, and has been a Scania dealer for more than 20 years.

He moved to Geraldton for a job in the mid-1970s and fell in love with the town. “We’re 450 kilometres north of Perth and a primary industry area with crops including wheat, oats barley, lupins, canola, plus crayfish and wetline fishing and mining. It’s a city of 50,000 people, and you get a country style of living with fishing and surfing and all the beach activities.”

Services buses, trucks and engines

Kelly’s workshop services Scania buses used by local schools and Western Australia’s public transport authority, as well as industrial and marine engines used in mining, fishing, and oil and gas applications. The number of Scania trucks the workshop handles has dramatically increased in recent years thanks to logistics and port services company QUBE’s reliance on Scania vehicles at Geraldton’s port.

Kelly has made sure he has remained on top of technological changes over the years, embracing computer diagnostics. He says while he has enjoyed the same good relationship with customers over the decades, today’s business operators are more time sensitive.

“Customers tend to want things quicker these days,” he says. “That’s just the way of the world. You only make a dollar when the wheels are turning.”

Via Scania
Image,video ©: Scania