He explains that he did not found Heymans Kole, as it was established in the 1950’s by a Mr. Heymans. In 1981, Koch joined the company, working for the transportation company until 1996, when he acquired the company.
Since then, the development of the company has been remarkable. “When I bought the business we had just 8 trucks. Today, we have three fully equipped branches, a depot in Durban and we operate a total of 150 modern trucks,” says Koch.
Asked what factors have driven this remarkable growth, Koch explains that first and foremost, Heymans Kole is dedicated to serving its customers. “No matter the time of day, we are always here for our customers,” he advises, adding that another important factor is the unblemished integrity of the company. “It is also important to ‘keep your finger on the pulse at all times’,” he points out.
The geographic footprint that Heymans Kole services is very extensive. This includes Gauteng, the North West Province, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo as well as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and right through to the north of Zambia.
Koch explains that customer service is dependent upon absolute reliability. To ensure ‘on time, every time’ deliveries, Heymans Kole replaces vehicles in its fleet every four years or every 600,000 km travelled.
“Strict maintenance is a crucial and integral part of our operational ethos: trucks in our fleet are serviced every 40,000 km without fail. Annually, we send our trucks to the OEM for a major service,” he explains.
However, when it comes to the maintenance of the company’s many trailers, this is handled in-house. At each of the company’s three branches situated in Standerton, Hectorspruit and Polokwane there are fully equipped workshops staffed by a total of 11 trained and experienced technicians.
The company’s policy of renewing its truck fleet regularly also has benefits – in that the vehicles operate under warrantees on engines, gearboxes and drivetrains – and Heymans Kole does not have to do major overhauls.
Part of the company’s maintenance policy involves sound ongoing care of the tyres on its vehicles. “The cost of tyres is second only to the cost of diesel, and so it makes sense for us to look after our rubber carefully,” Koch continues.
For this reason, 10 years ago, Heymans Kole invested in its first nitrogen generator from the pioneers of nitrogen generation in South Africa, NitraLife. This was installed at its Standerton branch. As the company expanded, additional nitrogen generators have been installed at its other branches.
“In 2008, we started investigating ways in which to reduce our tyre costs and nitrogen tyre inflation was an obvious option. It was then that we contacted NitraLife,” he explains.
The benefits for Heymans Kole are that its trucks are getting many more kilometres out of their new tyres because they are running cooler. This improved performance also extends to the re-tread tyres that the company uses.
“With nitrogen inflation, the pressure in tyres remains more constant, as nitrogen leaks out through tyre walls much more slowly than oxygen. At Heymans Kole, the company places great emphasis on correct tyre pressures and no truck leaves one of its yards without being checked carefully first,” states NitraLife GM, Twayne Stewart.
“Our drivers are all equipped with tyre pressure gauges, so when they are on the road they can check the tyre pressures regularly as well,” Koch adds, explaining that he has noticed that tyre failures have decreased notably since Heymans Kole started inflating its tyres with nitrogen.
“In our business, turnaround times are very important and having trouble-free tyres means consistently faster turnaround times,” he elaborates.
“In addition, having our tyres inflated with nitrogen means greater peace of mind, as we can avoid downtime and the problems associated with having vehicles stuck next to the side of the road.”
Asked about the service he has received from NitraLife, Koch comments: “In our 10 years of working with NitraLife, we found them to be very cooperative and of considerable assistance when we wanted nitrogen generators installed at our other branches.
They were able to advise us on the correct choice and installation of nitrogen generators. And their after-sales service is also very good.”
Commenting on behalf NitraLife, Managing Director Tom Sowry concludes: “We have been very proud over the past decade to be able to contribute to the growth of Heymans Kole. We look forward to the next 10 years of being able of making a further contribution to this progressive company’s future prosperity.”