Aldom Motor Body Builders designs and builds quality, strong and tough truck bodies for the transport industry. The company was established in South Australia in 1975, and in the almost-45-years since, they have remained the industry leader. Over the years, they have worked on some of the most “weird and wonderful” projects the state has seen, and they have built relationships with clients and suppliers that go back multiple decades. They are now well-known statewide for their unrivalled enthusiasm, expertise, and penchant for innovation.
“We have a great name around town,” says Phil Chamberlain, General Manager. “People know us, and they know they can come to Aldom and we can build them what they want, even if it’s different – or especially if it’s different.”
“Customised builds are what we’re all about,” he says.
Phil has worked with Aldom Motor Body Builders, off-and-on, for over a decade now. He started as a boilermaker, left to manage a company in Darwin, and came back as a production manager. About four years ago, he was recruited again to do sales and has since become the General Manager. He now works under the company’s Managing Director, Mark Haig, who bought the business in 2006.
Over the course of his several stints with the company, Phil has seen Aldom grow and evolve considerably. When he first started, for example, they had about a dozen employees – they now have over 50.
“We have quite a large workforce here which is good for South Australia, especially for the manufacturing area,” he says.
Phil credits the company’s history of growth to their ability to innovate and customise. He believes they have survived and thrived, while some other manufacturers have not, due to their flexibility.
“We can customise builds,” Phil reiterates. “Customers can come to us with an idea, and we’ll sit down with them with our CAD designer and Engineer, come up with a concept drawing, and we’ll consult with the client. They’ll give their input, we’ll give ours, and we’ll figure out together how we’re going to do things.”
Today, Aldom Motor Builders’ services include the full design and manufacture of a variety of commercial vehicle bodies. They deal mainly with the local truck dealers and local government, but they also do a large percentage of special projects as well. They do everything from chilled and frozen product carrying vehicles, to dry freight transport vans, tray top and tipping trucks, special built vehicles for the mining industry, vehicles for motorsport enthusiasts, rescue vehicles, service vehicles, mobile emergency units, and trailers of various sizes and all applications.
A lot of the bodies the company delivers are custom-built to the client’s specifications and budget, using lightweight fibre composite panels. Their trucks bodies can include a long list of possible features, all depending on the client’s needs. These features include: full access doors, drop down and hydraulic rear loading ramps, beaver tail floors to assist loading, multi-point tie down systems, and many more options.
Aldom also provides a comprehensive repair and maintenance service on all commercial vehicles. Their repair services include: fibre glass, Panelock pans, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, tow bars on all trucks, and new lifters for trucks and buses, whilst also liaising with insurance companies.
With all their clients, no matter what service they are providing, Aldom focuses on building a strong and lasting relationship. They make sure to “treat them the way we would want to be treated,” Phil says. That approach has led to a significant amount of repeat work, and an even more significant number of referrals.
Aldom also focuses on providing clients with an extremely high standard of quality – which is their most effective method of relationship building. The company not only adheres to a stringent system of checks and balances in-house, but they also conduct progress meetings with customers over the course of a build or contract. That way, they can ensure the client knows what they are getting, and everyone is on the same page every step of the way.
Aldom Motor Body Builders also fosters strong relationships with their team members, both internally – with their management and the people in their workshop – and externally – with their suppliers and contractors.
Internally, the strength of their relationships is evidenced by the fact that at least 30 per cent of their workforce has been employed by Aldom for over 10 years.
Phil credits that longevity to the “positive working environment” of the company, as well as the custom nature of a lot of their work, which tends to keep staff interested. He believes their variety creates a lot of “positive energy,” and he believes that’s why Aldom is an employer of choice in the region.
Externally, meanwhile, Aldom’s relationships also go back many years. According to Phil, the company has also been working with some of their suppliers for over a decade now.
One example of a trusted supplier is UES International – an Australian family business that has been around even longer than Aldom has. UES has been servicing the country’s truck and recreational vehicles markets, among other industries, for over 100 years. They ensure that the engineering solutions their clients need are in stock, supplied on time, and supported by a strong sales team. Like Aldom, they strive to always engage with customers and their specific requirements.
Achieving big things
Over their many years of business, Aldom Motor Body Builders has developed an extremely strong reputation among clients in South Australia, in both the public and private sector.
Their private clients have included Legendary racecar driver Jim Richards, and Michael Patrizi. Patrizi engaged Aldom to build a specialised body to carry up to 12 karts for his company Patrizicorse. The finished product incorporated a heavy-duty lifter, a generator and compressor box, battery and auxiliary battery box, rubber floor matting, flush floor mounted cargo tracks, a unique access platform and staircase, custom made cabinetry, and many other features.
On the public side, Aldom has also done a lot of work, and built a particularly strong relationship, with the Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure (DPTI). Their most significant collaboration began in 2018, when DPTI awarded Aldom a contract to manufacture 11 semi-trailer accommodation units, which were to be used to live and work in the remote outback north of the state.
“That was a big achievement,” Phil says. “That was a very large and important contract. It was quite a big deal, and we had to work very closely with the local government to ensure it would meet all their expectations out in the field. The guys involved were very proud when the units were completed.”
Each of the units Aldom developed had two bedrooms (one on either end), a fully functional kitchen, and a bathroom. They were all equipped with hot and cold running water, air conditioners (which were obviously needed in the outback environment), and other comforts of home.
The walls and roof of the units were manufactured in Wingfield, Adelaide, by Jasemakes – another long-term and trusted supplier. Phil describes the insulation properties of the panels as “second-to-none,” and “the toughest panels on the market.”
The insulation was important because the units were to be stationed in the desert, where the temperature would exceed 50-degrees in the day and could drop to below freezing in the night. The other features were important because the workers were relying on the units to be safe, comfortable, and easy-to-use.
“These units were going to be the workers homes away from home,” Phil says. “We had to take that into consideration. We had to come up with a very good design, and we had to build it the right way.”
Ultimately, DPTI was obviously satisfied with the quality of Aldom’s delivery. Following the completion of that contract, they hired the company to manufacture 11 more trailers, which will be used to support the previous trailers with storage and supplies such as fuel, water, and generators.
“We built a great relationship,” Phil says. “We became very close. That’s what happens with most of our customers.”
Moving forward, Aldom aims to continue building those kinds of relationships, and continue proving themselves on custom projects. That capability is what the company has built their reputation on, and Phil believes it will always be at the centre of what they do.
At the same time, however, the company also wants to better service the customers that want more traditional and economical products. They are improving turnaround for the clients that want standard trays, refrigeration bodies, tippers or taut liners. When another body builder can’t deliver in the right timeframe, Aldom wants those clients to turn to them.
Finally, Aldom has launched a partnership with ACE Electric Vehicles. In collaboration with them, the company plans to begin assembling electric vehicles for the commercial market, with the eventual goal of assembling 15,000 vehicles per year, for the local and export market.
For more on Aldom Motor Body Builders, their products, services, and past projects – and to get in touch with their expert team – visit https://www.aldom.com.au/For even more information, particularly more photos and videos of past work – including a walkthrough of the units designed and manufactured for the DPTI – check out Aldom’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ALDOMTransportEngineering