Hino Australia is embracing International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March by recognising the ever-important role of females within the transport industry.
The perception of trucking being a male-dominated trade has been challenged in recent years, with women increasingly taking on diverse positions.
For Steve Lotter, Hino Motor Sales Australia Chairman and CEO, this shift for the industry is necessary and welcomed.
“It has long been noted that the trucking industry is facing a critical shortage of skilled personnel, so it is encouraging that more and more females are joining the work force,” said Mr Lotter.
“We have seen through our network that the barriers to joining our team, physical or otherwise, have been breaking down, with our business all the better for this shift to a more diverse workplace.
“Here at Hino, we have so much to offer people who want to join our industry including great employee benefits, opportunities for career growth and an entire network of support in place.
“We celebrate and encourage this growth, as it makes us a stronger company now and into the future.”
From behind the wheel, to the many and varied positions in dealerships and head office, female participation in the trucking workplace has been shaping the way forward for the industry.
A case in point is Jade Morrison, whose ten years of service to Sci-Fleet Hino has seen her rise through various roles to now becoming the Service Manager at its Nerang dealership.
From a previous life as a receptionist, Jade was initially employed as a Service Advisor, before seeking a deeper appreciation of the mechanical side of the trade.
After being one of the first female apprentice Heavy Vehicle technicians for Hino, Jade completed her qualifications in 2016, was then promoted to Service Supervisor, Assistant Service Manager, before ultimately arriving in her current role last November.
For Jade, outside of exceeding the expectations of customers, the best thing about the industry is the team culture.
“I couldn’t ask for better people to work alongside, we are a very tight-knit team and share the same core values, it makes for a very enjoyable workplace,” said Miss Morrison.
Meanwhile, Kara Green’s progress in her chosen profession saw her recognised as the winner of the Parts category at the 2019 Hino National Skills Contest, the first female to win the award.
A Parts Interpreter at Adtrans Hino’s Smeaton Grange dealership, Kara’s four and a half years have seen her build her automotive knowledge and skill set from scratch.
“I’d like to think I did it for all the women out there who feel like they come second in this male dominated industry,” said Mrs Green on winning the award.
“There was a bit of pressure to do one better as I placed second the year before, so to actually do it and win was an amazing moment and one I will never forget.”
Employed by Heath Hino for over 13 years, Rachel Howley started her career in Sales Administration, before progressing to the position of Sales Manager in 2013.
From her base in Darwin, the relative remoteness of the business has made her a master of many facets in the company.
“I have quite a diverse range of tasks and roles to fulfil; from sales to stock control to deliveries and handovers in some pretty remote places of the Northern Territory,” said Ms Howley.
“I do whatever I need to keep the business moving forward, whether that’s collecting trucks from bodybuilders interstate and driving back to Darwin or just driving many hundreds of kilometres to meet with customers.
“I also enjoy the relationships I have formed with suppliers and body builders over the years, and I have some really great people in my network.”
Nicole Ardiles, now a fully qualified Sales Consultant at Prestige Hino, is another individual who entered the industry without prior truck knowledge, or sales experience.
Despite a steep learning curve, Nicole quickly carved out an important place with her clients, reaching an impressive milestone of 100 truck sales in 2019.
“Not only would I encourage women to consider this industry, but I would encourage this industry to endorse women, as I believe it would suit a woman’s touch,” said Miss Ardiles.
“Our customers need people who care about their business, who ask the right questions and who listen to their needs, all the things that women often carry in their nurturing nature.
“Just like any industry, there are challenges that come with it, but once you can understand your place and the impact you can have, the benefits are ongoing.”
In late January, Hino Australia announced a change in the Vehicle Supply Chain and Logistics department, appointing Sara Clark to a new role of Manager, Hino Bus.
Sara comes from an automotive loving family, with the past 11 of her 26 years in the industry spent with Hino.
“I have always worked at wholesale level, I don’t feel gender is particularly relevant when you want to be the best within your chosen field,” said Ms Clark.
“I have been very fortunate to have been mentored along the way by some very inspiring leaders in automotive.
“Hino has always been a gender diverse organisation with a great work culture."
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In 2020, it will take place on Sunday 8th March.