Incorporated in 1983, Northline is an Australian freight-forwarding and warehouse logistics company. The business specialises in freight management services, warehousing and distribution networks, global freight-forwarding, as well as mining, construction, oil and gas logistics services. The company transports goods throughout Australia, acting as a supply-chain solutions provider for business of all sizes in a wide range of industries and sectors. CEO Craige Whitton describes Northline as a ‘one-stop shop’ for the customer supply chain.
“We can provide the entire supply chain,” he says, “whether that be from a manufacturing plant in China through to someone’s door in Sydney or Melbourne, and the reverse — from here to wherever it needs to be globally. And we do everything in between, whether it is local, interstate or international transport work, warehousing, order management and stock inventory control, so the whole way through the supply chain. We can provide that for our customers and we can slice and dice it as needed.”
Prepared for the unexpected challenges of the road
Providing such a wide array of services is not without its challenges. Businesses rely on their supply chains so in effect, Northline is responsible for how efficiently its clients can provide services for their own customers. External influences that are outside of the company’s control, such as road closures or a derailed train, can throw up difficulties, so it’s important that Northline has processes in place to deal with the unexpected.
“There are challenges every day. Some of them are brought on by external influences, whether they be roads, trucks, rail lines or whatever it happens to be, so they are out of your control. These days I think the greatest challenge is that everybody is under pressure in all industries, in all sectors and companies of all sizes, so every freight movement and every warehouse order is critical to the client’s business. You have to make sure that you are following process 100% of the time and therefore achieving and delivering for the customer.”
When unexpected mishaps occur, transparency and customer communication is incredibly important. New technologies mean that Northline is able to track exactly where any piece of freight is within its system, and communicate that information to the customer.
A workplace culture that values family and safety
Northline is a family-owned and -run business, and family plays a big role in the company’s culture. Craige says that Northline fosters an engaging and supportive environment for staff. The family culture creates a sense of belonging and the staff know that they are making valued contributions to the business, which in turn leads to staff longevity.
“Culture is a massively important part of our business,” Craige says. “It is a family-owned and -controlled business and it is really important to us that first of all that family culture exists, but we also have expectations that it is a corporate and professional place to work as well.”
The core value for Northline is safety. It’s fundamental to the business and Craige works hard to ensure that the company maintains its outstanding safety record.
“The amount of compliance has increased and become a lot more complex over the last 5 or 10 years,” he says. “There is a lot of legislation, so we are pretty proud of the fact that we have better than industry benchmarks from a safety and injury perspective. We have really worked hard at that every day.”