Alemlube, Earthmoving Accessories, Lubrication Systems, Spare Parts

Burning ambition: Alemlube

The Alemlube team celebrates the opening of the new flagship facility in Burpengary, Queensland.

Alemlube’s new Queensland headquarters reflects a company dedicated to doing things right by its customers, partners, and staff. EEM finds out how.

Paul Cooperthwaite describes Alemlube’s new state-of-art facility in Burpengary, Queensland as his “swan song” for the company – a culmination of more than 20 years’ work. So, in June, when he got the phone call and found out how close it all came to burning to the ground, all he could do was be thankful to the people who saved the day.

Alemlube’s Paul Cooperthwaite.
Alemlube’s Paul Cooperthwaite.

“It was a heart-in-the-mouth moment for me,” Paul says. “It had started in the ventilation motor in the roof. One of the guys was driving out when he turned around to have a look at the building and noticed this big white plume coming out of the roof.

“So, he came back, flicked off the power, and called the fire brigade. Luckily, they just happened to be doing exercises around the corner at the time, and so they were there in minutes.”

Upon their arrival, the fire brigade informed the team that the facility would have been lost had the power not been shut off, and had they not been so close. Lucky? Certainly. But without the quick thinking and good instincts of Alemlube’s employee, it all could have been gone before anybody was even aware.

“It was a close call,” Paul says. “This brand-new facility we’d all worked 20 years to develop was nearly gone in a puff of smoke.”

The fire brigade saves the day.

Reward for effort

Alemlube has provided workshop and equipment lubrication solutions to a wide range of industries for more than 30 years. With business growing steadily over the past decade, the decision was made to leave its old QLD facility in Deception Bay, and relocate to Burpengary.

As Alemlube’s Regional Manager for QLD and Papua New Guinea, Paul has been a key part of the development of the new facility, where the finishing touches are almost complete.

“It’s been a fantastic process,” he says. “We had 2000 square metres in Deception Bay, and where we’ve now moved is 4000 square metres. It’s a big upgrade. And I have to really take my hat off to Alemlube’s owners, who have given us pretty much everything we’ve asked for.

“They’ve enabled us to install some labour and time saving devices, including two vertical lift machines to help speed up our goods deliveries, and laser cutters in the fabrication shop to streamline tank building and other fabrication works.”

Combined with greater capacity for product and parts, Paul says the flagship facility will serve as a benchmark for Alemlube’s future growth.

Alemlube QLD veterans, from left: Mike Duran, Project Operations; Paul Cooperthwaite, Regional Manager QLD & PNG; Greg Chapman, Sales Manager QLD & PNG; Philipe David, Warehouse.
Alemlube QLD veterans, from left: Mike Duran, Project Operations; Paul Cooperthwaite, Regional Manager QLD & PNG; Greg Chapman, Sales Manager QLD & PNG; Philipe David, Warehouse.

Adapting for growth

Paul says it’s a far cry from Alemlube’s early days, where it was essentially “a sales and marketing business” – importing and selling equipment through distributors. The new facility, he says, demonstrates just how far the business has come since then.

“We realised that if we were going to increase our sales and develop the business, we needed to provide a service, installation, and repair capability.

“While it’s comfortable to just sell products in and out of a warehouse, we would never have grown into the business we are today without embracing these other challenges.”

Paul says Alemlube began slowly ramping up this side of the business about 15 years ago.

“Originally, we were probably installing a couple of systems a month,” he says. “Whenever we got an order for a loader or an excavator, we’d be pretty chuffed – high fiving all around. Fast-forward 23 years, and we’re doing over 1000 systems a year.

“Today, we’re heavily involved with many of the major earthmoving and transport companies. Anyone who’s using bulk quantities of oil, grease, and diesel is going to need some kind of transfer, pumping, metering, dispensing, and storage equipment – that’s where we come in.”

Good people is good business

Paul has learnt in his more than two decades at Alemlube that the quality of the people you employ dictates success – and occasionally the prevention of a disastrous fire. He says that putting the right people in the right jobs helps the business builds stronger relationships across the industries it serves.

“We opened our original Queensland branch in 2000, and the four gentleman we opened with – Greg Chapman, Philipe David, Mike Duran, and myself – are still with us 23 years later,” Paul says. “I think that’s quite impressive.”

Paul attributes this to Alemlube’s people-first attitude – one that permeates throughout the business.

“One of the main reasons we’ve had success as a business is that we value relationships,” he says. “We treat all the OEMs and end users as long-term business partners. We’re not just in it for the one-off job, we want to develop those relationships for the years to come.”

But as Alemlube continues to grow, Paul says it’s crucial to maintain a small business’ sense of purpose and service.

“We’ve not lost that personal touch,” he says. “The day we start taking customers for granted will be the day we begin losing business. It’s crucial to retain that hunger and humility, rather than taking customers for granted and expecting them to adapt to our way.”

Alemlube’s people-first approach has also been consciously built into the Burpengary facility.

“One of the highlights of this place is not just the advanced facilities and modern equipment, but also the excellent amenities for staff,” Paul says. “For instance, we have five outdoor undercover recreational areas for staff to relax and enjoy themselves.

“Our staff’s wellbeing is extremely important to us, and we want to keep them content. The company owners have enabled us to build a new facility that helps us to deliver good service, and a good working environment.”

Supporting the future

“Another exciting aspect of the new facility is the size of our hardstand area,” Paul says. “This means companies are bringing their trucks and machines to us, we provide our services, and then they leave with their end product and any other items they require. It’s like we’ve become a part of their process.”

Paul says it’s gratifying to feel like part of a customer’s business in this way. And as well as helping maintain and grow positive business relationships, it also helps free up resources, build new business connections, all while delivering the best possible service.

For Paul, it continues to come back to building relationships – customers and staff alike.

“Alemlube started off right down the pecking order when it came to profile and market share,” he says. “But we’ve worked really hard, we’ve got a really good team, and we’ve continued to be a really good company to work for. Now we’re market leaders in many of the markets and industries we cover.

“It’s been a wonderful journey – and this flagship branch is the reward for all our hard work.”


Send this to a friend