When EEM talks about earthworks, roadworks, civil construction, sand delivery and cartage in Western Australia, there is one family-run company that stands out with unequalled capabilities and services. Corps is a single-solution civil construction company based in the economic powerhouse that is the Pilbara region.
Corps is owned and operated by the Corps family, who are true Karratha locals and big supporters of the local community. Corps has recently rebranded and is made up of Karratha Earthmoving & Sand Supplies, Karratha Asphalt, Bitumen Sealing Services, Hedland Asphalt and Karratha Environmental Crushing.
Corps has laid the foundations for every major project in the northwest over the last 37 years, having invested heavily in all aspects of its business from a locally based capacity with leading-edge technology, experience, sheer grit and agility, which enables the team to successfully deliver projects of any scale through their four hubs in Karratha, Broome, Port Hedland and Perth.
A COMMUNITY MINDED COMPANY
With a team of over 100 locally based staff members, Corps remains agile, approachable and community minded. That is also what drives Corps to put the local economy and environment at the forefront to find sustainable solutions that aren’t just idealistic, but feasible.
EEM recently spent a few days with Dayne Corps in Karratha to get a feel for the various aspects of the Corps business and to see how their modern Cat fleet has been performing. Dayne shared, “Mum and Dad owned Karratha Earthmoving, which they started in 1985 while raising four sons who grew up and took charge of the Karratha Earthmoving business and its subsidiaries. Late 2021 Karratha Earthmoving rebranded its name to Corps, and from there it expanded into five different companies covering civil construction, transport, recycling concrete, glass, liquid waste, asphalt, spray seal, bitumen and sand cartage. Alongside myself, my brothers Kristian, Vaughan and Beau are also directors.”
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
After spending time with Dayne I quickly realise that the company is in a constant state of evolution. The Corps team are continuously looking for improved and cost-effective ways to do things, with less impact on the environment. They search for ways to innovate and create new environmentally friendly recycled products to use on large-scale projects to replace materials. There are a lot of moving parts, but with such dedication to the evolution of everything, including systems and procedures internally, layouts of the head office site, operations in Karratha and their ever-growing Cat fleet – it’s no wonder that after humble beginnings, this family business has grown to be the leading supplier of earthworks, roadworks, civil construction and sand supply in the Pilbara.
Part of Corps’ success comes down to their unequalled capacity and complete civil solutions, which assist small and large-scale projects across the northwest, including projects for Rio Tinto, FMG, Yara, BHP, Woodside, and various government bodies.
THE X FACTOR AT CORPS
There is an undeniable X factor at Corps with an intelligence and community-minded team spirit. A grit and ability to think outside the box, which really sets them apart. However, it’s easy to possess outlooks like this when business is great, but it’s in the tough times when a business’ community spirit and commitment to staff is really tested. It wasn’t long ago that Western Australia experienced tough times and the lengths the team at Corps went to personally to keep their staff working, proved their loyalty and dedication to not only their team, but the broader community of Karratha.
RELIABLE TECHNOLOGY-FILLED MACHINERY
For Corps group to have reliable and powerful technology-enabled machinery is an important part of every large-scale operation, but when you’re working in the remote areas of Australia – like the Pilbara and the Kimberley – it becomes even more important.
Corps runs Cat machines purchased, serviced and maintained through WesTrac under FitFleet® Customer Value Agreements (CVAs). Dayne explained the importance of this relationship, “We have been working very closely with Caterpillar® and WesTrac for over 25 years and we have roughly 70 machines at last count. Our reputation is built off the back of the quality of our fleet. We’re in remote areas so the need for good back-up and service is extremely important. We travel long distances so if a machine breaks down it becomes very costly and time consuming. And when you add in the world shortage on parts – you can quickly have a huge problem that compounds itself.
“This is how important our FitFleet CVAs are with WesTrac. We rely on them to maintain and service our fleet, which allows us to focus on the smooth running of our projects and business. After working with WesTrac for so long, I know I have the best dealer relationship in the country. With Murray, Brad and Singo in the Karratha Branch, Brad and Erica in sales, Troy in training and WesTrac General Manager Cameron, I couldn’t ask for better help and support from a dealership,” Dayne says.
Corps has up to 400 various pieces of equipment in its fleet, including trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, asphalt pavers, spray trucks and tankers. Impressively, more than 70 of these are Cat machines, with the remarkable Cat D5 Dozer being one of the more recent purchases, and its abilities and technologies capturing Dayne’s heart.
CAT D5 PURCHASE
It has been the combination of power, speed, accuracy and technology, which has made the Cat D5 such a valuable investment for Corps. When I chatted with Dayne about the impact the D5 has had on site, I could feel his enthusiasm and positivity for this workhorse. “The D5 has brought both efficiency and speed with its onboard tech. Having the D5 is like having a pinch hitter in baseball – its ability to speed up the job with incredible accuracy is world leading. The Steer Assist feature has been incredible, the 3D Grade Control ensures we hit the right levels of design. Auto Carry on the blade prevents track slip and the fully automatic transmission is a game changer.
“We can also transport it anywhere very quickly. Its push capability is huge, but also the accuracy with the new D5 screens and Work OS is equally impressive with up to 50 per cent more productivity with the Cat technology. Our operators love the D5 saying it is such a smooth machine to drive. From a fuel efficiency versus productivity angle, the D5 is considerably better in terms of fuel use and material pushed. When we look at maintenance costs the D5 is the same as a grader with filter life and liquids,” said Dayne.
The in-cab Cat technology has helped improve the management of the Corps fleet and operator efficiencies through VisionLink technologies to alert customers for service and maintenance, which makes a big difference in preventative maintenance. Operator assist features like auto-steer and over cut protection have also created benefits on recent jobs.
CORPS GROUP AND WESTRAC
Brad Lecocq is a Heavy Construction Account Manager for WesTrac with clients based in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. Brad has personally built up a wealth of knowledge since joining WesTrac back in 2000. Working closely with Corps for five years now, Brad has played a key role in the education and purchases of Corps’ Cat machines over this time. Brad commented, “I have enjoyed watching Corps grow during the last five years. We have a strong relationship with Corps who use our services across the Pilbara. I’ve personally developed a great relationship with the Corps brothers and in particular Dayne, which makes it a smooth process for all involved.”
Corps was one of the first WesTrac customers to purchase the Cat 150 AWD Mastless Grader in WA using Trimble Earthworks. “Eliminating the need to run fixed pole mast on either side of the blade was a great selling point,” Brad shared.
“The two Cat 972M XE machines recently purchased have proven to be extremely productive in terms of fuel efficiency and lower operational and running costs. The new D5 is also a bit of a weapon in the fleet. Being on grade control with the field follow auto steer and Trimble Earthworks, this machine is nimble and quick. The fuel efficiency and final trim ability has captivated Dayne’s heart.”
PROS AND BENEFITS
Having the vast majority of the Corps construction fleet as Cat machines has enabled a strategic relationship to form between Corps and WesTrac. Caterpillar is forever developing new technologies that Dayne embraces, and he understands the ultimate benefits which technology plays on machine efficiency and production.
All of the Corps Catmachines are on FitFleet CVAs where essentially the WesTrac Karratha Branch proactively maintain all the fleet, so Dayne doesn’t have to worry about the health of his equipment. Machine health is monitored daily, and any concerns are reported back to Dayne and WesTrac Karratha.
WesTrac Karratha also has a great relationship with Corps. To have the branch there with the field service trucks on the ground means they can attend any request anywhere, anytime. New opportunities are arising in the region daily and the constant refinement and evolution of the business driven by Dayne and his brothers, means the relationship between WesTrac, Caterpillar and Corps is set to strengthen further still. There is also a Cat D6XE and Cat D8 on order, which means the productivities and efficiencies of their Cat fleet is set to reach even greater heights in the near future.