After a 20-year career in traffic management, in 2011 Geoff Flavel took the plunge and began Advanced Traffic Management (ADTM) from his Lynbrook home. His vision was a small family business which ticked along, providing a stable income. However the business had other plans; today ADTM is a thriving interstate company with over 200 staff.
ADTM was founded in 2011 after Geoff had been successful in establishing two traffic control businesses for other people. Initially Geoff wanted a small six vehicle traffic management business, but this wasn’t to last, quickly growing past this size. After early successes in managing events traffic, ADTM found itself in the enviable position of growing organically. They had established a reputation for expertise, transparency and were leaving a trail of happy clients in their wake.
ADTM grew to a fleet of 25 vehicles before Geoff’s patient wife decided the business had well and truly outgrown their home and needed to move elsewhere – to the company’s first factory.
“Eventually we needed a proper base. ADTM are proud sponsors of the Casey Demons and most of the workforce live locally, so it was important to us to find a depot in Casey. We found a warehouse in Hallam which suited us, with the advantage of proximity to major transport routes too” said Shaun Hill, ADTM’s Financial Officer.
Growing from a small, family operation, to a large multi-state business with 3 separate hubs has provided challenges along the way. With a diverse workforce of over 220, keeping staff upskilled with new technology has always been a big challenge. “In 2018, we used very little technology in the business, most of our processes were manual, and there was no online technology utilised. Today all our software is cloud-based.”
“Our approach is to take someone less willing to learn (how to use a new piece of technology) and take the time to understand the barriers they face. When we understand what helps them ‘get it’, we’re much more successful in rolling out something new to the rest of our workforce.”
In 2019, ADTM acquired South Australian firm Makesafe Traffic Management – who were leaders in the field when it came to integrating new technology into their operations.
“We’ve always been very manual, but it’s increasingly necessary to keep our business aligned with improvements to technology. In our case, some of the biggest changes have been made to our HR processes. We now onboard staff faster using these systems, we’ve also used technology to improve our assets and facilities management and incident logs.”
“When we acquired Makesafe TM, we were strategic about gaining not only a South Australian location, but also new knowledge and technological expertise.”
In business, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you’ve planned, said Shaun. “Not long ago we made the decision to close our Werribee depot. We realised it was no longer the ideal location to continue to run our second fleet from. Rather than continuing to sustain it, we decided to look for a new base of operations in an area where our major clients were more likely to be planning future projects.”
“In 2018, we established our Head Office in Cranbourne West, covering the Southern suburbs and have a depot which has just opened in Ravenhall, which is strategically situated near Melbourne’s growing Western and Northern suburbs”
ADTM has always been passionate about Casey. From their first home-based business in Lynbrook, to their depots in Hallam and Cranbourne West.
“We’re a proud major partner of the Casey Demons football and netball clubs, Casey is in our DNA. This means being located locally, employing local and ensuring our vehicle fleets are both purchased and serviced locally. When we need to spend money on our business, we’re conscious of choosing to support the local economy.”
Luckily, ADTM hasn’t needed to seek out government support, but says working for government has been a big part of their business, in the form of government tenders.
“It’s a great feeling to win tenders for State and local government contracts, but we’re proudest of the fact that our contracts get renewed due to client satisfaction. Obviously, it’s not always about getting new business, but looking after the clients you have and building a great reputation from the way you treat them.”
I share my vision for the business with our team. Keeping them in the loop about where we are going ensures they are part of the journey and as excited as me about what’s around the corner.
I’ve always had amazing mentors. Having someone who’s walked in your shoes is absolutely vital, find someone who understands business and can relate to the challenges you’re facing – even put them into perspective.