Securing a major contract with a national supermarket chain was just the start for Goldstar… gearing up to deliver on its obligations came next. And that’s where NAB’s specialist offering and working capital solutions helped set them up for success.
In the transport world, a multimillion-dollar deal with a major supermarket is the very definition of moving into the big league. But, when you’re a family-owned operator, such a capital-intensive step up comes with some big challenges.
For Goldstar Transport, it meant working around the clock to find, fit out and finance 40 prime movers and hire 70-plus new employees in under three months, all while COVID-19 kept Western Australia’s borders closed.
The high-speed hustle began in February 2021 after the trucking firm won a contract to deliver freight from the distribution centre of a major national supermarket to more than 70 metropolitan supermarkets.
Founded in 2004 by mechanic-turned-haulier Sean Carren, Goldstar has morphed from a one-man band into a transport and logistics powerhouse with a 300-plus workforce and a client base that spans the resources, mining services and retail sectors across WA.
On the strength of a series of smaller deals with the supermarket group, Carren decided to throw his hat in the ring when the metropolitan supermarkets tender came up in late 2018.
Although it was the biggest contract the firm had pursued by some margin – an average week on the road for Woolworths supermarkets involves over 1000 loads – Carren and the team were confident Goldstar could deliver the goods – quite literally.
“I have large aspirations for our business and our people,” he says. “We’re incredibly proud of the effort they put in, the service they provide and their willingness to go the extra mile for customers. With good people, you can do anything and I knew we could do it. After working with us for several years on other jobs, Woolworths management were familiar with our track record and they believed we could do it too.”
Let the hard work begin
Once the call came in that they’d won the contract it was all hands to the pump – once everyone came down from the ceiling. “I was pretty excited; it took two years of hard work to get us to that point and everyone who’d had a hand in it was over the moon,” Carren says.
Amassing the required resources so Goldstar could start delivering by late May proved a major logistical feat.
“It took some doing – nobody has 40 trucks just sitting in a yard!” Carren points out.
“There was a whole list of suppliers who had to really come to the party to bring everything together on time. The vehicle supplier pulled out all the stops – they arranged for some of the trucks to be delivered direct from Germany to Fremantle – and then the fit-out, the GPS and turntable installations and the signwriting were all done by local people. I was really keen to make sure other WA businesses shared some of the benefits of a deal this big.”
Meanwhile, finding and onboarding an additional 70-plus drivers and administrators kept Goldstar’s human resources department working overtime.
“Again, all locals because no-one from outside WA was coming into the state at that time,” Carren says.
Backing it in with NAB
In the transport sector, large opportunities tend to come with large price tags. In addition to finance for its fleet of new rigs, Goldstar needed access to working capital to cover an array of costs associated with the Woolworths contract, including wages, subcontractor payments and fuel.
“There’s a whole extra layer of support the business required to be able to make that leap to the next level,” Carren says.
Partnering with its NAB business banker and a Trade and Working Capital specialist allowed Goldstar to access that support – fast.
Deep knowledge of the logistics industry, the WA market and Carren’s business enabled the bank to provide a funding solution to underpin the contract at speed, according to NAB Trade and Working Capital specialised banking executive Shara Tatam.
“Goldstar’s relationship with NAB is very strong,” Tatam says. “As soon as Sean gave his business banker the heads up that he was pursuing this opportunity, NAB made sure the right people were engaged at the bank. The specialist Trade and Working Capital team at NAB were able to draw on their knowledge of the industry and Goldstar to ascertain the key drivers in Sean’s working capital requirement. This enabled NAB to structure a solution designed to provide Goldstar with sufficient liquidity allowing them to deliver on new contracts whilst continuing to fulfil their existing contracts”.
“We’ve been banking with NAB since 2017 and we worked closely with them in the months prior to us winning the deal,” Carren says. “They knew we had aspirations; the team there understood our vision and the effort we’d put into the tender. We had all our ducks in order before we sat down to talk and they could see our numbers stacked up.
NAB did a fantastic job of pulling together the full funding package of equipment, invoice finance and working capital solutions, and getting it over the line quickly, so we could start delivering by May 2021.”
Keeping Goldstar’s ambition rolling
While the Woolworths contract has helped Goldstar increase its turnover between the 2020 and 2022 financial years, Carren and the team have no plans to put the brakes on as far as further expansion is concerned.
“We’ll continue to bed down this deal and look after our people, and then we’ll keep moving forward,” he says. “There are plenty of opportunities here in WA and, with the right team and backing from NAB, we’re well placed to address them.”
Speak to your local NAB Trade and Working Capital specialist to help drive your business forward.
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