A versatile partnership

J & M Schembri has built a long-standing relationship with large construction equipment manufacturer Wirtgen Group, one which has flourished thanks to the transparency and flexibility of that partnership.For more than two decades, New South Wales-based asphalt and excavation specialist J & M Schembri has been a versatile provider of civil construction and maintenance services for asphalt and concrete surfacing.

Started by Joe and Brad Schembri and based out of Berkshire Park in Sydney, the family-run business services a range of clients in Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and the wider New South Wales region.

As a smaller contractor, J & M Schembri has strived to be flexible in how it delivers high-quality pavements and caters to a variety of customer needs.

For at least 15 of those years, Wirtgen Group machinery has played an important role in how the company delivers those projects.

J & M Schembri has bought 16 machines from the Wirtgen Group range during this time, with five Vögele pavers, three Wirtgen profilers and seven Hamm rollers currently comprising the German manufacturer’s machines within the contractor’s fleet. It took delivery of its latest Vögele paver this past November.

Director Joe Schembri says the firm has just one road crew, but the range of high-end Wirtgen machinery at its disposal gives it flexibility when tackling a wide range of pavement jobs.

“Every job is different, whether it’s big or small, and we need machines of this calibre for them,” says Mr. Schembri.

J & M Schembri prides itself on delivering high-quality services partnered with a strong work ethic, heavily supported by the family dynamic of the company. Mr. Schembri’s son Adam, for instance, has been the firm’s Foreman for more than 10 years, and even Brad’s wife also works in the industry.

Despite being from seemingly different worlds – one a small, family-owned business, and the other a German-based global manufacturer – J & M Schembri and Wirtgen Group have built a versatile relationship and that is reflected by the flexible nature of their customer/client partnership.

By using all of the Wirtgen Group’s road technology brands, J & M Schembri has one direct contact to a machinery supplier, rather than three or four individual accounts or contracts with different manufacturing firms. This not only brings the benefit of greater buying power for smaller firms, such as J & M Schembri, but it also adds convenience to the equation and helps grow an already established relationship.

“The technicians are great. Our rapport with Ralf Peter and Greg Hill from the service department is fantastic, we’ve always had a good relationship with the sales guys and Stuart (Torpy, Wirtgen Australia General Manager – Road Technologies) has always looked after us,” he says. Mr. Schembri is quick to highlight the rapport between the two firms and how it underpins good outcomes for both sides. He says the relationship between his firm and Wirtgen Group is successful due to the transparency and flexibility from both parties.

The global manufacturer maintains a local relationship with the contractor, enabling Mr. Schembri and his team to go straight to the New South Wales-based Wirtgen technicians and workshop. “If we ever have a problem, we can call their experts directly and they’re out here immediately – Wirtgen’s workshop helps us a lot,” says Mr. Schembri. “Other companies can drag out the process, but Wirtgen doesn’t. If you’ve got a problem they’ll fix it straight away.”

Likewise, he says Wirtgen’s aftersales and spare parts services have proved invaluable to his company, especially as the service is fast and efficient, enabling his machines to be up and running quickly should a problem occur. While there have been times where unforseen demand has meant part supplies were low, the local Wirtgen team has always done everything they could to help.

“If there’s something that’s broken, I can just call the workshop and they’ll get a part over to us the next day,” he adds. “If they haven’t got a part, they’ll strip it off another machine.”

He says his road crew enjoys using the Wirtgen Group machinery too, commenting that they’re straightforward to learn on and easy to work with.

Mr. Schembri says that using the Wirtgen branded road construction machinery has helped with his company’s approach to quality pavement construction and maintenance. He praises the technological prowess of the different machines, even recommending them to other contractors where he can. “We told one of our sub-contractors, who is now starting up his own operation, to buy a Hamm roller when he gets around to it,” he says. “I see our relationship with Wirtgen continuing for a long, long time.”

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