As Managing Director of Western Star Trucks Australia/MAN Automotive Imports, Paul has had extensive experience in the automotive industry – from his qualifications and performance with a leading vehicle importer, then to a role as Chief Financial Officer with a chemical company which introduced him to the truck business after he was headhunted by Brambles Industrial Services to take up a high profile commercial role.
The company gave Paul an opportunity to move into the fleet business, gaining extensive exposure to heavy vehicles and operations across a broad spectrum of applications. In his role Paul is highly regarded for his no-nonsense approach to business and for exhibiting a personal approach to every aspect of his activities.
Paul was appointed to the role of Managing Director of the Transpacific Industries Group Commercial Vehicles division in July 2004, responsible for Western Star Trucks Australia and MAN Automotive Imports, and continues to be a people person with a reputation for being hands-on – a fact that is somewhat unusual among the ranks of many in the trucking industry’s high profile roles. At truck shows, open days, product demonstration events and charity fundraisers you will more often find him at the front line, instantly approachable and genial with a sense of humour and a genuine interest in what is happening around him.
It is this approach that makes him stand apart from others, but he is acutely aware that business is exactly that, business, and for a company to be successful there is a real need to concentrate on growing success in what is a highly competitive world and not to waver from striving to achieve all-important goals.
“This is a people business and to be successful you have to have highly professional persons who are passionate about what they do. Western Star and MAN people are exactly that, passionate about the products, technical and professional and we are very fortunate to have such a team in place,” Paul says with conviction.
“When I came to this business we had a reasonably high staff turnover and I had to take a long, hard look at our operations and make some tough decisions about the people and dealer network. It was a matter of making our business capable of growth and we concentrated on establishing a network of full dealers, sales, parts and service, this meant negotiating an amicable parting with some. This was supplemented by a significant growth of parts and service dealers as well.
“A comprehensive dealer standards program was established and it has paid dividends. Today we see expanding volumes and our dealers now have much larger businesses in their own right offering high performance customer service. In all we have developed a highly passionate team with a high level of pride in customer service and the quality of the products they represent,” Paul tells.
He says at the end of the day it is what customers think that is vitally important, ensuring complete satisfaction with confidence and doing things right the first time, leaving no stone unturned.
“If any customer has a single issue they can pick up the phone and call me directly, we have open communications at Western Star/MAN Automotive Imports with a single desire to ensure that any reasonable customer is completely satisfied,” Paul states.
He is not shy of the hard work in any sector of the business and tells he is always willing to roll up his sleeves and wade into the ‘muck’ as deep as anybody else. It is this attitude that makes him popular with everybody within the organisation as well as customers ranging from one truck operators to large fleets.
“Again it is all about people, and keeping it personal is a healthy and positive strategy. I like to have our people enjoy coming to work and be keen to adapt quickly to industry and customer needs, in other words be able to put the customer hat on and deliver what a reasonable person would expect.
“All of our people are focussed on that and deliver a quick response to customer requirements. We aim to continue this in all aspects of our business and what we do tomorrow will be nothing like we did yesterday, ensuring the value we place on our customers is always at the forefront of what we do,” Paul says.
The focus is obviously a winner for the company considering the market share indicators that have seen exponential growth in sales for both Western Star and MAN in recent times, and with new products such as Futon light commercials and Dennis Eagle from England, designed to meet requirements of the refuse industry, coming under the company umbrella the scope of vehicles available is broadening, providing new challenges for the team.
“When I came to the company seven years ago, Western Star held five percent of the market and MAN just one percent and how that scene has changed,” Paul comments. “The figures now put Western Star in the upper sector on the sales ladder and MAN is making considerable gains at five percent. MAN buses have been an enormous success too with market share doubling in the worst economic climate. I am proud to say that in the specific market segments in which we compete we are always number one or two.
“Growth is certainly attributable to my team and the fact we offer products ideally suited to customer requirements. We are very growth focussed and the company is full of doers who aim to offer the best in every aspect of the business,” Paul says proudly.
As one can imagine Paul Glavac travels extensively overseeing the operations of the Western Star and MAN brands in both the Australian and New Zealand markets and while there is little time for leisure activities, he has found a way to relax that is also growing in popularity in the truck world.
“I have a Harley Davidson and really enjoy riding when I have the opportunity to do so, I find it offers absolute stress relief and gives you a new lease on life. Actually I am passionate about cycle riding and hope to bike through the US and Canada again. I also like to take time out at a holiday retreat on the beach with my wife but there is not a lot of spell time,” Paul smiles. In the meantime you will find Paul working closely with his team and customers on a very personal level, with time for all while always keeping his eye on the business ball.