Barker Trailers experience and innovation on display


What started as a general engineering business back in 1974, Barker trailers is now a major manufacturer of world class semi-trailers with a total factory size of over 30,000 square metres.
Based in Victoria, Barker Trailers manufacture across two different plants; its Maryborough plant completes the steel work and builds the chassis and the Woodend plant finishes the product with paint and assembly. The trailers are designed with working drawings produced at Woodend. Trailer frames are built “from the ground up” by their team of highly skilled boiler makers and welders. Once this stage is completed, the frames are grit blasted and painted – ready for fit out and delivery to the customer.
Scott Barker, Manufacturing and Corporate Manager, has been in the business of building trailers for over 30 years having entered the business as an apprentice welder, and for close to a decade has used Glasurit® refinish products to add the premium colour to their builds. “The expectation in paint quality and overall quality has grown in the industry over the years, as trucks and trailers have improved and evolved,” said Scott.
Like any industry, changes over a 40-year period are inevitable and the need to upgrade equipment is a necessity. “We didn’t have an exhaust system years ago as we use to spray in the sheds, so spray booths were a big investment along with plasma cutting and grit blasting,” said Scott. Throughout this time Barker Trailers also implemented state-of-the-art 3D modelling software and installed an impressive 15 metre computer controlled plasma steel cutting machine.

Barker Trailers have built a solid reputation for their first-class products and service and whilst the nature of their business has stayed the same, they have continued to grow, “Business hasn’t changed much over the years, we just got bigger,” said Scott Barker, “our business predominantly aims at the same custom market”.
With the end goal of securing a customer for life, Barker Trailers hold the client in the highest of regard knowing it is they who will assess the final product and further services and ultimately utilise their skills and services again. “The quality of our work and the after sales support that we provide is what we credit for our repeat business,” said Scott.
With quality work the quality of staff must match, Barker Trailers employs around 200 people with close to 25 apprentices at any one time. Barker Trailers are an active participant in apprenticeship training schemes and bring on 7-8 apprentices each year. Whilst in the car refinish industry some businesses struggle to recruit apprentices, Barker Trailers have been fortunate. “We have 3 types of apprentices, the welding and fabrication, painting and also body builder apprentices” said Scott, “We have times when finding apprentices can be tough, but we have had a pretty good run for the last few years.”
To keep abreast of the latest industry innovations and designs Barker Trailers are regular exhibitors at the bi-annual Truck Show, which was successfully held in May at the Brisbane Conference & Convention Centre. According to the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), over 33,000 visitors came through the door of the show which marked its 50th anniversary.
“The trailers we had on display at the Truck Show were built specifically for the show. We have exhibited for at least the last 20 years,” said Scott, “the show is successful for us as it exposes us to new customers and helps us make relationships with customers who we often don’t have interaction with apart from over the phone.”
With a production run of approximately 500 trailers per year the future of Barker Trailers will continue to innovate and grow well into the future. For more information visit www.barkertrailers.com.au