A solid partnership with RDO the key to productivity

John Patten first imprinted his name in Victoria’s road-building industry in the early 2000s, starting Patten Pavement Services independently in 2003 as a road profiling contractor. As demand for their services grew, it didn’t take long before business expanded into asphalt laying, traffic management, civil construction and onsite crushing for major infrastructure players like Fulton Hogan and Downer Group.

Fast forward more than two decades, Patten Pavement Services, with more than 70 staff onboard, is one of Australia’s leading crushing contractors – and home to the largest profiler in the country at 3.8m wide – with a primary focus on civil jobs, including full rehabilitation of residential streets for VicRoads, and processing and recycling materials to go back into roads.

“We make a foam bitumen material which is 97% recycled and goes back into place of deep lift asphalt,” says John, “the whole recycling aspect of our business is important to me, being able to bring the majority of materials back to our yard and process it to go back into roads.”

Working with the complete fleet

Patten Pavement Services’ fleet is split between three areas of the business, comprising 10 road profilers, three floats and five Kenworth trucks on the profiling side of the business; 14t excavators, skid steers and Hamm rollers on the civil side of the business; and a Kleeman jaw crusher, KMA recycler, impact crushers, reclaimer screens, three John Deere 844L wheel loaders, two E330LC and one E380LC John Deere excavators on the crushing side.

“I like to be a one-stop-shop in terms of our gear. When all your gear is the same (or similar), it’s easy for your workshop to carry all the same filters and general maintenance is all similar. This is one of the reasons we’ve stuck with the John Deere construction gear, and same with the Wirtgen crushers and recyclers, which are now owned by Deere.”

John started running John Deere machines in 2019–shortly after RDO Equipment launched in Australia as the new official dealer partner for John Deere construction and forestry equipment – after interest in Deere’s construction was piqued after a trip to the United States.

“Everyone used to talk about the competition, and then you go to America and eight out of 10 machines onsite would be John Deere. That was very unusual for an Australian to see, because there wasn’t a lot of John Deere construction going on here yet, but it was obviously very well-liked over there and certainly caught my attention.”

“John Deere has always been the pick of the farmers here as the best gear, so we thought, with John Deere also buying the Wirtgen Group, we’d take a look into their construction line-up.”

John Deere Excavators
Patten Pavement Services’ John Deere Excavators

Good machines attract good people

The John Deere wheel loaders and excavators have been critical to Patten Pavement Services’ crushing operation, and they lean on today’s machine tech to make their work easier and days more productive.

“The weigh systems on the loaders are great, they’re trade-approved weight scales so that’s actually how we load out – we don’t have a weighbridge, so we use the loaders to weigh the material out. They’re really handy and have been fantastic for us.”

“We’re also just starting to use JDLink after seeing it on a recent trip to Germany – all the technology on the Deere’s is really good for servicing, it keeps you on top of things.”

At the end of the day, John’s philosophy is that good machines attract good people.

“Our operators are very happy with the machines, both the loaders and diggers. They’re very comfortable – probably better than driving half the new cars out there – and very nice to operate, that’s for sure.”

John Deere Wheel Loader
Patten Pavement Services’ John Deere 844L Wheel Loader

The simplicity and ease of use of the machines also helps when it comes to training new operators.

“They’re very simple to operate and very easy to teach people how to. You can spend about half an hour with new operators and they’ve already picked it up. And the machines are reliable, it just makes people want to come to work and operate them.”

It goes without saying that maintaining the equipment and keeping downtime to an absolute minimum is top priority for John, and one he leans heavily on his dealer to help manage to ensure the day-to-day operations continue to run smoothly.

“We like to really be on top of our maintenance because you can’t afford to have machines down, so you’ve really got to be in front of the game making sure you maintain things 110%.”

A ‘good marriage’ with RDO

It’s an absolute necessity for contractors to have a valuable partnership with their equipment dealer – something that Patten Pavement Services knows all too well and has struggled with in the past before forming a relationship with RDO Equipment.

“We’ve always struggled in the crushing space in getting spare parts from people, they often wasted our time. There’s plenty of machines out there that people want to sell you cheap, but no back-up and service to go with them, and you need that comfort to know it’s going to be there.”

“With the guys at RDO, we’ve found they’ve been very good to deal with, from service to having the right stock and spare parts being readily available – that’s what we need.

RDO Equipment and Patten Pavement Services
Jesse Lopes from RDO Equipment Melbourne and John Patten of Patten Pavement Services

“The thing you find is, you’re always going to have problems, but it’s how you deal with those problems – both you and your dealer. That’s what it’s all about, especially in the construction industry, time’s very valuable to us and we can’t afford to be down.”

“You need to have that confidence in your dealer, and RDO give that to us. They’re improving every day. It’s been really positive – a good marriage you could say.”

“Machines are machines, so it’s all about the reliability and service you get with them.”

Contact your local RDO team today on 1300 008 608 or find your local team’s contact details here.