Morris McFall’s entrepreneurial approach to whatever business he was in, whether it was farming, civil construction or fuel has seen the family involved for three generations. His youngest son Allan who is now leading the growing McFall Fuel family business based in Mount Maunganui took over the reins completely in 2016 when Morris retired.
After completing his degree at Otago University, Allan’s son Liam, has decided to learn the business and is currently a member of the driving team, driving in regions when required at and beyond the Mount base. Each of the three generations have all begun behind the wheel of a truck, out in front of customers, and learning about the fuel distribution business in a very practical way.
The business emerged out of McFall Enterprises which had a lengthy involvement of over 50 years in the civil construction sector in the Waipa District.
Like all entrepreneurs of his time when Morris ran into issues with fuel supply to remote sites for the contracting company’s machines, he found the solution was to have their own fuel truck. This led on to taking on home heat deliveries in the 1980’s for bp as a way of providing work over the winter season for key drivers in the civil construction business.
The home heat fuel deliveries in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and throughout the King Country were only just the beginning in the fuel industry. Farm deliveries followed in the Auckland provincial area for bp along with deliveries to Fullers Ferries at what is now known as the Wynyard Quarter. At this time McFall Fuel was only one division of the family business known as McFall Enterprises based in Te Awamutu. However, by 1997 McFall Fuel was established as a company in its own right.
“Moving the base to Mount Maunganui in the early 2000’s made sense,” said Allan, “with the bp Terminal so close and the purchase of Direct Fuels. We ran both companies out of the same office and eventually merged the two, and so increased our customer base. This saw a more balanced portfolio of sectors to deliver fuel to. A major rebrand prior to the 2015 merge suddenly saw McFall Fuel Trucks much more visible in the Auckland, Waikato/King Country, and Bay of Plenty with the fleet doubling in size.
“The next merge with Rural Fuel came in 2017 and took McFall Fuel almost North Island wide with coverage in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki/Wanganui, Wairarapa and Wellington. The final piece in the puzzle has been the recent move into Northland.”
The longstanding involvement of the family in the fuel distribution business and the people who make up the McFall Fuel team has grown from 35 to 165 plus over the 42 years. About 60% of the team are drivers, all of whom are trained to the highest possible standard.
“Our training programme is comprehensive for drivers and recently when I got behind the wheel to help out, I realised just how far we have come in terms of the professional standards we have come to expect,” said Allan.
The pride in the fleet is immense, and great care is taken to ensure that the gear is fit for purpose. This means having a range of applications so that these vehicles can be used to deliver into machinery and then into the larger commercial tanks.
The fuelcard business has grown to complement the bulk fuel business as part of our complete package which also includes fuel storage tanks, lubricants, and AdBlue. The range of quality products to meet our customers’ needs plus our aim to provide outstanding service is ingrained in the longstanding family culture.
“We are excited about our recycling and reuse programme run at the Mount Maunganui base, said Allan. “All three children have worked here when they were high school students.”
Collecting about 2,200 twenty litre containers a month, largely from forestry customers the business has seen more than half of these refilled with chain and bar after being cleaned. Some have been reused up to 15 times which has seen fewer containers being recycling. In addition, the waste oil is drained and collected to be used for other purposes.
The legacy of the first two generations has seen the creation of a strong North Island family business which provides outstanding service, quality products, first-class solutions for customers, along with a highly visible brand on a smart fleet of Volvos. The question now is where will the next generation take this unique family business.