Every body can make a difference

From the November 2015 issue.

Capitalising on the global e-commerce boom, the truck body building community has found a way to turn the tide on an otherwise stagnating market.

When American poet Henry David Thoreau famously stated that all misfortune is but a stepping-stone to fortune, he most certainly didn’t have the transport equipment industry in mind. But in the face of a slowing Chinese economy and on-going political quarrel in Europe, his 150-year-old observation is now seeing an unlikely revival in the truck body building community.

Scarred by the Global Financial Crisis and shaken by a shortfall in productivity growth that is weighing on economic expansion all around the world, the global truck body building fraternity would have every reason to renounce faith in the notion of on-going growth and prosperity: Despite freight volumes recovering and money remaining cheap, equipment turnover is still slow and sales remain volatile – a toxic mix for a market comprised of regionally focused Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) that mainly service municipal/government customers and private transport businesses, where the macro-economic setting is the primary determinant of demand.

But, instead of letting negativity become the new normal, the industry has turned adversity into opportunity by catering to changing consumer behaviour and tapping into future growth markets like online shopping, which amounted to more than $1.2 trillion (€1 trillion) of global revenue in 2013 alone.

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