How Krone is running its own race

From the July 2017 issue.

Not even the triple threat of a ‘hard Brexit’, rising raw material prices and a federal election can cloud Bernard Krone’s optimistic take on the future of German trailer manufacturing.

Until recently, the consensus view among economists was that Donald Trump’s economic stimulus package would help the US outstrip the rest of the developed world in 2017 – regardless of his controversial social media antics. But the ‘Trump bump’ has so far proved surprisingly feeble. Instead, the economic story of the year has been the slow and steady revival of the Eurozone.

According to Peter Praet, Chief Economist at the European Central Bank, economic growth in the single currency area was more than twice as fast in the first quarter of 2017 than in the US and has “shown a remarkable resilience” to external shocks – prompting experts to raise the continent’s growth forecast from 1.4 per cent last summer to more than 1.7 per cent in June.

Regardless of whether the recovery is just a pleasant blip, as the Financial Times cautioned, or more deeply rooted and self-sustaining, one company that has seemingly anticipated the signs of the time is German OEM, KRONE Commercial Vehicle SE.

Unfazed by political turf wars in the UK and neighbouring France – and with a refreshingly indifferent attitude towards the competition – the company has set its own pace for much of 2016-17 and is now benefitting from a finely balanced product portfolio, future-proof processes and a strong project pipeline.

Leading the business is 39-year-old Bernard Krone, who took the reins from his father, also named Bernard, in 2010 when he was only 33 years of age. Inspired by the hands-on family motto – while many wait for the times to change, Krone takes action – he set a complex corporate evolution process in motion that not only ensured Krone’s survival in the aftermath of the GFC, but also helped the company’s ailing trailer manufacturing division bounce back in record time.

As such, finding Krone in a strong position while many businesses are still trying to predict just where European manufacturing is headed doesn’t come as a big surprise, he told Global Trailer magazine.

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