The Internet of Transport

From the February 2017 issue.

German component specialist BPW used the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany, as a platform to showcase the company’s sprawling innovation drive and push the Tesla-fication of the transport equipment industry at large.

Much has changed at BPW, a modest, somewhat conservative German manufacturing business, since Carlo Lazzarini took on the mantle of Member of the Management Board, Sales Trailer Equipment & Solutions, in 2014.
Traditionally focused on the axle and suspension market, he helped the Wiehl-based family business finalise the transition into a modern full-service agency that is involved in almost every aspect of the commercial vehicle value chain – apart from assembling the actual truck or trailer itself.

Next to manufacturing axle and suspension systems, BPW is now also active in the telematics field and exploring the service and parts market, for example, making for a distinctly different brand experience that is more akin to Tesla or Google than an incumbent engineering firm.

With the expansion of BPW’s portfolio also came a notable change in language and attitude that has not only seen the company talk extensively about issues like digitisation or big data, but actively invest in the field. The ensuing business model has been centred on disrupting the status quo by acting swiftly and decisively and publically manifested itself for the first time in the guise of a new product line-up presented in Hanover. Global Trailer met Carlo Lazzarini at the Show to find out just how Tesla-fied BPW truly is.

Q: When we last spoke in the lead up to the 2014 edition of IAA, you said ‘leadership must heed the reinvention imperative’. How have you managed to reinvent the BPW brand since then?
A: As I said back in 2014, BPW has always understood how to balance a long and proud tradition with innovation leadership, so luckily I had a good foundation to build on. Since I arrived, my job has become more and more systemic in nature, helping BPW evolve from a product-focused business into a service-focused one. Today’s transport businesses are looking for a different kind of supplier, someone who can actively help them optimise transport and loading processes. OEMs, on the other hand, are looking for someone who can help them streamline production processes and professionalise. As a result, we created a two-fold strategy that helped us become a mobility partner for the fleet market, and a system partner for the OEM one. To me, that’s quite a comprehensive reinvention process.

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