Wielton’s plan of attack

From the November 2017 issue.

Polish OEM Wielton is on a mission to fundamentally reshuffle the European trailer manufacturing market. Global Trailer was granted a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s ambitious growth strategy.

The acquisition of long-standing French OEM Fruehauf in mid-2015 may have established Wielton in the top echelon of European trailer building, but it wasn’t until the surprise take-over of German company Langendorf in March this year that the Polish brand truly came out of stealth mode and revealed where the journey was taking it.

Despite happening less publicly than the Fruehauf deal, the Langendorf acquisition turned out to be the centrepiece of a strategic growth plan leading through to 2020, as Wielton Group CEO, Mariusz Golec, revealed in the wake of the announcement.

It was the first time Wielton’s Chief Executive openly addressed the company’s big picture strategy since he was elected to replace Andrew Szczepek in 2015 – marking the beginning of a new era for both himself and the Wielton organisation as a whole.
Having kept a low profile during his first two years in the role, Golec must have made a conscious decision to wait for the Langendorf deal to come through before sharing his future vision with the world – a vision that many in the industry may have anticipated, but that has hardly ever been articulated so clearly.

Wielton, he said, won’t settle for anything less than the number three spot in Europe. The fact that Golec chose Germany – Europe’s largest trailer market – for the announcement only emphasised the gravity of the occasion.

Langendorf is a key piece in Golec’s long-term plan, with the CEO expecting the German tipper expert to boost annual turnover from €50 million in 2016 to around €80 million come 2020. In line with that, he is hoping to increase the company’s production volume from 1,000 units a year to around 2,500. In 2017, the number will already rise to 1,100, he tells Global Trailer.

To get there, Langendorf will get full access to Wielton’s new R&D Centre in Wielun, Poland, with both companies expecting a “smart exchange” of parts and components to reduce purchasing costs across the group. In a move to complement the Wielton portfolio, not challenge it, Langendorf will continue to focus on the design and manufacture of tippers, glass transport trailers and low loaders, and use the parent company’s established network to expand eastward.

Wielton, meanwhile, will make the most out of Langendorf’s existing network of service points in Germany, which will become sales support points for the Wielton brand, too – thus handing the Polish manufacturer a complete sales network at one fell swoop.
According to Golec, Wielton’s expansion across Europe won’t just be based on acquiring well-known names in the industry, though. A second focus area is “improving the core brand” by equipping Wielton trailers with the best possible components and keeping a close eye on production quality.

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