Hold the line

A drop in trailer demand shaped the 2019-20 financial year for Schmitz Cargobull. The CEO of the leading German OEM, Andreas Schmitz, reflects on the state of the industry and how it continued to prevail under trying circumstances.

In the 2019-20 financial year (1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020), Schmitz Cargobull produced 46,124 vehicles and achieved sales of 1.87 billion euro with 5,700 employees.

“Unfortunately, the declining demand since mid-2018 continued during the financial year,” said Schmitz Cargobull CEO, Andreas Schmitz. “The slight market recovery in early 2020 was then halted by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, we successfully implemented the necessary savings without cutting back on the core team.”

With an average market share of approximately 25 per cent, Schmitz Cargobull has maintained its position as the leading trailer manufacturer in Europe.

“Despite the 27.4 per cent decrease in the number of units produced, the 18.4 per cent downturn in turnover compared with the previous year was less severe,” said Andreas Schmitz.

The demand for the higher-value box and tipper vehicles declined less than in the highly competitive curtainsider segment.

“The entire Schmitz Cargobull team was able to keep earnings before taxes and depreciation at an acceptable level in the last financial year thanks to savings made as part of ‘Lean to Compete’,” said Andreas Schmitz. “We also made price adjustments that are now having an effect.”

In view of the uncertain conditions caused by the coronavirus, Schmitz Cargobull advised it was too difficult to provide further guidance.

“After a sharp slump in March, demand has recovered more quickly than initially expected,” said Andreas Schmitz.

In September, it was reported to be possible to scale back the reduced working hours that had been implemented. Depending on the development of the pandemic situation and its impact on the economy, the forecast for the units produced is between 30,000 and 50,000 vehicles, with sales of between 1.2 and 2.0 billion euro.

Innovations and services form a basis for the planned growth. Schmitz Cargobull consistently introduces and implements these in its capacity as a pioneer in the trailer market.

“As part of our 100 per cent SMART strategy, we have equipped all S.KO COOL SMART trailers with the TrailerConnect telematics system as a standard feature,” said Andreas Schmitz.

This strategy has continued in 2020 with the standard installation of a new telematics system in the curtainsiders and dry freighters. As a result, Schmitz Cargobull ensures that its customers retain their data sovereignty throughout the entire transport chain. This enables the best transport through networked products and services.

“In addition to data, ecology plays an increasingly important role: with the EcoDuo concept, we successfully presented an ecologically effective combination of two standard trailers for long-distance transport last year,” said Andreas Schmitz.

This vehicle concept has already been tested successfully in various European countries and Schmitz Cargobull is committed to the broad acceptance of this solution.

Reliable vehicles and comprehensive service have proven to be a competitive advantage, especially in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The entire logistics sector and especially the drivers have made an essential contribution to supplying the population during this time. Schmitz Cargobull has taken comprehensive protective measures at all of its production plants. In compliance with the official requirements, it has reliably continued to deliver vehicles at all locations without disruption.

“In addition, our 1,700 service partners have been absolutely dedicated to ensuring that the customers are able to continue their regular transport operations as smoothly as possible with regard to maintenance and repairs,” said Andreas Schmitz.

Secure supply chains have proven their value during the lockdown according to the OEM.
In the past financial year, systematically developing and strengthening the supply chain was a major focus.

“International multi-sourcing, multi-product plants (MPP), order-neutral and Group-wide supply management, together with the on-going expansion of the central logistics hub, increase flexibility and reduce lead times throughout the network,” said Andreas Schmitz.

The solid and simple new structures proved particularly effective at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, when the lockdown temporarily disrupted supply chains in numerous sectors and countries.

“As a consequence, we were the only trailer manufacturer able to ensure a continuous supply of materials for our plants and maintain our ability to deliver to our customers,” said Andreas Schmitz, adding that in the medium term, the Executive Board continues to pursue the core objectives of Strategy 2025. “Specifically, this means being the world’s leading manufacturer of curtainsiders and refrigerated vehicles, the European market leader for trailers and target sales of more than 2.5 billion euro.”

Schmitz Cargobull renews leadership in Denmark
Flemming Laasholdt took over as Managing Director of the Danish subsidiary, Schmitz Cargobull Danmark A/S, on 1 October 2020.

He succeeds Tim Warmeling who moved to the Schmitz Cargobull production site in Vreden as head of product management at the S.KO reefer semi-trailer product line.

After graduating in Business Economics at the Haderslev Business School, Laasholdt held various positions in different companies in the Danish truck and trailer sector with a focus on sales and services. He has been Sales Director of Scania Danmark A/S since 2015.

“Flemming Laasholdt has practical experience in the commercial vehicle sector owing to his sales and management knowledge and his role as Works Manager for many years,” said Schmitz Cargobull Director – Northwest Region, Gregor Rein.

“He will find a well established sales organisation with excellent employees and long-standing customer contacts at Schmitz Cargobull Danmark.

“The company also supplies new and innovative trailer solutions and a comprehensive package of services. Trailers for the Danish markets have been equipped with the company’s own TrailerConnect telematics system since 2004, and so Denmark plays a real pioneering role in Europe.

“The entire team in Denmark will continue to write a success story on behalf of its customers and Schmitz Cargobull,” he said.

Woodside Haulage doubles its Schmitz Cargobull fleet
Logistics and supply chain management business, Woodside Haulage, acquired 20 new fixed roof Schmitz Cargobull curtainsiders last year to transport goods between the UK and Ireland.

The new assets join an existing fleet of 20 Schmitz Cargobull curtainsiders, used to transport a variety of goods including retail, FMCG, construction, packaging and recycling to manufacturers, retailers and industry.

“We ship goods on ferries and our trailers are worked rigorously and extensively on an intensive schedule, so we need absolute confidence they are of the highest quality,” said Woodside Haulage Managing Director, Mark Woodside.

“The Schmitz Cargobull build quality really is second to none.

“The fully galvanised chassis gives full protection against corrosion and we know they will maintain a good cosmetic appearance throughout their entire life.

“We have trailers that remain in service for up to 15 years and we are confident this will be the case with these latest additions,” he said.

Schmitz Cargobull’s high-tech modular chassis is a mix of galvanised steel and aluminium and comes with a 10-year warranty against rust-through.

Each trailer is also specified with additional lighting and reversing sensors.

“Safety is another key factor for us, and we’ve added extra lighting and sensors to the trailers to make sure we are maximising driver welfare and load security during transit,” said Woodside.

“For us, the fact that all Schmitz Cargobull products go through rigorous testing gives us assurance that the assets are of the highest quality and safety standards,” he said.

The Schmitz Cargobull Validation Centre (CVC) puts all prototypes through a range of tests under a mix of tough conditions, including using hydropulsers to simulate distances of one million kilometres across different road types.

Woodside Haulage is part of Woodside Logistics Group – a family run business with 50 years of experience in professional transport and logistics solutions across Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and the rest of the world. The business has depots in Ballynure, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Preston.


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