With investments in increased capacity and portfolio diversity, the company has set its course for further growth at its box semi-trailer centre of expertise in Vreden. The plant currently produces around 100 vehicles a day. Expansion work was already completed in the last business year at the second box vehicle plant in Panevezys, Lithuania, where a FERROPLAST panel production facility will also be put into operation in October 2018. “As a result of these investments, Lithuania and Russia became our strongest markets for sales growth last year,” adds Schmitz, “while development work at our tipper trailer centre of expertise in Gotha has also gone extremely well and has yielded a satisfactory outcome following the restructuring process.” Within the Truck Bodies product line, the Toddin site will focus on the assembly of M.KO truck box bodies, A.KO box trailers and Z.KO central axle box body vehicles, while the Van Bodies product line at the Berlin site completes the company's portfolio with high-quality and sustainable transport units for ‘last mile’ delivery. The latest model in this division, the V.KO COOL, will be presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018. With this vehicle, Schmitz Cargobull Van Bodies now offers a solution for transporter box bodies for frozen and fresh freight logistics. The curtainsider semi-trailers from the Altenberge centre of expertise are characterised by even greater weight savings, while the standards of quality and robustness have remained the same.
The S.CS MEGA GENIOS curtainsider semi-trailer offers 300 kg extra payload compared to the previous model, while the S.CS UNIVERSAL curtainsider semi-trailer is available with an unladen weight of below 6t. The new POWER CURTAIN variant of the tarpaulin offers the body greater stability and strength, and also simplifies handling of the trailer in daily transport operations.
Schmitz Cargobull has continued development on its in-house refrigeration unit, presenting a new version of the S.CU transport refrigeration unit (Semitrailer Cooling Unit) with a cutting-edge common rail diesel engine. The new refrigeration unit generation offers the same high cooling performance and precise temperature management but reduces fuel consumption by up to 10% while offering weight savings of 50 kg, and also meets the legal requirements for Stage V. The electric refrigeration unit, the S.CUe, will also be showcased for the first time at the IAA 2018. The electrically powered S.CUe (electric Semitrailer Cooling Unit) does not generate any emissions and is designed especially for use in distribution transport.
“We are experiencing strong growth in our service divisions. With the new generation of our TrailerConnect trailer telematics system, we are already able to offer our customers the infrastructure needed for future communication with data transmitters on transported freight. This means that our trailers are already ‘digital ready’ and prepared for the future of transport logistics. As well as improving the efficiency of our production processes, products and value added services, we are also looking at new disruptive business models. What’s more, we are working with our customers to create solutions for digitalising fleet management, and transport and logistics processes. In view of these changes, we launched operations at our new start-up KUBIKx in Berlin and Münster back in the first quarter of 2018. This year also saw us acquire all shares in the start-up TruckIN, which we integrated into KUBIKx,” explains Schmitz.
The topic of total cost of ownership (TCO) is becoming increasingly important for customers. “Our extensive range of services and comprehensive infrastructure provide us with a solid basis for transparent, low running costs over the entire product life-cycle. With over 35,000 active telematics systems, 1,700 Service Partners across Europe, over 68,000 spare parts available within 24 hours, and more than 3,500 Full Service contracts signed last year, there is more than enough evidence that we are already on the right track,” discloses Schmitz.
Under its Strategy 2025, Schmitz Cargobull is aiming to become the global market leader for box semi-trailers and platform semi-trailers, as well as the European market leader for tipper trailers. To achieve these goals, it will be pursuing three main avenues: Firstly, to expand business by increasing its market share in established markets; secondly, to expand on geographical scale using existing products; and thirdly, to develop new products close to its existing portfolio for the European market. “For the current 2018/2019 financial year, we are planning to produce around 67,000 vehicles and generate turnover 2.4 billion euros,” Schmitz asserts. Another major goal is to increase its profit margin to 4.8%. Schmitz notes, “Following the rise in commodity prices, material costs and energy rates, we failed to reach our turnover targets for 2017/2018, despite the introduction of price adjustments”. To battle the trend of rising costs, Purchasing will be pursuing global sourcing on a more rigorous basis.