Full order books, business already coming in for 2019 and a positive outlook generally for the new year – that’s the good news from leading South African trailer and truck building company, Serco.
Managing Director Clinton Holcroft attributes the continued impressive business performance to tight cost control and the company’s Protec Steel refrigerated vehicles
“People in the industry continue to be impressed with the durability of the coated steel panels. Added to that they also like the newly introduced rice grain aluminium floor which has proved to be a popular high wearing feature,” said Holcroft.
Other features include fully welded aluminium scuffs which create a durable, waterproof and high strength structure; and new door seals made of an extruded rubber material, providing an excellent thermal barrier preventing the leakage of cold air. Another advantage is that repair costs to the coated steel vehicles are relatively low.
Holcroft said the slow economy and volatile rand had put a lot of pressure on Serco in 2018 but there had been positive growth for the company thanks to its advanced panel manufacturing technology. “Serco has also created new positions for a Process Improvement Manager and a Quality Engineer to build on the continuous improvement culture in the company.
“Serco is ending the year on a positive note with full order books while orders for the New Year are looking positive.
“We expect next year to be similar to 2018 and are well placed, well equipped and determined to make a success of it. The economic forecast for the South African economy for 2019 is another year of marginal growth, but we remain optimistic, especially with efforts being made to root out government corruption and the recent investment summit which I believe will combine to help create a more enabling relationship between business and government,” he said.
“Serco will continue working with customers to find tangible solutions for transport challenges, reducing costs and improving efficiency. Our new Protec steel panels are the answer for improved durability and reducing long term running cost.”
Holcroft said customers were increasingly anxious to improve the thermal performance of their refrigerated vehicles. “With our new injected foam technique for manufacturing panels there’s more than a 20% improvement in thermal performance over our previous model. The significance of this is a reduced load on the fridge – – undoubtedly a big plus factor for customers.”
He said the drought in parts of the country over the past year had impacted on the volume of agricultural products and hence perishable goods transport during the year, however, with improving rainfall he was optimistic for a positive outlook for 2019.
On the issue of sky-rocketting fuel costs, Holcroft said transporters remained under pressure but were hoping for some reversals in 2019. “The high cost of fuel, however, creates opportunities for innovation. Serco is focusing on reducing trailer tare weight and we recently completed the manufacture of two prototype semi-trailers with full aluminium facings using our injected panel technology. The result is a reduction in weight of more than 500kg over our standard model.
“Increased challenges lead to increased innovation to remain in the market!”
In the area of further expansion for the company, Serco was keen to grow sales in neighbouring countries and would explore ways to offer improved support for products already operating there.
Said Holcroft: “Serco is optimistic about the future of South Africa due to the positive changes occurring in Government and the efforts being made to achieve better alignment between Government and business to grow the economy. With the continuing challenging conditions, we are committed to growing our capabilities to compete against global competitors and raise local standards to better serve our clients.
“With the new appointments made recently in the Serco team and our focus on continuous improvement, we are confident the company will go from strength to strength.”