Edscha Trailer Systems introduced sliding roofs to the market in 1969. Today, it is a technologically leading company and the largest player in sliding roofs for trailers in the world, with a global market share of more than 40 per cent.
Internationally leading forerunner
Edscha Trailer Systems has the market’s broadest product portfolio for the conversion of tarpaulin-covered trailers, with a focus on trailers for road transport. The division also has a product range for railway cars and tipper vehicles. The Edscha Trailer Systems and Sesam brands are well known and strong, among both customers and end users. The common denominator for all the products is that they offer effective, flexible protection of freighted goods while also increasing the second-hand value of trailers for owners.
Edscha Trailer Systems’ highest sales volume is linked to the production of simple yet functional roof solutions for standard trailers – a segment that is dominated by three German trailer manufacturers: Schmitz, Krone and Kögel. These trailer manufacturers target end customers ordering larger volumes, such as leasing fleets and large forwarding agents.
Tailored customer solutions for trailers represent a fragmented niche with a large number of strong players locally and regionally. Significantly lower volumes of orders are placed with a higher degree of customisation.
Approximately 100,000 tarpaulin-covered trailers are produced worldwide annually, most of which have a sliding-roof system. Demand for trailers with sliding roofs relies on the overall trailer fleet’s size and growth. As with the truck market as a whole, this is in turn controlled by the economic situation and demand for freight. However, the investment cycles for the trailer market are longer than for the rest of the truck market.
Demand for sliding roofs for railway cars and tipper vehicles normally fluctuates significantly year to year, but also for these products, the underlying driver is the economic situation.
Interview with Volker Biesenbruck
"Customers want a stable and reliable business partner"
Division Manager at Edscha Trailer Systems
2017 was not as strong as last year. Why is that?
Overall, 2017 was a relatively good year for Edscha Trailer Systems, even if we fell short of the levels set in 2016. One reason for this is that two of our key suppliers experienced delivery problems, which gave rise to extra costs for us, though these problems have now been overcome. We also incurred some costs for the continued implementation of our new production line, which is based on a modular concept. During 2017, both the old and the new product range were available to our customers, which has temporarily burdened internal processes and led to an increase in costs. The new modular range of products will be introduced among most customers during 2018, which will reduce both inventory value and complexity in production.
What opportunities do you see with the digital development in the industry?
It is important to be aware of the level required to develop the company. I believe progress for us will take place gradually, as changes create new duties and tasks for which employees will need training.
What are the key success factors for meeting increasingly tougher competition in the market?
To build long-term relationships, you must offer more than only products at low prices. We can see that customers are more interested in a stable and reliable business partner with a good mix of strong brands, products at the cutting edge, good service and cost-effective solutions.
In 2017, you launched a sliding roof for tipper vehicles. What is your next step?
Our new sliding roofs for tipper vehicles underwent widespread testing in 2017 and were well received by the market. During the year we secured our first OEM contract, which laid the foundation for continuing growth in the segment. In 2018, we are launching an electric version of the roof that we hope will help our customers to further streamline haulage work. We have also begun to develop a system offering in this area, and initiated assembly and service training for service partners of the tipper vehicle roofs. The aftermarket for this type of roof is substantial, which is, of course, an advantage to us.