One of the leading box manufacturers and Europe’s market leader air cargo semi-trailer manufacturer Talson has taken the 3rd place at Trailer Innovation 2019 “Concept” category with its innovation, Talson Secure Box.
Talson Secure Box is developed according to Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) regulations and supports the safe transport of valuable cargo. Talson Secure Box with special modifications on the self-supporting aluminum upper body structure integrated a cage type wire systems suitable with all makes of electronic door and lock systems as well as tracking systems.
Talson Secure Box features layered side panels reinforced with sheet metals, secure rear door, reinforced roof and cage-type wiring installation. Applicable as a feature to all Talson Box product range, Secure Box fulfills the obligations of trailer makers under TAPA regulations.
Secure Box is engineered to prevent valuable cargo theft. The innovative character of Secure Box character stems from the layered design of panels with reinforcements of the self-supporting body to ensure impenetrability to the maximum while still delivering accordingly to industry standard tare weights and dimensions. The body is designed for placement of cage-type wiring compatible with all locks, alarm and tracking systems on the market.
All aluminum panels are sourced at optimum grade to prevent either breakage, perforation, piercing, drilling or penetration of other kinds.
Consequently, Talson’s Secure Box has been awarded by Trailer Innovation 2019 in “Concept” Category by the reputable jury members.
Turkey’s Tırsan Group has never made a secret of the fact that it was aiming to become a global trailer manufacturing authority that would drive innovation across nations, cultures and different schools of engineering. Established in 1977, it took less than a decade for the family business to become the country’s predominant transport equipment brand, and less than 15 years to outgrow the role of local hero and morph into one of the first multi-national conglomerates in the history of trailer building.
During the early 1990s, the company was not only one of the first to be granted membership to the German-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry – a move that would establish it right at the heart of a reunited Europe – but it was also selected to produce French Lamberet reefers under licence, enabling it to play an integral role in introducing international transport businesses to European semi-trailer design.
By 1998, Tırsan had set up the industry’s first Turkish-owned manufacturing plant outside Turkey in the northern German village of Goch; and by 2002, it had successfully revived Kässbohrer, one of Europe’s most prestigious and longest-running transport equipment brands.
The landmark acquisition firmly placed Tırsan on the global manufacturing map and paved the way for a unique multi-brand set up as practiced in the automotive space, with a discreet parent entity managing a range of highly innovative, often product-specialised brands that operate independently, but benefit from synergies on a production, procurement and R&D level.
In 2003, Tırsan reinforced that notion with the acquisition of Talson, a 35-year-old box trailer specialist based out of Venlo, The Netherlands – enabling a distinct ‘three-brand, one vision’ structure that is still valid today.
But, that doesn’t mean the company’s remarkable rise from local champion to global juggernaut was complete. Less than a decade on, having weathered both GFC* and the devastating Eurozone crisis, the journey continued with Kässbohrer becoming the first European OEM to boast a fully-owned production facility in Russia, followed by the celebrated return of Kässbohrer to the brand’s historical home in Ulm in July 2017.
Entering the 2018 IAA Show as the fifth-highest ranked European company in Global Trailer’s OEM Ranking, the Group around Chairman Çetin Nuhoğlu would thus have every reason to catch a breath and celebrate Kässbohrer’s 125th anniversary – but according to the company patriarch, there is much more to be achieved.
Ever so inspired, he says he will continue to work on his grand vision to build a company that is constantly growing and evolving – much like the industry itself.
In a world-unique triple interview alongside his daughters and fellow board members, Ayşenur and Zeynep, he also gives a unique insight into the culture and mindset that enable the ongoing evolution of what it still very much a family enterprise – and reveals his dream of bringing the highest level of innovation to every segment of the industry.
Q: Since founding Tırsan in 1977, you have created a pan-European conglomerate consisting of what is still Turkey’s most powerful local brand, German icon Kässbohrer as well as Dutch box trailer specialist, Talson. How do you manage such an organisation?
Çetin Nuhoğlu (ÇN): The key is to create a consistent culture across the Group. All brands under the Tırsan Solutions umbrella honour a culture of continuous development and innovation for the purpose of delivering innovative, cutting-edge technology – not only to our customers, but also to the industry as a whole.
All necessary means to accomplish this purpose – from engineering competence to lean production techniques and our commitment to quality and sustainability – figure among what we call the ‘hard line’ values that apply to every brand we own.
Zeynep Nuhoğlu (ZN): That’s also why each acquisition we have ever made focused specifically on bringing a uniquely innovative brand into the fold. For our President of the Board, the ability to innovate and push the envelope is the single-most important performance attribute of a company. At the same time we respect each brands’ identity, individual origin, product range, as well as heritage. For example, Kässbohrer’s success is built on the brand’s German engineering legacy. So we treat it as an engineer’s solution, and we expect an engineers’ precision from our sales force. In a time in which most of our industry churns out identical products and services, we can craft trailers that make a real difference for our customers from Ulm to Seoul.
Q: How are the other brands?
A: Tirsan’s focus is on relationship building. Every Tırsan Trailer is a product of a partnership we build to last. You may rely on Tırsan to make happen what matters to you most, mile after mile. Talson, meanwhile, is an expert in transferring state-of-the art aircraft technology into box trailer design, delivering innovative, sustainable equipment that is reliable and functional.
Q: With the parent Group being the connective tissue between them.
ÇN: Exactly. The parent holding is setting the standard for manufacturing excellence and production quality. Over the past five years alone, we invested €54.5 million into infrastructure and human capital to ensure all brands are aligned and conform with the same quality standards. The result is a Tırsan Solutions-specific production and management system we call Tırsan Solutions System, or TSS, and it’s key to our ongoing success.
Q: What does TSS entail?
ÇN: TSS stands for all the methods and processes we employ to provide the highest product quality and the best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO, ed.) for our customers – including on-site quality assurance practices, 8D reports and lean techniques such as value stream mapping, Kaizen, Jishuken or Kanban. Our goal is to eliminate waste, which is the greatest sin in lean manufacturing. At the same time, we also invest in the technical and lean competences of our teams to cement a culture of lean and continuous development. Investing in both people and system, TSS enables the sustainability of our business model across all three brands.
Q: Does that mean certain design and engineering activities transpire beyond brand level?
Ayşenur Nuhoğlu (AN): Yes, we align our R&D practices according to product segments, meaning each product family has its own, dedicated R&D team. They report to an engineering board consisting of our chief engineers and the heads of each R&D team. It’s the board’s job to assess new technologies and find solutions for the specific challenges and regulations different product segments have to navigate in different markets. The board identifies the opportunity, if you will, and helps the respective R&D team embed it into the product. Downstream, we then focus on adapting each solution to suit the brand and the specific brand clientele. It’s much like countries – they all have different different personalities, a unique tone of voice and aesthetics, but formal complexities are often managed in unison.
Q: And on a strategic level? How does TSS affect the way you plan for the future?
AN: We position ourselves not only as a manufacturing, but also as a technology company. Hence why we have a project management office solely dedicated to integrated information asset and knowledge management. This unit is mainly responsible for providing the necessary physical and virtual infrastructure to enable centralized knowledge management in the most efficient way possible.
Q: How do we have to picture that in real life?
AN: To safely accommodate our geographical expansion and growth, the project management office closely follows latest technological developments and trends – think digitalisation, machine learning and artificial intelligence – and incorporates these technologies into our management systems and production processes. Working closely with universities and start-ups, it’s also tasked with improving our in-house software development skills. In short: Our centralised information management systems ensure the smooth functioning of our processes, and support our global operations in a reliable and responsive way.
Q: What does all that mean for the individual employee? Do they identify with a specific brand or the Group at large?
ÇN: Everyone here is fully dedicated to Tırsan Solutions System’s engineering goals as well as to the individual brand and culture to ensure none of them loses their unique identity attributes. As an example, we have established a centralized lean suggestion system via TSS that enables continuous bottom-up improvement. Through this system, more than 1,000 suggestions are evaluated and implemented every year across our brand portfolio. Our suggestion champions are always appreciated and rewarded.
ZN: Our group is a young one. They are well educated, highly skilled and selected with the utmost care. This team is coached and mentored by over 100 senior employees – many of them have been with us since the foundation of Tırsan – within a corporate culture that encourages and acknowledges personal and professional growth.
Q: Speaking of growth, where do you see the Group headed in the TSS era? Where do you see yourself in 2020?
ÇN: Our goal is to produce 20,000 trailers by that time. We want to be the third-largest OEM in Europe and climb to eighth in the world.
Q: How will you make it happen?
ÇN: To achieve our vision for 2020, we foresee an additional €30 million investment to our production technologies and systems to broaden our physical capacity and human resources. Our number one priority, however, will always be to establish long-term, sustainable partnerships with our global clientele. That’s why our Customer Relations Management reports directly to the Board. Beyond the immediate needs of our customers, business development and strategic planning are especially important to us: We constantly work on new models to be on par with upcoming trends. As part of that, we closely follow the developments in other industries that might propel and strengthen our own. We have a strategic business development unit dedicated to this task alone. They work with universities, international NGOs and policymakers to catch on and comprehend new trends and transformations. They channel the developments towards our present working models for the sake of the industry and, once again, to benefit our customers.
Q: How much growth potential do you see in the market, though? Europe is currently experiencing a boom, but experts have already warned of a sudden cool down.
ÇN: We do expect a wave of consolidations and mergers among European logistics companies in the near future, but we believe they might actually stabilise the market as a whole and thus result in increased growth down the track. We also don’t look at Europe exclusively. Globally, ongoing population growth, urbanisation and fundamental life-style changes will inevitably lead to more growth. What’s more, digitalisation will mobilise the idle capacity of logistics operations and lead to more productivity – once again opening up new opportunities or us.
ZN: We don’t think a substantial cool down is likely. Western Europe and Russia will remain the regions with highest growth potential between 2018 and 2020. Germany, Europe’s biggest trailer market, still grows by over 10 per cent, and Russia has been on the road to recovery since early 2017 and is expected to generate a growth of over 30 per cent.
Q: Moving from macro- to micro-level: The European market is more crowded than ever before right now, with Schwarzmüller, Lecitrailer, Kögel and Wielton all adding capacity and gearing up for growth. What’s your take on the situation?
ÇN: We’re obviously not the only company that has realised these growth opportunities, so we are on high alert and constantly adjusting our strategy and investments accordingly. That’s especially true for CIMC’s alleged return to Europe – it forces us to constantly question and improve our business models.
Q: Which role does Kässbohrer play in averting that threat?
AN: Kässbohrer is an important asset for us, especially now that we are able to celebrate the brand’s 125th anniversary. There is a lot of heritage attached to it that continues to inspire us every day and that will allow us to stay ahead of the pack.
Q: Please elaborate.
AN: Kässbohrer has been a pioneer in vehicle engineering since the day it was founded, so Kässbohrer’s customers have grown accustomed to, and thus expect, the most innovative solutions on the market. That’s a tremendous motivation for all us. With our products and services, we keep the tradition alive and provide transport solutions that address the unique and complex challenges our global customers face every day – all under premise of reducing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership, ed.), efficiency and sustainability. Especially in light of growing competition, we combine conventional R&D projects – focusing on weight reduction, aerodynamics, insulation performance and operational efficiency – with new technological developments such digitalisation, which allows us to make the trailer part of a greater eco-system. We also work on the automation of trailer loading and unloading and focus on increasing operational productivity by means of telematics and IoT. Predictive maintenance, for instance, will ensure uninterrupted trailer performance at peak level while still contributing to lower CO2 emissions and lengthening overall product life. Kässbohrer’s smart trailers have predictive qualities that contribute to road safety, load safety and to the safety of the people.
Q: Will we see an example of that work at the IAA Show?
AN: Yes, three our products having these features are nominated for this year’s Trailer Innovation Awards. The first is our SSL silo vehicle with autonomous discharge; the second is our SSK safety silo that detects site risks and directs unloading operations accordingly through an easy-to-use interface; and the third is our novel octagon central frame design that increases load factors and shortens operational processes. It can be seen on our multi-functional container chassis.
ZN: We always present our customers with the highest quality and the most competitive products and services. For his purpose, even though we have been offering telematics services since 2013, this year we partnered with WABCO to be able to offer individualised telematics interfaces that have been tailor-made for each brand and can be adjusted to suit each customer. Come and see us in Hanover to learn more.
Q: Final question: Congestion and the need for more flexible urban transport solutions have dominated the debate in the lead up this year’s IAA. How does the Group respond? Are we witnessing a long-term shift from articulated vehicles to more flexible rigid trucks and vans?
ZN: It’s a topic that is very much top of mind for us. All the way back in 2013, we first presented a special truck body with adjustable crossbars that enabled the upper structure to be mounted on any brand truck just within three days – but maybe we were ahead of our time then.
AN: According to the UN, 68 per cent of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050, so the trend is certainly real – as are the resulting problems such as road congestion, CO2 emissions, PM and NOx emissions, parking and logistics sprawl. We are working hard to be part of the solution, but we can’t do it alone: A December 2017 study by the European Commission has shown that problems such as road congestion or CO2 emissions cannot be solved solely by changing vehicle characteristics.
ÇN: As we are witnessing a change in intercity and inner city logistics and warehousing, there will be a change in the role and usage of trailers within the supply chain. Trailers might be put into usage as a last-mile storage space to improve customer delivery services, for example. Instead of logistics warehouses at the city boundaries, they will be transformed into micro-depots to provide the fastest delivery services. We will make sure the Group is prepared for any such scenario.
*Global Financial Crisis
Q: Mr Nuhoğlu, you must be incredibly proud to be able to lead one of the largest family-owned trailer manufacturing businesses in the world side-by-side with your daughters, Ayşenur and Zeynep. How did you go about involving them in the organisation?
Çetin Nuhoğlu (ÇN): It’s a very special situation for me, and it’s been a long time coming. Our goal was always to have the second generation assume a more active role for the sustainability of the corporate structure, so we made sure to involve them early on. Both Ayşenur and Zeynep have received an excellent education, but they had to experience all department roles from the ground up. Their further education and training are planned so as to enable them to be in leadership positions in international companies within the next decade.
Q: Have any internal dynamics changed after your daughters joined the company?
ÇN: I’m glad to say our company has always been gender-blind. Competence, experience and commitment are the criteria by which everyone here is evaluated. The CEO of our Turkey sales and aftersales operations, Mrs Ferda Özmen, has been with us for over 20 years, for example, and Ms İffet Türken – well known throughout the global trailer industry – continues to excel as the Kässbohrer Board Member responsible for Business Development. So no, they didn’t have to break new ground.
Q: How have you envisioned the future of the organisation when you first set out?
ÇN: The goal has always been to build an international company that would produce not only for Turkey, but for the world – blending local norms with global values to create a structure immune to any country’s performance. In line with that, it has always been my aim and principle to produce at the highest quality, and to realise the best work for humanity and for the environment. I think we have accomplished all of that. Because once your aim is excellence, size and impact naturally follow.
Celebrating its 125th Anniversary, Kässbohrer carried out its press conference on September 20th, 2018 at Stand E11, Hall 27 during 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles Exhibition. Kässbohrer Board Member İffet Türken met respected journalists around the world to share recent company developments and to introduce Kässbohrer’s latest digital innovations and award-winning products.
Press conference started with the milestones of Kässbohrer’s history and 125 years of engineering excellence. Miss Türken stated: “Kässbohrer is an engineering company and our heritage is full of innovation such as the production of the first 4×2 axle trailers and the development of semi-trailer coupling system that changed the course of heavy commercial vehicle industry. We are determined to work through our motto “Enginuity” – the perfect balance of engineering and ingenuity to develop new technologies and to address the changing industry dynamics. Towards the next 125 years, we will invest further into our R&D and production capabilities to take our customers’ business to the next level.”
Kässbohrer is the Fastest Growing European Semi-Trailer Manufacturer
In 2018, Kässbohrer continues to grow and increase its market reach further. According to the 6M2018 traffic registration statistics, Kässbohrer is the fastest growing European semi-trailer manufacturer. Compared to the same period in 2017 Kässbohrer doubled its traffic registration numbers while the key markets grew only by 13% in total.
In the first half of 2018, Kässbohrer doubled its sales in Germany, and currently is in the 3rd position in tank and silo segment. Furthermore, Kässbohrer is in Top-3 in the Netherlands and Portugal and is in Top-5 position in Poland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Russia.
In Poland, Kässbohrer is also the market leader in Tank, Silo and Low-Bed segments.
Sales Network Expansion Focused on Intermodal Transportation
To accommodate its further growth, Kässbohrer has opened 2 new facilities in Verona, Italy and Lyon, France – strategically chosen locations, at the heart of intermodal transportation networks.
Miss Türken highlighted:“Our business is a customer-oriented business. In each country we invest, we make it our number one priority to work close with key stakeholders, and industry representative bodies to understand the unmet needs of the market. Working close with Interporto di Verona Port Authorities, we positioned ourselves strategically in Italy to become the long-term business partner of Italian companies.”
Investing in Industry 4.0 to Deliver Trailer 4.0
Kässbohrer develops its products and services in line with the latest technological developments in the world. As Kässbohrer stands out in the sector with its R&D and production capabilities and its commitment to manufacturing excellence, Kässbohrer concurrently updates its production and innovation processes with the latest technological developments.
In the last 5 years, Kässbohrer invested €54.5 million into infrastructure and human capital to innovate and manufacture the highest quality and most efficient products and services to optimize the total cost of ownership for Kässbohrer customers. As the only European trailer manufacturer that operates both KTL and Metallization Facility in one site, the latest example of Kässbohrer’s automation and modernization investment is the new Low-bed factory, commissioned in the first quarter of 2018.
Kässbohrer Builds State of the Art Low-bed Factory
Planned operations in 2019, Kässbohrer will operate the new state-of-the art low-bed factory and all manufacturing processes completed in a single production hall designed with Industry 4.0 principles.
The facility operating with RFID latching crane systems, barcode positioning technology, and robot assisted chassis welding and painting process. The new metallization unit will have the highest capacity and the new sandblasting and paint shop facility will be the biggest in Europe.
Miss Türken stated “With the new low-bed plant investment Kässbohrer will deliver the highest quality special vehicles which demands exceptional technical expertise compared to standard products. While we commissioned the new low-bed plant, we took into consideration the challenges of heavy duty and abnormal goods transportation and designed the processes accordingly.”
Embracing Open Innovation Culture to Deliver Cutting-Edge Technology
With the widest product range in the sector, Kässbohrer’s R&D Centers develop in 11 different product segments.
As each product segment has its own specific challenges and subjected to different sets of regulations, Kässbohrer encourages open innovation culture to create synergies between R&D teams.
Along with its prototype test and validation capabilities, which are respectively 3-D Prototyping, Hydraulic Test System for Fatigue Tests, Component Functionality and Durability Test, Dynamic Road Tests, Climatic Chamber, and 5 Axle Bench Tests, Kässbohrer is well positioned to nurture a wider innovation eco-system to develop cutting-edge technology and new business models.
Regarding Kässbohrer’s R&D capabilities, Miss Türken emphasized that as Kässbohrer’s inventive spirit and stated: “Today, we are a manufacturing, as well asa technology company. From conception to series development, we apply iterative project management with our innovation partners. Currently we are not only developing semi-trailers but also investing into digital technologies and into our inhouse software development capabilities to deliver highest quality of products with the cutting-edge technology. Our fair vehicles demonstrate the level of sophistication we reached in our manufacturing and R&D practices.”
Kässbohrer Digital Options: Efficiency by Intelligence
In 2018, Kässbohrer introduced a new service segment, Kässbohrer Digital Options, which encompasses all digital enhancements integrated into its products like Digital Trailer Control (DTC) as well as all the digital services like Kässbohrer Telematics.
During the 67th IAA, Kässbohrer exhibits 2 Kässbohrer Digital Options, both nominated for Trailer Innovation 2019 Award, which are respectively; Trailer Innovation 2019 Award “Concept” category nominee Smart Non –Tipping Silo K.SSL with autonomous discharge and Trailer Innovation 2019 Award “Safety” category nominee Safety Tipping Silo K.SSK that are running on DTC.
Nominee of “Concept” category, Kässbohrer Smart Non –Tipping Silo K.SSL with autonomous discharge running on DTC’s innovative feature is the full automatization of the discharge process that enables a safer and more efficient discharge. The fine example of digitalization of trailers, Smart Non- Tipping Silo eliminates the classical discharge methods by patent-pending digital control system compliant with ISO 26262 functional safety standardizations including the software and the hardware.
Nominee of “Safety” category Kässbohrer Safety Tipping Silo K.SSK running on DTC is the upgraded version of Trailer Innovation 2017 Award “Safety” Category winner Kässbohrer Bitumen Tanker, developed jointly with DTC and Hoyer Bitumen-Logistik GmbH, a German company specialized in bitumen transportation. K.SSK’s innovative character is automating the discharge process with safety parameter controls, improving the safety of the discharge operation of the silo in general.
Kässbohrer is the Winner of Trailer Innovation 2019 Award in “Chassis” Category
During the press conference, Miss Türken introduced the award winning container chassis, K.SHG AVMH.
In recognition of Kässbohrer’s Multifunctional Container Chassis K.SHG AVMH with first of its kind novel octagonal central frame design, Kässbohrer has won the Trailer Innovation Award 2019 in “Chassis” category, which solves all torsional issues that lead to permanent damage of semi-trailers.
Kässbohrer Multifunctional Container Chassis K.SHG AVMH, innovated with novel octagonal central frame design solved the issue that has not been solved for 30 years. The first of its kind novel octagonal central frame design stands out in the industry as all the rest of the container chassis offer a rectangular design which creates a variety of torsional issues while performing telescopic functions leading to breakdowns most common in the industry including permanent damage of the vehicle.
Kässbohrer Exhibits New Products at the 67th IAA
Besides the Digital Options and Trailer Innovation Award Winner container chassis presented at the fair, Kässbohrer exhibits a fine example from its product range.
Offering the complete intermodal product range, Kässbohrer launched the lightest curtainsider swap body with a tare weight equal to 3,900 kg and with 7,2 ton forklift capacity. Suitable up to C64 transportation code with 34 euro pallet capacity, the light curtainsider swapbody, K.SWAU CL’s chassis is metallized for longer product lifecycle.
Furthermore, Kässbohrer exhibits 2 axle low-loader with a ground clearance of only 100 mm to accommodate the maximum height on heavy-haulage transportation. With its special pool length of 6.810 mm and king-pin capacity of up to 24 ton, K.SLL 2 provides flexible transportation of tall and heavy goods with no requirement for additional permission. Kässbohrer engineers also developed the steering software to control multiple steering functions compatible both for wired or wireless remote control.
Miss Türken: “We care for our Customers All The Way”
Miss Türken wrapped up the press meeting, with an overview of Kässbohrer’s value-added services, which are respectively: K-Finance, Kässbohrer Financial Solutions, K-Advance Care, Kässbohrer Repair and Maintenance Packages, Extended Warranty Programs, Kässbohrer Roadside Assistance Service.
Miss Türken concluded the press conference by stating: “Today, we maintain a customer base in over 55 countries. As our products are attuned to the needs of our customers’ world-wide, so are our services. From repair and maintenance programs to 24 hour spare part delivery services, with our value added services, we make sure that our customers’ investment is take care of every step of the way. Completing Kässbohrer’s widest product range in Europe, our aftersales and spare part teams go the extra mile to keep our curtainsiders, silos or low-beds running – mile after mile.”
The need for multifunctional container chassis that can transport all ranges of containers from 20 to 45 feet emerged 30 years ago. Whereas through multifunctional container chassis operational flexibility was targeted, today 100% of multifunctional container chassis are rectangular.
The problem with a rectangular central frame design is due to 90 degree angles of the rectangle is subject to torsional stress and bending moments. The results of this stress are damage to all welded parts including axle support beams, and suspensions. Furthermore, rectangular form creates a variety of torsional issues while performing telescopic functions leading to breakdowns most common in the industry including permanent damage of the vehicle.
Consequently, Kässbohrer’s octagonal central frame design stands out in the industry and has been awarded with Trailer Innovation 2019 in Chassis Category.
Kässbohrer octagonal central frame with 120 to 150 degree angles, enables reduction of all ancillary tension related to all welded components making the entire chassis as tension free as it gets, preventing permanent damage arising from regular operations that are carried out with the industry standard rectangular central frame design. Last but not least, the front, middle and rear extensions are carefully designed with locking mechanisms that provide the most user-friendly operation, even for the average driver.
Kässbohrer K.SHG AVMH provides solutions to the known problems in the multifunctional container chassis operations in 5 categories.
New low-bed factory investment with the highest capacity in Europe. All manufacturing processes completed in a single hall, the new low-bed factory will operate according to Industry 4.0 principles.