TrailerKings, South Africa’s 100% black-owned trailer manufacturing organisation, has thrown down the gauntlet to the established trailer builders and is determined to carve a niche for itself by exploiting what it perceives as weaknesses among the handful of stalwarts currently dominating the local trailer market.
The local trailer fabrication sector sorely needs a fresh approach to technological innovation and supplying customers with exactly what they need to move payload more efficiently,’ says Collin Mangena, chief executive of TrailerKings, a new trailer building company based in Alrode, Gauteng. When one considers the pivotal role the heavy-duty truck transport industry plays in South Africa’s economy, along with the many international truck OEM’s supplying it, the local truck trailer manufacturing domain may seem rather slim by comparison.
And it is here where Mangena sees his opportunity gap. “The industry has become complacent because of the lack of broad-scale competition. Most manufacturers are prescriptive as to what they are prepared to do by way of trailer design and after-sales support. The ‘˜take it or leave it’ attitude prevails, even in these harsh economic times,’ Mangena claims. With a background in systems engineering and information technology, coupled with five years experience as a trailer consultant to the trucking industry, Mangena feels he has the knowledge of what is being asked for by commercial truck transporters. He also feels he knows where the South African trailer manufacturing industry is falling short.
“Our mission is to build premium class trailers using the highest quality design technologies and components. Our design team is drawn from the trailer industry and is highly skilled and experienced in CAD applications using finite element analysis tools, enabling us to design and manufacture innovative and durable trailer solutions without undue risk of component failure,’ says Mangena.Employing a team of 12 technicians – and expanding rapidly – TrailerKings recently celebrated the hand-over of two super-link flat-deck trailers and three tridem semi-trailers to trailer-hire company, Edan Traders. A further 14 trailers will complete the order.
“Our challenge from Edan Traders was to build low tare, high-strength units using the best components available, at an affordable price,’ explains Mangena. “We were given a clean sheet as far as design was concerned which has allowed us to introduce totally new designs in both the super-link and semi-trailer units. The trailers comprise 100% Domex chassis and deck and highend running gear from SAF-Holland, all helping to lower tare mass considerably.’ The addition of aluminium supersingle rims from Alcoa also assisted in lowering the tare of the link to 7 780kg (including twist and load locks),allowing for a payload of 38 000kg. A full electronic braking system (EBS) from Knorr-Bremse and a modular Hella wiring harness enhance safety and ease of maintenance.
“With what I can only describe as a dearth of suitable after-sales and service support for trailer buyers, TrailerKings offers a five-year structural warranty and a three-year/750 000km maintenance plan on all its products, with service intervals of 20 000km,’ Mangena adds. “The components we use also have extended warranties and we are able to tailor-make warranty and maintenance plans to suit client needs.’
TrailerKings also offers extensive customer/service centre training on all running gear components – at no cost. “TrailerKings will also repatriate damaged trailers under warranty free of charge and repair them without labour charges,’ states Mangena. With a subsidiary manufacturing plant in Durban and a service centre in Witbank, TrailerKings is well positioned to service the line-haul and tipper markets operating along the N3, N4 and Mpumalanga coal routes. Its product lines include platforms, skeletals, tippers, curtainsiders, reefers, box-van bodies and logging trailers , all covered by the TrailerKings fiveyear bumper-to-bumper warranty.
“The road ahead for all of us at TrailerKings is wide open. Our commitment to trailer designs that improve both form and function already sets us apart from the competition. “Our focus on fitting only the best components with guaranteed after-sales service and support is also unique, filling a massive gap in the market right now. Despite our detractors within the trailer industry, we at TrailerKings have our sights fixed on offering quality, innovation and mobility to our clients. Ultimately, the trucking market will determine our success, rather than individuals within our industry,’ Mangena concludes.
Wow! There some heavy hits being made here by Mangena at existing trailer manufacturers. I refer to just one of his statements: “The industry has become complacent because of the lack of broad-scale competition. Most manufacturers are prescriptive as to what they are prepared to do by way of trailer design and after-sales support. The ‘˜take it or leave it’ attitude prevails, even in these harsh economic times.’
That’s a heavy statement to make. Of course, he is fully entitled to voice his opinion but is he right? What do customers think? What do other trailer manufacturers think? Let us know by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.