As we reflect on 2021, it seemed just like 2020 but more intense and without the surprise factor. Often there is a clear distinction between looking back and the forward outlook, but this year the themes of both are intertwined. Here, our General Manager Will Samuel offers a candid and insightful summary of the last year and some potential glimpses into 2022.
Who can do a 2021 review without mentioning “supply chain”?
In the past two years we made strategic and early decisions to solidify our supply chain. This has mean higher stock levels, longer forward orders and more frequent interaction with suppliers. Unfortunately, it is hard to see the raw materials and freight situation improving with any great urgency in 2022. Even if it does, who will trust that it won’t just be a temporary blip?
Raw materials will continue to be subject to global demands which are strong for a variety of reasons – either real or perceived. Looking at publicly listed company results, there is no doubt that commodity suppliers have used the increase in market activity to improve margins if these were previously compromised. Any respite in pricing will take time to flow through the supply chain and this pricing will also depend on inventory levels and exchange rates.
Everyone now permanently seems to have factored in delays when ordering product. It is harder to distinguish between real delays in freight or poor service. The longer the international shipping companies extract premiums well above long term returns, is it more likely that the sector will be ripe for disruption either by new offerings, technology, or a combination of both.
Will the bull run continue into 2022?
Culture at the heart of everything we do – should it be any different?
In combination with the effort over the last two years to solidify the supply chain we have also made numerous changes to how we work. These are largely unseen for customers as they are subtle and behind the scenes but much like the flywheel in “Good to Great”, they create momentum for our business.
At the heart of our business is people and our focus is developing the right culture. We place huge trust in our team to drive the business forward as we enable them to bring their best self to work. The continued and relentless focus on safety and production improvements ranges from removing bottlenecks through to the simplest change as a result of someone questioning “why do we do things like this?”. We continue to see pressure on the talent market – good talent is hard to find but is out there if you look hard enough in the right places.
Will the talent shortage drive increased capital investment or will it continue to hold business back?
Customers and Markets – what problem can we help you solve?
Transport is an incredibly dynamic industry with people having to solve any range of problems on a daily basis to keep the sector moving. Our customers are always asked to do more and so are we. Every customer interaction leads to more insights and opportunities.
The value we offer to customers is critical – at the core of this the concept of “time on the road”. Every hour a truck or trailer is off the road costs hundreds in lost revenue, repairs and maintenance and staff costs. Our product offering of performance, visual appeal and safety stands the test of time.
In the past two years we have invested heavily in technology and market insights with our strategic partners. Our research and development efforts have only just scratched the surface of our product performance benefits and have opened up a range of new focuses. New product requests continue to snowball while we move towards investment in complimentary product lines.
The popularity of the Rhino recycled mudguard product highlights just how important sustainability is and how quickly this has now become mainstream. New trucks powered by different fuel sources will continue the rapid evolution of the industry. These factors combined with environmental, social and governance focuses will bring an ever-increasing microscope to company’s real sustainability activities – we welcome this.
All of these steps we have taken are a continuation of becoming a trusted advisor. What will we need to do to raise the bar in 2022?
Thanks for reading and your continued support. Please reach out directly with any questions or further insights.
We wish everyone all the very best for 2022.
Will Samuel, General Manager