A recent report by global strategy consulting firm Roland Berger identified four main trends that will shape the Heavy Duty aftermarket for the next decades. To help members position themselves for this future NEXUS has set out to strengthen the Truck sector, and grow business, within the N! Community. Here, Janusz Zielinski, N! Heavy Duty global business developer, explains that collaboration between distributors and suppliers is the key to success.

Earlier this month I joined a group of purchasing managers from 10 N! Heavy Duty members on a visit to Germany for a fact-finding tour of the Schaeffler and MANN+HUMMEL factories near Frankfurt and in Ludwigsburg.

The three-day visit was organised by the two global manufacturers in collaboration with NEXUS and we gained some valuable insights that will help shape our understanding of the future direction of the aftermarket.

The 10 N! members who attended were from Algeria, Greece, Latvia, Moldova, Hungary, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, and the feedback has been very positive.

NEXUS is focused on strengthening the Heavy Duty sector within the N! Community so that our members are in a strong position to respond, and build business from, emerging opportunities in the market.

We believe it is essential that there is collaboration with global manufacturers so that N! members have a full understanding of the direction the aftermarket is taking, and to create a synergy between distributors and suppliers.

The recent report by Roland Berger identified four trends. 

  1. New logistics: the customer’s structure of truck and trailer will change and will see a growth of large fleets. In addition, the transport industry will continue to change toward a digital platform ecosystem.
  2. Electrification/alternative drives: new regulations and local emission optimization are impacting the HD landscape. Access restrictions in cities are expected to drive further electrification of trucks and buses.
  3. Autonomous trucks: the emergence of autonomous driving is one of the key disruptive trends and will trigger changes in products and services. From driver assistance to full automation, the process is expected to take around 10 years.
  4. Digitalization: the evolution of digital technologies and culture will create new use cases, in the context of advances in truck and trailers. For instance, the truck telematics system will benefit truck management in the case of predictive maintenance, remote diagnostics and engine and fuel consumption improvements in real time. This digitalization will drive the creation of a completely new truck service scenario in the future.

The factory visits with Schaeffler and MANN+HUMMEL, which included a fleet management workshop,was part of that NEXUS focus on helping our members prepare for this new era and we will be introducing many other activities into the programme to address these trends.

We were very grateful to Schaeffler and MANN+HUMMEL for hosting this special visit. It was a unique opportunity for N! members to connect with N! suppliers, visit their factories and share interesting insights on the Heavy Duty business.

It definitely deepened their knowledge of two of the most important global manufacturers in the truck sector.

Keith Leadbeater, Director Commercial Vehicles at Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket, was very positive about the initiative. He told us:

“We very much appreciate the personal dialogue with our customers and NEXUS. It is very valuable for us in order to develop ideas and solutions together which are of benefit for all participants of the business through to our end-customers.

Two years ago, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket repositioned itself in the commercial vehicle business in order to respond more quickly to the needs of a changing market.

Since then, the commercial vehicles business has been an integral part of the corporate strategy. And with good reason: now more than ever before, fleet operators and service companies need intelligent repair solutions that reduce downtimes, extend service intervals and minimize the total cost of ownership of a vehicle.”

And Brigitte Steinbach, Director Sales IAM Key Accounts and ITGs, expressed strong support for the actions NEXUS is taking. She said:

MANN+HUMMEL very much appreciates the efforts that NEXUS is undertaking to increase the focus of the Nexus Community with regards to the Heavy Duty business.

With our worldwide presence and our brands MANN-FILTER, WIX and FILTRON we can provide to the truck, bus and off-highway customers a complete product and service portfolio. The approach to combine two leading parts manufacturers and entering into a dialogue with the Nexus members from a number of different markets has provided us with very interesting insights and new concrete ideas for further business development. Thank you to everyone involved for this very beneficial event!”