An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) from the world’s leading forestry region continues to innovate, and Wood Southern Africa & Timber Times was recently invited to witness for itself some of the latest technologies that make Volvo Trucks South Africa a prominent participant in this notoriously arduous hauling environment.

“Over the years, Volvo Trucks has amassed a lot of experience in developing and supporting trucks that operate in extreme off-road and tough on-road conditions,” says Malcolm Gush, sales director at Volvo Trucks South Africa. “Some of the new technologies originated in Sweden’s timber industry where the climate is truly harsh, extreme and varied, while others were also tested in a mine in the peaks of the Peruvian Andes at 5 000 m above sea level.”

Noticeable on the truck range is the OEM’s continued focus on improving safety and productivity, despite the current state of some of the international markets in which these trucks are being geared.

This includes the mining and construction markets which have seen both the user of capital equipment and members of the supply chain cut on critical research and development (R&D) expenditure to save costs.

Torbjörn Christensson, president of Volvo Group SA, disagrees with this strategy.

He says the group has survived many economic downturns, and that key to this has been its ongoing focus on research R&D that has also kept it ahead of its competitors when economies have eventually recovered.

As he explains, a rash decision to cut on R&D expenditure can cost a company significant market share in the short term and, in some instances, wreak irreparable damage to existing market share.

“R&D remains a critical area for the group,” says Christensson. “We may decide to cut costs in other less demanding aspects of the operations, but driving innovation in the industry remains high on our agenda. In fact, our customers expect this from the group, including from Volvo Trucks.”

 

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