Serco riding high into the New Year

Clinton Holcroft, Serco managing director.

2015 has been an encouraging one for leading South African truck body and trailer building company, Serco, with innovative solutions and additional orders from new clients being key to the sales growth in excess of 20%, registered this year.

This growth took place in local and neighbouring countries, “largely through Serco striving to deliver a high-quality product and tangible solutions,” states MD Clinton Holcroft, adding that this drive is underscored by the company’s multimillion-rand facility expansion in Durban.

The company with branches in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town attracted more than fifty new clients in the first six months of this year showing that their efforts are being successful.

Holcroft said the performance of the Johannesburg branch in particular was impressive with volumes increasing by more than 50% over last year.

“Our move into new and improved premises there last year and a huge effort from our team have obviously had something to do with that achievement.”

“The weaker rand has started putting cost pressure on some of our buyouts and input materials, so there is some pressure on our margins, however, the last quarter of the year is traditionally our busiest period, but I suspect there will be a slackening off at the beginning of next year,” said Holcroft.

“Extensions to our Durban factory are complete and I am very pleased with the result. Our focus in the New Year will be to commission the new panel manufacturing equipment we have invested in, which will set a new standard for us in terms of panel strength and thermal efficiency of our refrigerated bodies.”

“The extensions will enable us to double the production of refrigerated and dry freight trailers should the demand be there.”

Discussing the advantage of locally manufactured products over imported ones, he said local manufacturers had a good understanding of local conditions and were able to customise products to suit local conditions which are acknowledged as being tough because of the high levels of abuse and damage. The ease and relative low cost of repairs are also an advantage enjoyed by locally manufactured vehicle bodies.

“Serco has managed to grow volumes and currently has a healthy order book based on good quality and innovative solutions such as our lightweight construction offering improved payload for transporters. We have also introduced various new innovations such as our high volume stepped decked trailers, which are proving popular for cross border transport and local bread distribution.”

“While we are concerned about the general lack of growth in the South African economy impacting demand in the New Year, we believe the new technology we have invested in and the ongoing improvements in our efficiency will help us to sustain the momentum we have created. Further many fleet owners have ageing equipment, which tend to become increasingly costly to run and less reliable over time, which should be an added incentive to upgrade to new models featuring increased payload and new innovative technology,” said Holcroft.