Exclusive interview with Bob Fast, TIP's President and CEO
Bob, you are now nearly 20 years the CEO of TIP. What fascinates you with this industry?
Yes that’s right. Even though the transportation industry is a rather traditional business, there is continuously a lot happening. And if you think about how important transportation is! Without it, we wouldn’t have dinner on the table, medicine in hospitals and products in stores. As TIP, we are proud to support our customers with assets and maintenance all over Europe and Canada.
What do you mean when you say there is a lot happening in this industry?
Well, in the years I have experienced a lot of changes. Just think of legal changes, new regulations and for example the financial crisis which had an impact on the transportation industry – so our customers and us. Furthermore, TIP as a business continuously evolves and grows. We started off with renting trailers. Today, we offer Leasing, Rental and Maintenance for trailers, but also trucks, vans, tankers, swap bodies and other specialized equipment. We also have an impressive maintenance network with 120 workshops and 2.000 mechanics. Of course we continue to sell used equipment. And we have major developments and investments in the area of our business enablers which pave the way to the future: sustainability and digital solutions.
A lot is happening indeed! What about the world in 2022 and the impact on the business?
Economically, this year is certainly not easy. Not for us as private persons and not for businesses. If we look at our industry, we often say: the supply chains are disrupted. What we want to say with this term is that following the challenges of Covid-19, other disruptors arise and contributed to the issues. Think of Brexit, labour shortages, the war in Ukraine, raw material availability, climate issues, inflation and so on. All of this, unfortunately, cannot be mitigated by increased productivity.
What is your challenge in 2022?
Well, there have been easier years to be the CEO of TIP! We are seeing our business and also the business of our customers impacted. Lead times for new equipment has doubled versus two years ago, prices are not stable, raw material shortages make the production and availability of new assets and spare parts more challenging.
So what do you recommend your customers?
For the moment, if they can, hold on to existing equipment longer. If they need, we can do refurbishments, modifications or extra maintenance for them in our workshops to extend the economic life of a trailer. If that is not possible or they need more equipment we can check what we have available in our fleet. In the end, we have more than 120.000 assets – so potentially we can help! Next to that, we have already ordered thousands of assets with the manufacturers and we have a sizable business of used equipment. If still we do not have the right equipment, we can help a customer with the sourcing of new equipment. TIP deals with all manufacturers and has good relations which can help in these times.
According to you, how will the business look like next year?
A this moment, despite production delays and overall rising costs, the need for road transport is high. The current outlook also confirms that the need for road transportation to will remain high in the foreseeable future.
Thank you Bob! Any last words of advice?
We all hope to get into calmer waters in the near future. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and the people around you.
I also hope to meet many partners of TIP on the IAA in Hanover.