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Leading the charge to change

Jasper Hafkamp, executive director of Daimler Trucks and Buses (DTB) Southern Africa, has held the position for two and a half years now with great success – and he’s only just getting started

The past two years have seen some significant changes within the DTB stable, many of which have been indicative of the company’s future – which, itself, is now coming into view. For Hafkamp, these are exciting times.

“The transportation industry is changing. Our company is changing with it, and leading the pack,” he says.

A strong focus on product has been central to this strategy. The new Actros – launched locally earlier this year and replacing its venerable MP3 predecessor after 20 years – is introducing European technology to the South African market. It will be joined next year by the Axor’s replacement, the Arocs.

“The new Actros has replaced a legend in the industry, so it has really had to deliver! We are delivering on our promise of a five to seven-percent reduction in fuel consumption – it is the most efficient truck in the industry. So far, we have received great feedback from operators.

“We are increasing volumes and are on the way back to number-one market share,” Hafkamp says.

The company has also dedicated itself to growing the Fuso brand; introducing new rigids next year with an eye on achieving ten-percent total market share by 2020. New commuter-bus products will be added to the Mercedes-Benz bus portfolio early in 2019 – plugging some important market gaps.

Hafkamp is particularly proud of the fact that, among product repositioning in the last two years, more than 70 percent of former Freightliner customers are now part of the Mercedes-Benz family.

Supporting customers is, naturally, an ongoing goal. “The current economic environment is tough for everyone; we have to work hard to support our customers in the right way. One initiative has been to upgrade our Fleetboard services to add increasing value to our customers’ value chain.

“However, despite being in a recession, we see growth, which gives me confidence for the future,” Hafkamp says.

Heading into this future will be a new company, trading from January 1, 2019… Hafkamp explains: “The Daimler group is restructuring into three new companies – Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans, Daimler Trucks and Buses, and Daimler Mobility AG.

“Daimler Trucks and Buses SA will continue to be responsible for all the trucks and bus activities in the southern African region, but will now run as a separate entity from Mercedes-Benz South Africa.”

He adds: “This is the next step in our dedication to aligning with our customers’ needs.”

With so much activity and change taking place, Hafkamp is glad to have the support of a top-notch team. “You can have a very good brand, but you need passionate and energetic people to make a difference,” he says.

There’s no doubt then that this captain of industry is leading by example.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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