Hubtex is one of the world's leading manufacturers in the development and production of specialized electric sideloaders for the handling of long, heavy and bulky loads. Its core product, the electric multidirectional sideloader, is available in countless variations, which the company always designs in accordance with the intended application.
Since 1999, Hubtex has had its own UK branch office in Milton Keynes. The company is now planning to expand this location over the next few years as part of its corporate strategy. Juan Cantalejo, Sales Director of HUBTEX UK, has been working at Hubtex's headquarters in Germany for the last 25 years and has been responsible for the company's UK sales since 2017. In an interview with SHD Logistics, he discusses Hubtex's growth plans for the British market.
Q: Where do you see Hubtex's greatest potential for development in the UK?
Cantalejo: The share of electric vehicles on the British market is relatively low in comparison with the global market. This is especially true for multidirectional sideloaders. However, the use of electric vehicles brings with it particular advantages due to the avoidance of emissions and the low operating costs, for example. It is therefore our strategy to pursue further expansion in this market segment.
Q: Which market segments do you particularly wish to focus on?
Cantalejo: Our focus is on optimising end-to-end processes. Hubtex offers a broad spectrum of products in the field of electric multidirectional sideloaders and can provide various vehicle solutions throughout a customer’s operation. This includes, for example, order-picking systems in combination with multidirectional sideloaders in the timber industry, tool-changing platforms in the automotive industry and special-purpose vehicles in the aircraft construction industry. Our product portfolio is highly diverse.
However, we need to overcome a number of challenges on these vertical markets. Our employees are experienced in the material handling industry with a broad range of industrial and technical expertise. This expertise allows them to consult with a customer to gain the best understanding of their operations and offer the optimum solution through specialist niche products. That's why we've decided to look after the British market ourselves. It's not about volumes – It's a clear case of quality over quantity.
Q: What influence do you expect Brexit to have on your sales figures and how are you preparing for its impact?
We'll have to wait and see what effect Brexit has on our sales in the UK and it is really difficult to make any predictions. Many of our clients are active in the British market. We are working to strengthen our position in this market as part of our previously mentioned strategy.
Q: You had been working together with Translift Bendi up until last year. Is that partnership now over?
Cantalejo: As previously mentioned product differentiation was one of the main reasons for our change in strategy, which in turn brought about an amicable end to our partnership with Translift Bendi and we thank them for their previous work. In the past, we concentrated far too heavily on selling multidirectional sideloaders in the high-volume segment. We must admit that we didn't fully play to our strengths in this respect. On the one hand, we have our multidirectional sideloaders with electric drive, which offer the benefit of low life-cycle costs. On the other hand, we can produce tailored special-purpose vehicles which fully meet the requirements of our clients with regard to the handling of long, heavy and bulky loads across the entire value chain by improving efficiencies, increasing productivity and maximising the operational capabilities, whilst reducing their overall costs.
Interviewer: You are now working independently on the expansion of your sales business in the UK. Are you ruling out cooperation with distributors?
Cantalejo: We are definitely not excluding the possibility of sales via distributors. In fact, this is something we explicitly encourage. The main focus here is on support and expertise, and working in close partnership to deliver solutions for our shared customers. We want to be in direct contact with customers and to establish a dialogue to find the best solution.
Q: The diesel-powered fourway sideloader DQ had previously been the cornerstone of your product portfolio. Have you stopped making this product?
Cantalejo: Our main focus is now on electric vehicles. But we are still producing diesel vehicles. With the DQ-X, a new generation of diesel-powered fourway sideloaders, we are above all looking to win over clients who value a spacious cabin, excellent all-round visibility, energy-saving operation and comprehensive control options.
Q: How can you guarantee a fast service?
Cantalejo: We have continued to develop in this area as well. Tim Pick, our Service Technical Manager, has been responsible for this area of work at HUBTEX UK for many years. We are planning this year to accelerate the expansion of our service network to support our existing and new customers. Our customers profit from low service costs due to the high quality of the vehicles. We view this as an important foundation for the reliability of our vehicles, providing customers with high and consistent availability of our products.