“We’d rather be #1 in one area than #3 in two areas”
In November, STARCO announced a new approach to the replacement market. STARCO is currently phasing out nearly all replacement market across Europe to focus on the OEM business. Today is the last day for serving aftermarket-customers in France. The UK aftermarket will remain ‘business as usual’ and the replacement market focus in Poland will be on solid tyres. “It has not been an easy decision to implement short term – but a good decision for us and our customers in the long run,” says STARCO’s Chief Commercial Officer.
After the divestment of STARCO’s primary aftermarket activities in July 2016, STARCO only had replacement market business left in France, Poland, Switzerland and the UK. In November STARCO announced to become a ‘true OE-player’ and only maintain:
- Aftermarket business in the UK
- Sales of solid tyres for fork lift trucks in Poland
- Aftersales services of trailer and caravan assemblies in Benelux
- Sales of dual wheel solutions and made to measure across Europe.
Besides some exceptions, STARCO’s products and solutions will still be available for the replacement market through key partners around Europe.
“Our strategy has a clear focus on OE manufacturers besides a number of national distributors as a distribution channel for making key products like duals and made-to-measure wheels available in the aftermarket,” explains Thomas Ballegaard, Chief Commercial Officer at STARCO and continues: “The OEM and aftermarket business’ are two completely different worlds. We decided to focus where we believe, we bring most value and where we see the highest potential. We will rather be Number 1 in one area than Number 3 in two areas.”
STARCO still has the European Trailer & Caravan Centre to support both OEMs and the replacement market. Key products like puncture-proof wheel barrow wheels, solid tyres, dual wheels and made-to-measure will be available through national distributors, key partners or STARCO OE-customers’ dealer network.
A STARCO snapshot of the French market
31 March is the last day for serving aftermarket-customers in France – now STARCO’s clever wheel solutions, like wheel kits for compact tractors, will only be available through key distribution partners and the OEM customers’ network.
“The change has been difficult to explain to our very loyal and slightly surprised aftermarket customers. They know our people and products and a change like this is always tough. With our support, I trust they have all found new suppliers for their tubes, valves, flaps, rims and tyres. Otherwise we are happy to support with references,” explains Fréderíc Ivancich, Segment Director for Agricultural Implement, Tractors, and Utility & Ground Care vehicles.
STARCO has various market leading OEM-customers in France – as a few examples are Kverneland, Altrad, Trigano, Beneteau, Iseki, and Kuhn.
“France remains a key market for STARCO. Our French customers are supported from our office in Chartres and from all the other relevant STARCO entities across Europe. It is of strategic importance for us to become an even stronger partner for our OE customers – hence this is where our focus is going forward,” explains Ivancich firmly.
Despite a declining market in general, STARCO experiences success and growth with the compact tractor, horticulture and agricultural businesses. “This is a great example of the segments where we will make our products available through other channels than usual to reach the replacement market. I don’t see an issue in supporting our structured OE-customers with good supply setup of spares.”
A STARCO snapshot of the Polish market
In Poland STARCO maintains the distribution of solid tyres for fork lift trucks and phases out the remaining aftermarket service and products. STARCO will service and supply the traditional replacement market customers in Poland until 31 March 2017.
“Due to a long tradition for us in the aftermarket, the announcement regarding our future approach to the replacement market has taken the market by surprise. On one hand we advise customer to go to other distributors for the traditional replacement products, and on the other hand we still supply solid tyres. In fact, we reinforce our solid tyres business,” explains Anna Mieszkowska, Customer Excellence Director in STARCO Poland.
STARCO Poland has built a strong network of about 40 distributors of FLT tyres in Poland and this number is constantly expanding.
“We plan to improve the service to our FLT tyre distributors. For instance by introducing solid tyres assembly at our location. Our perfect premium tyre STARCO Tusker is a bestseller and we see a huge potential in expanding our own solid tyre product range with other strong brands.”
STARCO’s solid tyre range consist of four different tyres and ranges from 4 to 20 inches. They are all in-house designed, developed and manufactured in the company’s Sri Lankan factory.
“Our solid tyre customers are very happy when we have told them that we still supply solids. Many of them have been customers for more than ten years and they trust us as a supplier. We are happy to continue serving the solid customers. It’s, however, a bit sad to say good bye to many good customer. I trust they are in good hands with other suppliers,” says Mieszkowska that are pleased how well STRACO’s new strategy of becoming a stronger OE player has been received amongst current original manufacturer customers. STARCO Poland recently employed a new Sales Manager to focus on current and new OE customers in and around Poland.
“We see a lot of potential within the utility and ground care business and agricultural industry and look forward to growing this part of our business in Poland”, says Mieszkowska.
Only the UK subsidiary in the STARCO group retains traditional replacement market activity.
“Compared to other markets where we previously had replacement market business, our UK-subsidiary have a much narrower product portfolio matching our OEM-business better. We need to keep this business to be a strong OE-partner on ‘the island’,” explains Ballegaard.
STARCO’s replacement market customers in the UK will not experience mayor changes in the product range. UK aftermarket accounts for 4 percent of STARCO’s turnover.
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