NATDA Magazine Nov/Dec Nov2018Mag_FINAL - Page 28

I’m aware of any issue that might come up. We continuously communicate and review, so we can get better. NATDA: How does Bear Track Trailers maintain a superior level of quality throughout the manufacturing process? SUCKOW: We’re an ISO-certified company, which helps shape our quality and its impact on the products. Another big factor is our engaged workforce taking personal pride in what they’re building. We stand behind our products and refuse to produce inferior products. NATDA: What issues do you feel the trailer industry is currently facing? How is Bear Track Trailers working around these potential issues? SUCKOW: The immediate issues have to do with tariffs and material costs, as well as hiring and retaining employees. I’ve worked in the aluminum industry for 35 years, but the last 12 months have been the most interesting. As it relates to tariffs and costs, we’re doing everything we can to contain them. Our team has worked hard to offset the impact by continuously improving cost reductions, as well as working with our supply chain 28 partners. We’ve eaten some of the costs, but, ultimately, it has led to higher prices. The tariffs have affected our business, but we’re not the only manufacturer feeling it. The whole industry is. At the end of the day, the consumer is the one feeling it the most with higher priced trailers. A shrinking pool of qualified workers is a huge concern. We’re looking at innovative ways to retain good employees and attract new talent. I also feel issues with transportation and logistics will continue to worsen. NATDA: What kind of influence has the new ELD mandate had on orders further away from your manufacturing facilities, especially those in Canada? SUCKOW: The cost of freight is something that has increased over the year. When we break down costs and programs we offer to dealers, freight has become a very big variable in total trailer costs. Depending on distance from our shop, freight can be as high as 10% or more of the total order. Our sales team has done a great job working with our dealer network on trailer order mix to maximize loads as well as utilizing promotions to help offset the costs. NATDA: Do you have any new products on the horizon that dealers should be excited for? SUCKOW: We always have a few projects in front of our engineering team and are continually working with our dealer network to ensure our product mix is meeting customer demands. NATDA: Can you share any thoughts on what kind of year 2019 will be for Bear Track Trailers? OR Do you have a sense yet of what 2019 will look like for Bear Track Trailers and how it would compare with 2018? SUCKOW: I have a good feeling about 2019. We’re positioning ourselves with good dealers in the right markets to see growth. Our sales and marketing team is getting aggressive on growing our dealer network. Like any company, we’ve hit a few bumps along the way, but they help us evolve. We’re setting up for a great year. For more information on Bear Track Trailers, please visit www.beartracktrailers.com or call 800-417-0504. NATDA Magazine www.natda.org