TIP’s Vice President of the Central region, Oliver Bange, has been interviewed by Georg Blenk, Editor in Chief of the german magazine Krafthand-Truck on different matters. Here is the English version of the interview.
Oliver Bange is Vice President of TIP’s Central region since 2015. This region consists of the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as well as Poland, Czech Republic and Romania.
How big is the rental vehicle fleet in your region and how many employees does TIP currently have?
Our rental fleet in the Central Region currently includes around 24,000 motorized vehicles, trailers and other types of transportation equipment. Our portfolio is very broad and also includes special vehicles for different sectors: construction, agricultural and municipal sectors.
Every year, we extensively invest in our fleet and continue to expand our branch and workshop network. Of course, our TIP family is growing as well. We are currently around 750 colleagues in the region.
Does this mean that we see 24,000 units with TIP driving through those 6 countries?
Due to our market presence and our close partnership with well-known manufacturers, we are also able to purchase individual customer vehicles. Here we put the right specifications together with the customer and the manufacturer. In this context, vehicles and trailers with customer branding are also possible. This means that the vehicle doesn't always have our TIP branding on it, still we are the equipment provider.
You mentioned the “TIP family”. Can you tell more about the company culture?
At TIP, we see ourselves as a team that can only achieve our goals together. I believe that a company is only successful thanks to its employees. That sounds like a nice advertising slogan, but it is actually what we live at TIP. We have an open corporate culture and flat hierarchies.
Within you role, you work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. How would you describe your leadership style?
As regional VP, I always try to keep my connection to the grassroots. This is not always easy with our strong growth, and the last two pandemic years have made personal meetings and events very difficult. It is particularly important to me to be in close contact with all of our departments. I like to seek personal dialogue and am open to inquiries and ideas from all colleagues - not just from the management level. In addition, we actively promote further development measures and are open to suggestions from colleagues. We have established a regular exchange of information for all employees and use different internal media for this - from the trainee in the workshops to the management.
How do you manage to switch off after a turbulent day at work?
In turbulent times, my family and friends always keep me balanced. I enjoy activities with my wife and my two sons whenever possible and draw strength from them for my professional challenges.
I'm an active person and doing various sporting activities clear my head. A social evening with friends, a good red wine or an exciting football game are also helping me to have a good balance between professional and personal life.
Are you a political person?
I am not involved in any particular political direction and would not describe myself as a political person. Of course, I follow events on the world political stage, because they affect all of our futures, both professionally and privately.
As the managing director of a service company in the transport and logistics sector, I have a second perspective on politics. Decisions as well as new laws and guidelines influence our company and us as an employer. So it is particularly important to always stay up to date and to make future-oriented business decisions.
The decarbonization of heavy goods traffic is one of the biggest challenges in the transportation industry. What is TIP’s position?
We have always aligned our rental fleet to the requirements of the market to better serve our customers. The decarbonization of heavy commercial vehicles is a major topic that concerns the entire industry. As one of the leading partners of the transport and logistics industry, we also see it as our responsibility to support more sustainable solutions and more efficient engines to contribute to greener logistics.
Then, what is TIP’s strategy in the medium term?
Only recently we invested in 100 tractors in Germany, which are particularly efficient in long-distance transport and save up to 10 percent fuel and thus also CO2 emissions. In France, fully electric vans have been part of our rental fleet for several years. This segment is currently also being expanded in other countries.
In principle, we are open to new technologies, but we also see challenges in implementation.
On the one hand, manufacturers are asked to further improve the efficiency of the new technologies and, on the other hand, the infrastructure, for example charging options for e-trucks, must be further expanded so that the changeover becomes even more interesting and economically viable for the players in the industry.
Where do you see other adjustments to make freight transport more environmentally friendly and effective?
The transport industry in particular has a large share in the total emissions and therefore has a great responsibility to take action. On the one hand it is important to resolutely promote new climate-friendly technologies, on the other hand we have to use existing resources and materials more responsibly and efficiently.
I am convinced that we still have opportunities for further development in the area of combined transport, road and rail, and that further rail expansion is necessary in order to open up new routes and regions. This could reduce emissions and reduce the number of semi-trailers on our roads. Our rental fleet also includes a large number of rail-capable trailers that can be rented on a short or long-term basis.
TIP is also offering electric light commercial vehicles. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
When it comes to so-called 'last mile delivery', many players are already relying on electromobility. TIP has been offering fully electric vans (e-LCV) for rent in France for a number of years to serve this segment. In the Central Region, we are currently developing concepts and conditions to integrate the electric vans into our fleet. We are receiving more and more customer inquiries for this type of vehicle. Urban and traffic planning can create even more incentives here by improving the charging network in Germany.
You said that TIP is promoting new climate-friendly technologies. What are these precisely?
Modern telematics solutions optimize route planning and ensure greater efficiency on the road: no journey is empty. In addition, assistance systems help to save fuel and can improve the driving behavior of the driver. TIP has its own solution in this area: we have developed our own telematics under the brand name 'TIP Insight', which, in cooperation with well-known manufacturers, offer hardware and software equipment on both TIP’s rental vehicles and our customers’ fleet.
The sustainable use of resources and materials and thus efficient fleet management is also an important way to offer more sustainable logistics. In the transport industry, this means that existing vehicles are carefully maintained in order to extend their lifetime.
Finally at TIP, we are convinced of the benefits of "preventive" maintenance. Many years of fleet maintenance experience has shown us that early maintenance and repairs can reduce downtime and increase fleet life.
TIP is a founder and member of the European Transport Board (ETB). What is it all about?
The European Transport Board is an initiative of the leading companies in the field of transport and logistics in Europe. The members together represent a significant portion of the entire industry and collectively support more than 300,000 vehicles. It is a knowledge center and serves to regularly exchange information about the requirements in this dynamic market. Transporters and logisticians face similar or the same challenges.
The aim of ETB is to discuss and exchange experiences and solutions. Topics such as traffic safety, sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of the industry are in the foreground, but social and economic challenges are also program items.
TIP runs its own workshops, but also has partner workshops that offer vehicle maintenance and repairs. What requirements does a workshop have to meet in order to become a TIP partner?
That's right, we run more than 100 workshops throughout Europe on our own. The maintenance and repair of commercial vehicles in our own workshops is one of our fastest growing areas, along with rental. Although we already operate a very large network of locations, there are still white spots on the map. This is where our partner workshops come into play. There are no particular hurdles to be included in our network, but we attach particular importance to quality, especially in terms of spare parts, but also the service itself.
In addition, we have high safety and environmental standards in our workshops, because our employees are our "most valuable asset". We also have the same expectation of our partners and encourage them to comply with them.
TIP offers a comprehensive workshop service for commercial vehicles, and also makes older trailers and swap bodies fit again with the "Refurbishment Program".
Do you buy the corresponding spare parts globally, or is the purchase the responsibility of the respective commercial vehicle workshop?
As in any large company, it makes sense to bundle purchasing and organize it globally. We have framework agreements and partnerships with most of our suppliers, covering our entire network of locations. All TIP workshops handle the procurement of materials and spare parts on their own responsibility, but benefit from the purchasing conditions of TIP as a whole.
Skills shortage is a cross-industry issue. Is TIP also affected and what solutions do you have?
A lack of skilled workers is also an important issue at TIP – it is very difficult to find suitable workforce, especially in the manual sector, i.e. in our workshops. We increasingly rely on the training of our own specialists. It is a worthwhile investment in the future for us.
In the workshop area, we offer training as a vehicle mechatronics technician for commercial vehicles and training as a specialist in warehouse logistics can also be done with us. The magazine 'Capital' has recognized us as one of the best trainers in Germany for the second time, thereby confirming our successful training program. These positive results encourage us to further expand the area of training. Contact us or check our vacancies to know the professions that you can soon learn at TIP!
Finally, a personal question: What has recently annoyed you the most and what have you been most happy about?
Personally, I am annoyed by selfishness and injustice. Unfortunately, I encounter these flaws quite frequently in my everyday life, like in the supermarket when I stand in front of empty shelves with flour and oil or at the gas station and get annoyed about the enormous prices. A little more consideration and togetherness would do us all good.
However, I was particularly impressed by the great willingness to help and sympathy of the people since the attack on Ukraine. The neighboring countries were particularly challenged at first by the arrival of the first refugees. Shortly after Russia invaded, I was in Warsaw on business and saw how refugees from the Ukraine were received and cared for there. The people in Poland have organized themselves solely through personal commitment and with enormous logistics. That touched me personally and made me very happy. It shows me that we stand by each other in times of crisis and support each other, even in our fast-moving times.
Thank you Oliver and Krafthand-Truck for the great insights!
Interested in joining our Central team? Check our job offers here! https://www.tipeurope.com/careers
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