Terex Trucks are exported widely across the world from the coldest areas of Siberia, to the searing heat of South Africa. Ahead of the HSBC Scottish Export Awards 2016, BQ caught up with Motherwell-headquartered manufacturer to see how they found themselves exporting to every corner of the globe.
What does your company do?
Terex Trucks, part of Volvo CE, manufactures articulated and rigid dump trucks that are sold all over the world - produced from start to finish in Motherwell.
Terex comes from a strong hauling heritage, producing robust, reliable articulated and rigid dump trucks for the most extreme of hauling applications.
These outstanding, no-nonsense machines are trusted by industry professionals to deliver a powerful performance in all conditions, from the intense heat of the desert to bitter cold arctic conditions.
How long has the company been exporting?
Terex Trucks first started exporting its Scottish-manufactured trucks all over the world in 1952.
What do you currently export, and where to?
Terex Trucks exports articulated and rigid dump trucks all over the world – there are only a handful of countries in which Terex Trucks doesn’t sell trucks.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
Terex Trucks (under a previous guise, Euclid Road Machinery Company) was originally founded in the USA.
In 1950 Euclid Great Britain was formed in Motherwell as a subsidiary and began the development and manufacture of off-highway trucks.
Eventually over the years, and with a few changes in ownership, all seven of the Terex Trucks models are now manufactured from start to finish in Motherwell.
Given the US roots from day one the trucks were exported across the world.
We have built up a fantastic reputation with our customers all over the world and today, from our base in Motherwell, Terex Trucks remains dedicated to pioneering machines that will withstand the test of time, by building on the same robust foundations.
Not surprisingly, our benchmark articulated and rigid dump trucks are trusted by industry professionals the world over to deliver powerful performances in the most extreme hauling conditions.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
Exporting is not easy although many aspects do get easier with experience. However every shipment, especially with the size of our products, come with many challenges.
So the easiest part of exporting is preparing the products for departure. Once they leave our premises and travel to port no delivery is the same.
And the most challenging part?
Understanding what your partner wants: sometimes English may be spoken, but not always understood!
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
By using a global network of dealers we are able to overcome these issues – i.e. we are able to operate in these countries using their language and currency and adhering to any cultural differences.
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
There is plenty of help, both in terms of commercial advice and financial assistance, from government bodies such as UKTI, Scottish Enterprise and Chambers of Commerce etc.
You should never feel you are alone! It is also good to speak to other businesses who export as you can gain great insight and pick up many great tips.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
Do your homework well - make sure you visit the market and exploit any available government assistance.
Trade Missions are often sponsored by the government and are sometimes good point of entry bringing you face to face with your dealers and customers.
No regrets at all.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years time?
The peaks and troughs in the market are very volatile which can make the future hard to predict.
We came out of the global recession in 2010 and things initially picked up but by 2012 they had dropped off again.
For the last 12 to 18 months I would say the Chinese economy has been driving the latest malaise especially in Asia Pacific and Africa.
However it is not all doom and gloom with both the US and UK markets being buoyant over the past two years.
The US has in fact been the strongest performing market in aggregate for construction and infrastructure and remains one of our most active markets.
Significant investments in the Terex Trucks plant, products, people and processes have been made in the past 18 months by Volvo CE to ensure we are well positioned when demand returns to the mining, quarrying and major infrastructure segments.
Medium to long term the future is going to be very, very good for Terex Trucks largely because of the strong parent company that we have now and their philosophy of investment and improvement. Short term of course there is pain.
There are the market issues and there is a lot of uncertainty in the world and where the customers are. So short term pain, long turn gain. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg with exporting, there are always new markets and new customers to approach.
Exporting and international trade remain high on the Scottish Government’s economic growth agenda and the HSBC Scottish Export Awards are about recognising the excellence in those emerging, wealth creating companies that are selling their products, services and expertise in scores of overseas markets.