A Newfound Trailer Niche for Oceania

2014-10 - October - A Newfound Trailer Niche for Oceania - Image

Despite a somewhat murky economic outlook, Australia is envied around the world for an exceptionally vibrant transport equipment scene that has been pushing the innovation bar time and again. Now a new brand is taking the notion of continuous improvement to heart – Panus Oceania.


In hindsight, the announcement didn’t come unexpected. In mid-August, Thailand’s largest trailer OEM, Panus Assembly, proclaimed it would expand to Australia, with local industry stalwart Rod Cunningham acting as CEO of the new venture.


Less than half a year before Rod’s official appointment, Panus’ global CEO Panus Watanachai had paid Melbourne a much-anticipated visit to speak at the inaugural Global Truck & Trailer Leaders Summit. During his presentation, he indicated that the company had already been exploring Australian variances in design and explicitly touched on the opportunity to export to Australia – with the goal of bringing “ready to work” technology to the country’s bustling commercial road transport market.


Despite that early warning, the official launch of Panus Oceania last month still came somewhat abruptly – most likely because no one at the Summit would have expected the Thai company to move so quickly. But according to Rod Cunningham, procrastination is not what the nimble family business is about.


“Panus Watanachai had a vision to bring a new and exciting brand to the Australian market, so he rolled up his sleeve and made it happen. I believe that can-do attitude, the willingness to take action and never be complacent, is unique about Panus as a business and will give the local subsidiary a distinctive edge.”


Naturally, Panus’ foray into the Australian market had been planned behind the scenes for quite some time and was backed by comprehensive market research.


“I’ve been aware of Panus Assembly for some time and I know it doesn’t do anything half-heartedly. Rest assured it is committed to the Australian market and has a very clear vision for the future of Panus Oceania,” says Rod – emphasizing the new brand has all the potential to become a highly respected supplier in Australia’s globally renowned transport equipment market.


“The business will be progressively established through a focus on one target market segment at a time, filling a gap in the domestic market offering highly engineered, aligned and tested equipment backed up by a new approach to customer service.”


According to Rod, “Panus is the leading manufacturer of heavy transport equipment in a country where multi-national OEMs like Caterpillar, Isuzu, HINO, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Ford have pushed the quality bar at light speed over the past decade or so. That global influence has turned the country into a highly professional, extremely efficient manufacturing hub, and with it local businesses like Panus who boast a 50 acre production facility with capacity in excess of 300 units a month.


“Having previously worked with a number of global suppliers, when the opportunity to head up Panus Oceania presented itself, I thought it was a great chance to couple a customer centric philosophy with the global power of Panus.”


According to Rod, Panus Oceania has already welcomed its first lot of flat top semi-trailers in Melbourne, with more designs scheduled for arrival soon.


“As soon as you see our new equipment you will recognise the lengths we have gone to in designing, aligning and testing it to make sure it’s exactly matched to the requirements of Australia’s commercial road transport industry,” he says.


“This is only the starting point with a structured continuous improvement process in place.”


To ensure the newly founded brand will be able to back up the product and customise it post-production, Panus Oceania is currently structuring a comprehensive distribution network.


Panus Oceania has already performed a range of professional load testing trials as part of its local durability program and will continue to invest in technical and engineering for the emerging brand – all documented on video for maximum transparency.


An integral member of our product design and development team is our Engineering Manager Aris Bonilla, who has many years of experience in designing transport solutions for some of Australia’s leading trailer manufacturers. Aris expertise includes computer modelling, simulation and analysis of structures plush general engineering and design skills.


Aris has also worked as a teacher in Engineering through local Victorian Colleges, where he had trained other engineers and architects in 3D computer modelling.   Combining his experience with the time spent teaching, Aris brings a new dimension to the manner in which the Company designs, communicates and engages its clients as part of the engineering solution.


But, being the new kid on the block does bring a certain responsibility with it, Rod says. “Panus Oceania have a lot of respect for local manufacturing and believe that Australia is at the forefront of global innovation in the area of transport equipment supply. While we do believe in our product, we also think we will find our own niche in the market and co-exist with those who have made the industry what it is today.”


Going forward, Rod will be supported by Jozef Horvat, who has been appointed Panus Oceania’s National Sales and Marketing Manager. Rod says, “We’re all set to go now. We have a world-class manufacturing business backing us from Thailand, and a small but talented team to provide a new level of customer service to the market here in Australia. It’s the perfect set up – and that’s only the beginning.”


This article has been kindly reproduced thanks to Trailer Magazine