TIP Trailer Services was founded in 1968 and has experienced an eventful entrepreneurial history. “TIP is an abbreviation of Transport International Pool,” explains Rogier Laan, European Commercial Leader of TIP Trailer Services and in this position since 2009.
Only a few years after becoming established on the market, the company was acquired by Gelco Corporation, an investment company from the USA. Over the years, several acquisitions were made throughout Europe. In 1986, a management buyout took place, and in 1989, TIP Trailer Services moved to the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges. In the 1990s, the enterprise was affected by structural changes.
“GE Capital acquired TIP Europe in 1993,” states the European Commercial Leader. “Until that time, we mainly acted as a rental company for trailers. After its acquisition, the business was transformed into a full-service leasing and rental company.”
In 2006, a third branch for service-related solutions, Fleet-Care, was established, which completes the services portfolio and can be bought separately. “We received a lot of feedback from customers in a European Transport Board meeting,” says Mr. Laan. “They asked for extra added value in terms of maintenance and tyre management services for third parties. Therefore, we now offer three main activities: renting, leasing and services.”
With TIP Trailer Services’ acquisition by the Chinese HNA Group Company Ltd. in 2013, the European enterprise faces a different situation. “Under our previous shareholder, strategies were outlined rather conservatively,” explains the European Commercial Leader. “HNA Group, on the other hand, encourages growth and supports this approach.”
At the present time, a capable team of 850 employees in Europe helps to achieve this particular goal. “In general, business is divided into geographical regions at TIP Trailer Services,” states Mr. Laan. “In Europe, we have the Nordic countries, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Benelux, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as the Mediterranean countries. Each of these groups has its own head office.
For the Benelux region, it is located in Rotterdam.” For this reason, European customers are able to make use of extensive services which are perfectly suited to their individual needs and available at all times. “Transportation and logistics clients are provided with value-added solutions,” says the European Commercial Leader. “We specify, source, finance, maintain, manage and remarket the equipment through our experienced teams.”
One of TIP Trailer Services’ mainstays is found in leasing services. “Operating leases make up the largest share in this business area,” explains Mr. Laan. “Customers rely on our expertise regarding trailers, tankers, container chassis, swap bodies and trucks. Currently, we have 45,000 of our own units as well as 20,000 units managed by clients or third parties.”
Furthermore, the European company offers full-service rentals from one day to a whole year and specializes in fleet services.
“FleetCare is associated with general maintenance and tyre management, for example replacements,” states the European Commercial Leader. “Apart from that, we offer roadside assistance and damage repairs. The fleet service portfolio includes coordination solutions and telematics to improve a fleet’s effectiveness and send reports. The latter provides customers with data for further decisionmaking. In addition, FleetAdvice consists of consultancy studies for process optimization and cost reduction. We benchmark how clients’ procedures are organized and come up with improvements. In our 45 years of existence, we have built up a lot of experience and gathered a large amount of data concerning the enhancement of fleet management.”
In order to increase the transport and logistics industry’s marketability, TIP Trailer Services set up the European Transport Board in 2005. “The board includes several of our customers and partners, and looks at important industry-related issues,” says Mr. Laan. “These aspects include the reduction of environmental impact and a decrease in congestion throughout Europe.”
The board meets twice a year for a whole day and also interacts with the European Committee in Brussels to provide input on how operators think and work. “Some parties that interact with Brussels might have their own interests,” explains the European Commercial Leader. “Our board takes a more neutral position. Since there are many other European players involved in the board, we are all equal members.”
Regarding its target audiences, the European enterprise does not distinguish clients according to their core industry, but to their individual requirements. “We look at two important elements: the customer’s need to finance equipment combined with the extent to which the client wants to be in control of fleet maintenance,” states Mr. Laan. “This approach has proven highly effective in the past. We maintain long-standing loyal customer relations. Often, they give particular feedback. Their willingness to provide a testimonial for us to place on our website is the ultimate proof of client satisfaction.”
Additionally, TIP Trailer Services approaches potential and regular customers by means of sales teams, participation in trade fairs and adverts in special trade magazines. “Social media is not a priority,” says the European Commercial Leader. “Our activities are B2B-related; thus the demand for such information is not exceedingly strong.”
In the future, TIP Trailer Services sees great potential on European markets. “Growth of 1% is expected, whereas new vehicle registrations will increase by 6%,” explains Mr. Laan. “Since 2008, many companies have postponed new investments, and vehicles are now being replaced. But our biggest growth will be in services. This particular market is highly fragmented, and not many companies are able to offer these solutions throughout 16 European countries in a consistent way. Apart from that, we have a lot of expertise and are close to clients and markets. TIP Trailer Services covers the full chain of fleet management, from specifying what is needed to purchasing, financing, maintaining, and in the end even reselling.”