The #25×25 Interview Series, a special editorial project powered by Schoenherr si Asociatii SCA, featuring 25 companies that have been in business in Romania for 25 years, continues with a new installment featuring Daniel Preda, Managing Director Toyota Material Handling Romania.
- Starting with a bit of historical background, what can you tell us about your company’s entry into Romania back in 1996 and about your industry as a whole back then?
We are talking about a period when the documentation was sent by fax, the price calculations were made on paper and the only sales representative we had was traveling all over the country with a “Dacia Nova” to sell trucks. The market at that time was somewhere at less than 200 trucks (compared to 7000 that we have now), but the market had fantastic potential because almost everyone was using the same brand of trucks (Balkancar) and at one point they had to replace it.
- How did your company navigate during all those years in Romania in terms of goals, achievements, challenges and opportunities?
During these 25 years, the company has grown from a single person to more than 140 employees who work in the company today. TMH Romania started out under the name Material Handling Consultants Romania, distributing BT and Hyster trucks. Later, in 2001, the company changed its name to BT Romania and in 2006 it became the first Toyota Material Handling company in Europe.
Our company developed primarily thanks to our employees, who through their daily work and involvement have contributed to the success of our business. They are the ones who have created successful partnerships and brought great results every year. All this, under good coordination from the management team, which provided the right setup for the highest performance and a pleasant work environment.
- What is the proudest moment for your company in its 25-year history?
It would be difficult to choose a single moment. Of course, there were great partnerships concluded during this time that we could brag about, but one of the things that make us proud is that we’ve had the same team for so many years. We built a company where people come and stay. We have in our team, the same employees who joined the company in 1999, in 2000, in 2001 and so on. More than 65% of our employees have been here for more than 10 years and they constitute the backbone of our company
We are also proud to be innovators in our industry. We are the ones who set the directions every time. We were the first to offer rental solutions in the market, we were the first to offer automated solutions, the first to launch a hub dedicated to automation right here in Bucharest, and so on. We have always started the directions in the market.
- Moving into the present, how would you describe your company’s role in the current social and economic context?
The way we see business, is that no one really needs forklift trucks, but safe and efficient solutions for their material handling needs. The challenges that our partners are facing at the moment are the lack of people and the pressure on costs. The automated solutions that we offer come as a solution to these challenges because they work without forklift drivers and the recovery of the investment does not take usually more than 2-3 years.
- No one has a crystal ball, so we won’t ask about the next 25 years. But looking into the future, how do you see the road to 2030 for both your company and the industry you represent?
Speaking of evolution in the coming years, it is clear that we are moving towards a commodity market that we must respond to. It is clear that the movement of goods will be more and more automated in several forms, not only with trucks, but with automated sorting lines, with vertical storage systems, etc. So all we have to do is to adapt and always find the most efficient solutions for material handling.
In fact, Toyota Material Handling Europe organize every 2 years competitions for students from all over the world to come up with proposals for more flexible solutions to serve the needs of these continuous changes that our market has.
The 2022 edition of the Toyota Logistics Design Competition is co-organized with the Toyota European design studio and the challenge for this year is: Shorter supply chains, greater precision, more flexibility and less environmental impact in cities. So we are always looking to improve our offer and to adapt to the requirements of the coming years.