Blazing a trail

Almost half a century ago (47 years to be exact), Panus Assembly Co. Ltd. (Panus) was established in the district of Phanat Nikhom, which sits approximately 100 kilometres from the Thai capital of Bangkok. “Panus began life as a builder of trailer bodies made out of timber,” begins International Marketing and Sales Director, Ron Gysberts. “Since then, the business has evolved considerably, in part thanks to the entrepreneurial flair of its leadership and its willingness to explore opportunities to expand into product ranges that suit its capabilities and specialisms. This means that today we produce a range of high quality transportation equipment, machines and appliances such as semitrailers, military equipment, trucks, push back tractors used in the aviation sector, and bunded fuel storage tanks.”

As well as being the market leader in its field within its domestic market of Thailand, Panus, with its five business units encompassing logistics, fabrication, military, ground support equipment (GSE) and service, has also expanded its geographic presencein recent times as it pursues its goal of becoming a leading international provider of efficient transportation and logistics solutions. From a local perspective, Panus’ clients range from major 3PL or international fleet operators, large and medium sized fleets down to single-owner operators.

“With the majority of the market share under our belt in Thailand, the desire to find new ways for the business to expand was a major motivating factor in our drive for international growth,” Ron continues. “When it comes to our trailer equipment, we supply to customers in Australia, and into the Asian Plus Six region which includes Thailand Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, China, India, Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and Cambodia, and also occasionally into Europe. Meanwhile, we have aircraft tractors and trailers that are in use all over the world, and within our fabrication division we have also developed an environmentally friendly bundled fuel storage cell solution that has made its way to locations in Australia, PNG, Antarctica, Africa, the Middle East and Canada. So, in certain fields, Panus is a brand with a true global presence.”

This international push has also led to benefits appearing back home, as Ron goes on to explain. “When it comes to the market for trailer equipment outside of Thailand, there is a higher level of requirement for more light-weight solutions. In Australia, for example, the need for flexible, versatile and nimble light-weight solutions is made all the more necessary due to the fact that it has a population spread over a vast geographic area. By serving customers in such markets and gaining expertise in how to create these kinds of solutions we are now able to help educate our Asian customers of their efficiency and productivity benefits. The end result for Panus is that not only are we now positioned to supply the international market with the well-engineered products they require, but also to reverse engineer those skills back into our home market in Asia.”

One of the secrets to Panus’ domestic and international achievements has been the building of a robust supply chain made up of businesses capable of supplying high quality parts and systems. “When it comes to said suppliers, we get to benefit from the use of some of the industry’s latest technological developments,” Ron proclaims. “This in turn allows us to incorporate things like telematics and electronics into our own solutions, and we have some pretty smart hardware and software items that we are looking forward to bringing to market in the not-too-distant future.”

All of the aforementioned products and solutions begin life at the company’s 53-acre site in Thailand, from which it dispatched approximately 4500 different pieces of equipment in the last year alone. With around one-third of its site under cover, there is still considerable room to grow and efforts to do so are currently underway with Panus building an entirely new, purpose-built factory that will be designed to maximise efficiencies and streamline production.

“The building of this new factory is something that has been in the planning stage for several years now and comes at a time when the business is growing at such a rate that it is almost getting too big,” Ron states. “In order to combat this unique challenge, we have initiated a multi-stage programme to modernise the business, stage one of which was the additional of extra factory space into our existing facilities, while stage two is the construction of an entirely new factory. Inside this new building, we will employ the best in modern technology and techniques, including a network of robotic welders and the latest in spray painting equipment.”

The new factory is expected to be up and running by 2020, following which time the company will then turn its attention to renovating the rest of its existing buildings. The end result will be a completely revamped site, but one which has been delivered in a staged, manageable timeframe without causing disruption to the day-to-day running of Panus. “As you can probably imagine, this represents a considerable investment for the business, but at a time when we are preparing to celebrate our 50th birthday, we see it as being a fantastic starting point on the path to what we hope will be our next 50 years of success.”

Panus Assembly Co. Ltd
Thailand’s leading trailer manufacturer
Approaching 50th birthday
New facility due to open in 2020