VB Airsuspension
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Foreword from the Board – E-NEWS September 2016

Placed on 27/09/2016

Now is a good time to look back briefly at what has been a very successful year so far. The holidays are over and we're all getting stuck in for the last part of 2016, with plenty to look forward to and get excited about here at VB-Airsuspension (well, speaking for myself anyway!). As I'm fond of saying: foot on the accelerator and let it rip.

Today and tomorrow are more important than yesterday, nonetheless it's good to glance back and see where we've got to: we've had top returns in August, the highest turnover ever in the United States, we have been honoured with the König Kunde Award and once again we have developed new products that have enabled us to set the bar that little bit higher.

A great deal has been going on behind the scenes in terms of strategy. The building blocks we decided on together with the management team have been taken on board by the organisation and the different teams have made some major strides towards implementing improvements. The Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP/MRP and CRM system is starting to pay dividends and we are garnering useful information for the future. The Virtual Project Planning system (VPP) is now up and running, and here too we have high expectations.
As you will see we are doing everything we can to live up to our slogan of “making everyday smoother”.
We look forward to the future with confidence backed up by a fantastic organisation.

Height of the trade fair season
The trade fair season reaches its height this week with the main fair of interest to us: the IAA Nutzfahrzeuge in Hanover, Germany. This is the world's no. 1 trade fair for commercial vehicles, making it a unique opportunity to showcase our products to visitors. This year, we have a completely new stand as well as new products on show. We would like to extend a warm welcome to you to join us at the fair in Hall 26 on Stand D43. 

We have been on the road attending several fairs since the summer holidays: in Germany (2x), Sweden and Italy. The Caravan Salon Düsseldorf was a great success for us once again. We were delighted to be recognised with the König Kunde Award, which “Frau Antje” helped us to celebrate (see later in the newsletter).

VB-ActiveAir
“Dad, are we ever going to set off?” The VB-ActiveAir video always makes me smile from start to finish, not to mention the photos too. When you hear this plaintive remark from the child riding in the back of the motorhome, everything becomes clear and we all get the joke. Our marketing department has done a fantastic job in conjunction with our marketing partner. This has resulted in a fantastic article in Reisemobil International, a superb promo video and flawless brochures. You can read more about VB-ActiveAir later on in this newsletter.

International developments
The summer sales meeting took place on 6, 7 and 8 July. This is always a key moment for us, a time when we share new information, jointly decide on the strategy for the following year and adjust the targets as needed. At this year's meeting we welcomed Ravi Mundada from our “subsidiary” VB-Airsuspension India for the first time. His contribution and developments in India gave the others a fresh insight into new opportunities. We have also been doing well in North America and have expanded our staff complement there. Tiki Taljaard, originally from South Africa, is our latest addition to the team.

Having good people on your team
Growth, realising visions for the future and making progress – all of this is only possible with good people.

Did you know:
Here in the VB Group we operate with a team of around 100 people. Twelve different nationalities now work for the VB Group, the average age of our employees is under 38 years and in Varsseveld around 25% of the employees are women.
I am very proud to say that the VB-Airsuspension team is made up of great people, but it's important to remember that even the best employees need guidance and coaching. In Gerald not only do we have a good General Manager but also a discerning people coach, something I believe bears repeating. Because I am on the road so much it may not always be possible to give people the proper time and attention needed, but his role at the “home base” means Gerald can and does do this.

Investing in people is second nature at VB-Airsuspension:
Student Quintin Pet of the Instituut HAN Automotive completed his studies with a 10 and has been awarded the VB-Airsuspension Prize.

We have a number of new colleagues, and I'd like to introduce you to a couple of them in particular:

  • One of my personal wishes is about to be fulfilled: I have been of the opinion for many years that we need a Product Manager. The management team have come round to my way of thinking and I believe we have found the right man for the job in Jeff Straub.
  • I would also like to introduce to you our new management assistant, Janneke Loeters. You can read more about Janneke and her role later on in this newsletter in the "Introducing..." section.
Victor Benno