High Positions: Hendrickson CEO Matt Joy
In our interview series ‘High Positions’ we ask leaders who shape the business to give us their honest, unfiltered opinion about the state of the industry.
To start off with, Manuel Lutz, Co-Founder of 1Truck America, talked to Matt Joy, CEO of Hendrickson, about how the industry has changed, the differences between the American and European market, and what the future will look like. This is his position:
What are the biggest challenges in today’s market and how has the industry as well as Hendrickson changed, since you started in 2006?
Labor is the number one challenge facing our industry today in both Europe and North America. Finding a way to be less reliant on labor is our number one focus today and that has led us to new technologies such as integrating more robotics into the plant. In 2006, Hendrickson was primarily a North American supplier with a localized operation in the UK, today, we have plants throughout Europe and have partnerships with all of the major truck makers for either springs, fasteners or stabilizers. Our reliance on the North American market as a sole source of revenue is far less than it once was, and we see Europe as a great growth opportunity for Hendrickson.
Two major developments in the commercial vehicle business are alternate fuels and autonomous driving. What impact do these have on suspension and braking systems?
Fortunately for Hendrickson all trucks, whether internal combustion engines or alternate fuels or autonomous all have some type of axle, suspension and braking systems. Some of the alternative fuel trucks, especially electric have weight penalties due to the added battery systems. This is an opportunity for Hendrickson to contribute to a solution with our lightweight designs, components and composites.
What are similarities and what are major differences between the European and American market?
There are far more similarities than differences, the goal of every fleet is to find the way to move freight the most efficiently, regardless of it is a trucking company of a private fleet. Working with fleets and manufacturers to provide the lowest cost of operation, whether it is finding the most efficient way to install our product on-line at the manufacturers or provide a low maintenance product for fleets, Hendrickson’s goal is to optimize ease of use and performance for all of our products. One difference is the level of vertical integration of components that Europe has compared to North America. North America relies more on suppliers to provide expertise in areas of the truck, such as suspensions, so the OEM can focus on the power train and driver interface. I believe, in the future, Europe may move in the same direction with certain parts of the truck.
What new ride technologies are you offering Europe?
Hendrickson is incredibly excited with our new partnership with MAN introducing the first elastomer suspension into the European market. The 26T ULTIMAAX is our heavy duty off road vocational suspension that is designed for Mixers and Tippers. This suspension is over 200 KG lighter, provides a better ride and has a lower CO2 emission footprint than a standard 6-rod suspension. Hendrickson has been producing and selling ULTIMAAX in North America, South America, India and Japan for many years and MAN with its partnership with Navistar in North America, is the first OEM to take advantage of the weight savings and ride improvement to really go after the vocational market in Europe. Hendrickson will continue to work with MAN to introduce the 21T version down the road.
What will the semi truck of the future look like and how will the business be in a decade?
The movement of freight will still require heavy-duty trucks Class 8 in North America, 15T in Europe. I believe that zero emission trucks will continue to evolve and governments will require more and more of them, however, in ten years, I think the internal combustion engine will still be the majority of the trucks in operation with zero emissions trucks growing each year. The battery technology must improve, the infrastructure will need to be upgraded and costs will have to come down for zero emissions trucks to be more efficient and cost effective than internal combustion engines.
Matt Joy – Hendrickson President and Chief Executive Officer
Matt Joy serves as president and chief executive officer of Hendrickson, headquartered in Woodridge, Ill. He has complete responsibility for managing the Hendrickson business on a global basis.
Joy most recently served as chief operating officer. He was responsible for all the Hendrickson Divisions: Truck Commercial Vehicle Systems, Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems, Specialty Products, and International Operations.
Joy’s tenure at Hendrickson has included: vice president and general manager of Truck Commercial Vehicle Systems, vice president of Specialty Products, and vice president of Finance.
Prior to joining Hendrickson, Joy worked at International Truck and Engine in the Corporate Controller’s office.
Joy earned both his MBA and Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degrees from DePaul University, Chicago, IL.
Hendrickson, a Boler company, is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medium- and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric and air suspensions; integrated and non-integrated axle and brakes systems; tire pressure control systems; auxiliary lift axles systems; parabolic and multi-leaf springs; stabilizers; bumper and components to the global commercial transportation industry. Hendrickson continues to meet the needs of the transportation industry for more than 100 years.
1Truck America, April 11th 2023