Following its success in Europe, JOST’s KKS automatic coupling system is now available for the Australian transport industry.
“We are showing the JOST KKS system here for the first time,” says JOST CEO, Joachim Dürr, at Brisbane Truck Show 2023. “There’s a lot of interest from Australian customers as safety in operations plays a big role in Australia. So, we’ve invested in it and we’ve brought it to the Australian market now.”
The KKS system automates the entire coupling and uncoupling process with the push of a button. In addition to being a big efficiency gain, it also eliminates the potential for error on a large scale.
“All of the operations where you could hurt yourself or you are exposed to risk or injury are reduced,” Joachim says. “In this industry drivers are scarce as they’re hard to find. If you lose a driver from an injury for a few months that’s easily a few $10,000 Australian dollars. Therefore, fleets really appreciate our technology as it makes their operation safer and more efficient.”
Based on first-hand experience, it also makes the job of a truck driver much more attractive.
“We have a few customers in Germany and one told me the other day that when he couples and uncouples his trailers, he only goes six kilometres and then he has to couple and uncouple them again,” Joachim says. “There are competitors of his that are exchanging trailers, and there are drivers knocking on his door and asking if they can start with him because they look at the KKS and say, ‘I want that. Can I come and work for you?’ So, all of a sudden, he said it has helped him attract or keep good drivers because they just like to operate efficiently and safely.”
JOST also has camera systems available that can support the coupling process with its ROCKINGER couplings and fifth wheels.
These tie into its solutions which were presented at the show in three categories – Assistance, which included sensor solutions and the KKS automatic coupling system; Sustainability, with weight-optimised products and biodegradable high-performance lubricant; and Digitalisation, which includes online identification systems, catalogues, spare parts, and the JOST Truck Stop.
A consistent global supply chain is ultimately what has made JOST so successful. Its reputation for reliable products and its ability to withstand recent market conditions therefore saw opportunities for further growth follow.
“The key is what I call local for local operations,” Joachim says. “We like the competence close to the customers and close to the market, and that helps us. We don’t have a very central organisation, and when we have these fluctuations or moments when supply chains break like they did with Covid, we’re not as exposed as some companies would be that have a more central approach.
“We have our own engineering workforce in Australia, and we produce our own fifth wheels here to make sure that we have the right application, for the right product, for the right administration. And I think the customers really benefit from that and I think they really value that.”
Joachim believes everybody should be able to do their daily business without the help of their central office. In JOST’s case, it doesn’t need its Neu-Isenburg headquarters to run its operations in Australia, Brazil or Asia.
“We are not affected as somebody would be who has a more centralised operation, because we tend to have the competencies on the ground,” Joachim says. “It is also very customer orientated. If a sales guy goes to a customer and makes a commitment, he knows that he has the ability to fulfil that commitment. He’s not going to go there and say, ‘I’ve got to ask the headquarters if I can do that’. He can just commit to something, and he knows if he will be able to commit to it or not because he has the ability to fulfil.”
The next step for JOST, Joachim says, is to continue doing what it does best.
“We’re always developing,” he says. “Our engineers are very creative when it comes to new technology, so there’s a lot of things that we are working on that I can’t speak about. However, what we are launching for the KKS is a new integration system into the trailer that will make it easier for existing fleets to convert to KKS. The so-called KKS-U Connector is easily retrofittable to trailers that already are on the rods of this world.”