Randon Group – Wheels of Growth

Randon Group, operating on a global scale in the mobility sector, is pursuing a growth strategy driven by the synergy of tradition and innovation.

The Brazil-based business is a traditional conglomerate of companies with experience in the mobility sector spanning seven decades. The Group, headquartered in Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil, consists of two manufacturing divisions – Assembler (trailers and rail cars) and Autoparts (brakes, friction materials, brake actuation, axles, suspensions, hubs and drums, fifth wheels) – and a Financial Services division (bank, consortium and ventures). The Randon Group’s products are available in over 100 countries, supplied from 24 manufacturing facilities and 6 distribution centres.

Over the last few years, the company has grown with an annual compound growth rate of 25%, driven by favourable market conditions as well as acquisitions, and recent financial performance indicates that this fast expansion is set to continue. “We are a traditional business with a strong heritage and experience, but with the energy and enthusiasm of a start-up. This youthful energy is an important factor in the business culture,” affirms the Group’s COO and Executive VP Sergio L. Carvalho, noting that that the company has almost doubled in size over the last five years.

A people business

The Group’s business model is one of Randon’s key strengths. Diversification across several segments provides for a robust footing, and individual units benefit from the Group synergies in terms of procurement, technologies and innovation.

Mr. Carvalho points out that it is also its organisational culture that differentiates Randon from competitors. “Our people are the core of the business. This is not something we have framed on the wall, but consider it a true company value and act accordingly,” he affirms.

He further explains that during the pandemic, the Randon companies have two main focus points: preserving the health of employees and the population and the sustainability of the local and global economy. The company has developed dozens of actions aimed at reinforcing collaborative initiatives aimed at controlling the pandemic.

“Our group has been donating mechanical respirators to local public hospitals in addition to rapid tests, masks, hand sanitizer, food supplies, among other items. The company has also made some adjustments to its factories so that they could manufacture ventilators, an initiative developed in partnership with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, as well as plastic parts for face shields.”

Mr Carvalho further points out that despite the impact of Covid-19, the company achieved record performance in 2020 and managed to keep its supply chain reliable. “We have double- or triple-sourcing so production remained unaffected during the pandemic. A large part of our supply chain is located in Brazil and we have supported the smaller suppliers to help them get through.”

Digital transformation

In recent years, the Group has invested considerably in its future in line with its strategy of expanding its portfolio, capacity and global footprint as well as further supporting innovations and implementing digital transformation.

Mr Carvalho affirms that focus on innovation is a key part of the game, reflecting growing trends in the industry such as sustainability and environmental protection. The innovative edge is provided by the Group’s Technology Centre, located on an area of more than 90 hectares, which is regarded as one of the main development complexes for Brazil’s mobility industry.

The Centre’s recent achievements include the new electric trailer, the Randon Hybrid R – the first electric trailer developed in South America – launched by the Assembler Division, and new products using advanced materials developed for the Autopart Division including new copper-free brake pads, a new trailer ABS system, new piston-type brake chambers, a lightweight trailer suspension system, a truck full-air suspension for MAN trucks and many more.

Seeking to improve the innovation of manufacturing processes, Randon companies are creating a new unit to act in the support and development of industrial automation – the Randon Tech Solutions (RTS) Industry, which will focus on providing solutions, special machines and smart manufacturing. The new unit, expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021, will expand synergy between all Group units in the development of processes and intelligent systems of productivity.

“Added to a culture of constant innovation in processes and the qualification of the technical, operational and engineering staff, RTS Industry will accelerate the growth of our company with sustainability,” stresses Sergio Carvalho. “All of our 24 plants worldwide are going through a technological transformation aiming to get to the same degree of automation that can be seen in the most advanced countries such as Germany within the next three years.”

Global expansion

Investments of recent years have gone not only into the internal capability but also into global expansion. Over the last four years, the company has completed some 12 acquisitions, the most recent of which include Ferrari Industrial, aluminium die casting operation, Nakata Automotive, a large suspension manufacturer, CNCS machining focused on the AG sector and Auttom in the field of industrial automation.

Business partnerships have been just as important a part of the growth strategy. In 2020, Suspensys, a unit that integrates Randon companies, and Volkswagen Trucks and Buses (VWCO) signed a partnership agreement for the company’s entry into the Modular Consortium maintained by the assembler. In an unprecedented partnership between the two brands, Suspensys will be responsible for the pre-assembly of pneumatic suspensions for Volkswagen trucks and buses. It will also be the supplier of the modular full-air suspension system jointly designed by Suspensys and VWCO for its vehicle portfolio.

According to Sergio Carvalho, the consolidation of this business model, amid the challenging scenario that the world is living through, shows that the company is thinking about a future in which innovation and partnerships like this will be even more strategic.

“For many years Randon has kept a robust cash position, and financial management has stayed strong during the crisis. This position has allowed Randon to honour all its obligations and continue most of its investment plans in M&A, capacity expansion, innovation and technology and digital transformation. Always in line with the principles of business and environmental sustainability, and always valuing people and their talents – it is committed people that make Randon a group with a global presence,” he affirms, in conclusion.

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