Although sometimes taken for granted, the brake system in a vehicle is one of the most critical safety factors. Chassis Brakes International has built its business with this in mind, manufacturing an array of high-quality products and components including disc brakes, drum brakes, rotors and automated parking brakes. The company as it stands today was launched onto the marketplace 4 years ago; however, it stems from a 90-year history with operations under a variety of guises and ownership structures. Over its evolution some things have remained unchanged: its integrity and extensive knowledge base.
Chassis Brakes International is one of the world’s largest manufacturers in the brakes sector, and its primary products are sold directly to original equipment manufacturers and through various aftermarket channels (Braxis in Europe and KBX in India). Thomas Wünsche was appointed to the role of CEO in February last year and saw wonderful opportunities for the already robust business.
With a strong and passionate team in place he felt that the wheel did not need to be completely reinvented upon his arrival, instead all that was needed was a slight revision in a few key areas.
“Many of the company’s employees had been with us for decades so they carried those original thoughts and intrinsic values of what Chassis Brakes International is all about,” Thomas recalls. “The company was performing well and the team was very ambitious, but due to the nature of a transaction like this the company had lost focus in certain activities. We weren’t as customer focused as we could have been and while we were trying to do whatever it took to be successful we didn’t have a clear direction. That’s what I found when I first joined.”
A strategic plan called RISE 2020 was put in place outlining the company’s ambitions for growth and expansion over the next 4 years. This gave staff clear guidance on where the company was heading and how it was going to get there. A key element of the plan was to double the sales organically, reaching €1.5 billion by 2020. In addition to that it wanted to achieve double digit margins, sell more than 2 product families per customer, and grow its partnerships network by 2. “It’s all in 2s and we base it on 4 pillars and values,” Thomas explains. “The first pillar is to focus on our customers, especially the ones we already know. Sometimes companies are inclined to look for more business, but we want to make it a priority to work more closely with the customers we already have and to get them even more excited about us as a company.