On an airplane, you often see a myriad of small or large trucks that service the aircraft before departure or after arrival. Some of the trucks fill up the plane’s water tanks, others empty the lavatories or, if the weather is frosty, some trucks de-ice the wings.
The equipment that make the trucks able to service aircrafts – such as de-icing, lavatory, water service or washing – is also called Ground Support Equipment (GSE), which are units produced by the Danish company, Vestergaard Company A/S.
From its headquarter in Skullebjerg, Denmark, Vestergaard manufactures, distributes and supports GSE units to airports worldwide. The company has branches and partners around the world, also in Thailand, where it has a factory in Nongkham in the Chonburi province.
ScandAsia talked to Thomas Toft Roepstorff, Country Manager for Vestergaard Company Thailand, about the company’s activities and future prospects in the country.
“In Thailand, we deliver all products from Vestergaard’s production line. However, our focus here is to support, advice and sell the toilet-and water service units that we also produce here in Thailand,” he says.
“We are especially proud to have delivered units to, among others, Bangkok Airways and to the company, BAGS Ground Services’ stations in Phuket, Koh Samui and Don Muang,” Thomas explains.
“At the moment, we are hiring staff for our production site, to cope with the increasing demand,” he adds.
Vestergaard set up a factory in Thailand in 2012, which was part of the expansion strategy to growing markets for GSE units.
“In the markets we are active in, we have a substantial amount market shares, so we wanted to invest in new markets,” Thomas says.
The choice of Thailand was not a coincidence, but decided after thorough considerations.
“We analyzed and visited some countries in Asia and made an assessment based on a range of criteria; such as infrastructure, work force, working conditions, culture, terms of ownership, etc.,” he explains.
“Based on these criteria, we found Thailand the best option for us – and the possibility for a partnership with the Board Of Investment was also an advantage,” Thomas adds.
According to Thomas, Vestergaard has good prospects in Thailand. The GSE market in Thailand is a Blue Ocean market: an unexplored, emergent market with little competition.
“The future of Vestergaard Thailand looks bright,” he says.
“There are continuously expanded or established new airports in Southeast Asia in general, which means more investments in GSEs. Also, in some airports, we update older GSEs to new and more efficient models,” Thomas explains.
Today, Vestergaard Thailand have existed for four years. According to Thomas the company has, naturally, experienced some problems in the country, but is overall very satisfied with settling in Thailand.
“No matter what country you engage in, you run into challenges. To us, it is mainly with different systems in the airports and other times its hard to follow up on our units. However, if you make sure to have a stable supply chain, I think everything will work out fine,” he says, and also mentions that the language barrier is sometimes a problem. “But my colleagues from Thailand are very helpful in translating for me,” he adds.
“Thailand is a wonderful country, but you sometimes need to take things one step at the time and try to understand why people act the way they do. Empathy and patience is key,” Thomas says.