Though just recently named president of Mack Trucks, Martin Weissburg is no stranger to the trucking industry.
“My whole career has been with trucks, trailers, construction equipment,” he said during a broad-ranging discussion with media at the company’s customer center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
He was named president June 1, succeeding Dennis Slagle, who had been in the role since 2008. Before that, Weissburg held senior and executive positions with the Volvo Group, including president of Volvo Construction Equipment in Europe, president and CEO of Volvo Financial Services, and president of Volvo Financial Services America.
Having grown up in Maryland near Mack's headquarters in Pennsylvania, Weissburg described his new position with Mack is "the dream job."
The company has seen improved sales as a result of the economic boom, as well as the success of the Mack Anthem, which helped the company gain share in the highway segment. Sales for models with 70-inch sleepers have doubled in comparison to last year.
"It couldn't have come at a better time," Weissburg said. "The highway segment is just smoking."
Production at the company’s Lehigh Valley Operations facility is now at an all-time high, with 2,400 employees, including 400 personnel added since last year last year.
The booming economy presents its own challenges, though, as it has with other manufacturers.
“Generally speaking, we’re in an environment where costs are up,” he said, referring to the prices of raw materials like steel and aluminum as an example. Not all of those increases are related to Trump administration tariffs. But the tariffs have created an environment that has seemingly given every supplier permission to raise prices.
Labor demands are adding price pressures of their own, with industrial jobs at a 17-year high and more open jobs than there are applicants. “Logistics costs are up for everyone,” he added. Even those who make the trucks are paying more for those services.
“We have our share of challenges in the supply chain as well,” Weissburg said, referring to constraints that keep build rates from growing at a faster rate. “There’s no single, major point of pain. Just right when you fix one, there’s another one.”
To push Mack forward, the company continues to make new investments, primarily geared toward maintenance. Certified Uptime Centers and over-the-air engine updates are meant to cut down maintenance time and address preventative maintenance issues.
Mack is also looking toward electrification, with plans to demonstrate an electric Mack LR refuse truck for the New York City Department of Sanitation in 2019. "This is coming," Weissburg said. "We can envision a fully electric site in the future."
This is a version of an article that originally appeared on Today's Trucking, repurposed through a content sharing agreement.