Driving through crisis with New Thinking
If you looked up the origin of the word ‘crisis’, you would learn that it comes from the Greek meaning “to decide” or “a decision”. Some would define it more specifically as an “important or decisive stage in the progress of something” or a turning point, particularly related to a disease.
In a moment of crisis, decisions matter. They can define who you are, your brand, and the next steps available on a journey. But in the moment, the root of that decision flows from your values.
As previously mentioned, we believe our values to be a legacy left from our founder Pino Harris and an enduring compass of the business. Passion provides the fuel; Integrity makes up the structure. And the value that steers the direction- New Thinking. But how do we define “New Thinking”? Is it Innovation? Creative ideas? Or is it the courage to go against what’s being done and trudge a new path to meet market needs?
For Pino Harris, his lived expression of new thinking encompassed all the above. It was his ability to pivot, think quickly, and adapt that helped him take a crisis and turn it into a critical success that forever changed the Irish and UK truck industry.
From challenge to success
In the midst of a world heaving with cultural and societal changes in the late 1960s, Pino was already a successful distributor for a major British truck manufacturer. The story goes that a merger of companies consequently cut Pino off from access to previous partners. Shortly afterwards, while attending a motoring show in Holland, he was introduced to Hino, a then-unknown Japanese company. From this relationship emerged a business partnership which became the cornerstone of his new company. As a result, Pino became the first to import vehicles from the Asian markets and permanently changed the game with new thinking.
Pino didn’t just break trends by being the first to reach out overseas to the Asian market but also had a business model that was different from other distributors. He imported trucks for stock and assembled them in Ireland. This meant he had inventory on-hand while competitors would take the better part of a year or more to fulfil an order. The wealth of skilled workers for assembly and access to supplementary parts turned into a superior after-sales programme, which is still an essential part of the Harris Group today.
Today, we are driving new thinking by progressing the industry of commercial vehicles within Ireland and the UK. Meeting (virtually) with our manufacturers to explore new ways of integrating the latest technology to improve the range of products we are bringing to market.
Together we will build new vehicles that offer zero-emissions technology, lower running costs and reduced environmental impacts. Earlier this year, we previewed Steed (Sustainable Transport Electric Energy Delivered), a new, 100% electric and metro-ready bus by Higer, representing the country’s next generation of sustainable, accessible and affordable zero-emissions public transport. The Steed will join the current LDV EV80, the new Maxus e DELIVER 9 and the Maxus e DELIVER 3, a fully electric small van of zero emissions, as part of Harris Group’s growing range of electric vehicles.
Physical distancing brings new opportunity
In response to the crisis, all of us have had to adapt our thinking and daily habits to meet a new way of life. For us, we had been looking forward to the Commercial Vehicle (CV) Show 2020, which was scheduled to take place in Birmingham in early April. Each year, this event attracts companies from all over the world to showcase the latest makes and models.
This CV Show was supposed to be especially exciting for Harris Group as we were planning a rebrand launch where LDV, a name in high-quality light commercial vehicles and minibuses, would change its name to MAXUS. The rebrand was also to coincide with the unveiling of the newest EV, the Maxus e DELIVER 3 .
However, the cancellation of the event created a new opportunity for creative thinking. Meeting this challenge head-on, we’re planning a live virtual launch in June, something new for us and our industry.
No matter the condition of the road we are on, our new thinking steers us toward innovative solutions. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you need any information about our products especially our exciting new EV range.