Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Truck bed roll covers and rack systems
President Nils Forssman is leading the fiercely independent manufacturer to growth in a notably competitive market.
With hundreds of manufacturers making a variety of bed covers, Truck Covers USA stands out above the crowd. Forssman says the company's success is rooted in domestic manufacturing, high product quality, and responsiveness to customers.
The company has manufactured all of its products domestically since 2004. "Over the years, this has helped our research and development to the manufacture and production of a comprehensive product range for the truck bed market," says Forssman.
The company’s hard roll-up tonneau cover is the flagship product, one that provides security and weather protection for cargo in the truck bed, with the ease of opening and closing the unit for easy access.
Responding to customer feedback, Truck Covers USA was the first manufacturer to integrate a toolbox into a roll-up tonneau cover in 2006. "A groundbreaking milestone in our history was the launch of the American Roll Cover & Toolbox combo," says Forssman. "It was a first in the industry. Since then we have developed several industry-first products, earning us two Specialty Equipment Marketing Association [SEMA] awards."
The company also began creating and integrating cargo racks to their tonneau covers creating a unique system that can port from lumber and ladders to bicycles and surfboards.
To maintain high-quality design standards, Forssman says they utilize the latest in CAD design, along with CNC machining. "CAD drawings of all our components allow us more precision in the manufacturing process and are imperative for ongoing research and development," he explains.
However, high technology can't always match human-driven attention to detail. "One of the most important stages in final manufacturing, however, is hand assembly," says Forssman. "This step is vital for production, but it also allows us to quality check each component, making sure that each element meets our exacting standards. In some areas, we also integrate automation where necessary to make assembly more efficient and safer, but without jeopardizing quality."
Automation aside, the company remains dedicated to its workforce. Forssman says that nearly 50 percent of employees have been with the company for more than 10 years. "We offer training to new employees, and there is continuing education for our entire team ranging from safety standards, operating machinery, and forklift training, to customer service etiquette and being able to answer technical questions from customers," he says.
Another advantage of such a high employee retention rate is their location in San Diego. "The biggest advantage here is the weather," says Forssman. "It’s conducive to a highly productive work team and ease of manufacturing. California is the number one state for truck sales, giving us a huge in-state advantage. It makes shipping in-state simple and quick."
While most of the competition in the truck accessory industry have been acquired by large conglomerates, Truck Covers USA remains an independent force in the industry due to its ability to quickly adapt to market trends.
Citing double-digit annual growth, Forssman says a high level of customer service has kept the company at the top of the industry. "First and foremost, Truck Covers USA has maintained its intimate and small business feel, which is important for our dealers and customers get the best customer service and know that their business matters to us," he says.
Challenges: "We are in a growth stage and this provides both challenges and opportunities," says Forssman."One of our challenges is growing fast enough to keep up with the demand for our products. This is a good obstacle to have to overcome!"
Opportunities: Forssman sees an opportunity to "add new innovative products to our existing lineup."
High quality will also continue to drive sales, he adds, and modular designs provide more opportunities. "This makes our product versatile. Our toolbox/cover combos are unique, and our custom rack designed to fit seamlessly with the cover or as an add-on set us above and apart."
Needs: More employees. "We are looking into increasing both our factory and our front office team to meet the demands we have at present, but most importantly, retain continuity with respect to service, sales, and production as we expand," says Forssman.