The PFM Group (www.pfm-intelligence.com) with its head office in Alphen aan den Rijn, takes care of visitor flow analysis for retailers, large-scale distributors and retail properties investors throughout Europe. A specially built truck combination is mobilized to demonstrate high-tech customer service in practice on location. A compact drawbar trailer from Pacton complements the so-called Mobile Experience Center. Bart Schmitz, owner of the PFM Group, describes the recent delivery as a small and ingenious means of transportation that fits all necessities like Tetris in a minimal space.
The Pacton centre biaxial drawbar trailer with MXD.218.L floor complements the unique combination that functions as a Mobile Experience Center. Owner Bart Schmitz of the PFM Group drives the impressive truck himself to alliances, potential customers as well as fairs and events. A 20-feet, high-tech mobile office is loaded onto the custom five axles Mercedes-Benz Arocs with extended cab and a mobile craner (Effer 395-6s) and with the compact Pacton drawbar trailer an ultramodern billboard, as well as a luxurious passenger vehicle and a generator are transported.
At first, Schmitz consulted with an acquainted trailer manufacturer to build the drawbar trailer, but found a direct connection with Pacton Trailers in Ommen eventually. He explains that this custom fit project was at the appropriate place at Pacton. Due to the limited length, it was a challenge to fit the passenger vehicle, a high-tech billboard of 2,000 kg (www.trotter.eu) plus a generator. The length of the chassis with its extendable drawbar (6 x 100 mm), is about 6 metres, which resulted in a gigantic challenge. In close collaboration, a drawbar trailer, with the legal 14 tonnes, whereby the different parts are fitted and transported like a kind of Tetris, was successfully delivered.
Every single detail on the Pacton drawbar trailer has been specified to ensure that the passenger vehicle, the large digital billboard and the generator can be transported safely. The car is driven up the drawbar trailer in the front on special stack rails, positioning the front wheels above the massive foot of the massive billboard. The special floor therefore has a wide range of securing options (including lashing rings, stake holders and wheel locks) and the bevelled rear has been fitted with extendable ramps. An exquisite look is created by the four stainless steel boxes in combination with a broad variety of LED lighting on the sides. Most striking is the aluminium LED light strip (stretching six metres on both sides) surrounding the transported objects and illuminating it from below. Schmitz remarks that the way in which the continuing LED lighting strip has been created, looks striking. He adds that it is most definitely not a standard product, but that it originated from deliberation and investigation. The result is that the lighting can be managed via an app and likewise the colour can be adjusted.
The PFM Group was founded in 1982 and is nowadays a leading technology-advice company that specialises in passer-by analysis and communication systems. The global operating company with its head office in Alphen aan den Rijn, owns three offices and has about 90 employees. They have clients all across Europe. The PFM Group has a number of divisions, of which one is known to everyone and that it the speaker systems used by well-known fast food chain companies with drive-through models. The speaker boxes, including all the communication equipment, come from the PFM Group. The second division, for which the mobile roadshow has been developed, concerns the analysis of visitor and passers-by flow. Collected data is used to beautify, improve and enhance safety of locations that attract a lot of people, such as shopping centres, stores and city centres. PFM serves many international clients, like Asics, Perry, De Bijenkorf, C&A and Lush. The British CoreTech Solutions was incorporated at the start of 2021. With the acquisition of the market leader in IT infrastructure for the British retail property investment sector, PFM displays its ambition to grow. Schmitz points out that they are ahead of the field in the Netherlands and in England. It is their ambition to be the frontrunners in the rest of Europe as well. That will require a growth of factor five to eight. He explains that their first step is to increase their presence in Germany and France mainly, by means of strategic takeovers.
Truck driver in three-piece suit
The new Mobile Experience Center is meant to support them in reaching their goal. The first thought of this unique vehicle concept dates back to 2013. In 2018 Schmitz decided that he will drive the truck himself and obtained the necessary driver’s licence to do so. Schmitz has his own website, www.suitedtruckdriver.com, which he keeps up-to-date regarding his experience in the developing and utilising of the Mobile Experience Center. As the director as well as the truck driver in three-piece suit, he aims to get everyone excited with his mobile experience centre for the opportunities that the PFM Group offer their clients. Schmitz points out that they have been active for 35 years and that they have been specialising in full-automatic measuring by means of sensor and camera techniques since 1993. He adds that this truck combination allows them to pitch their modern approach with real-time censoring on site and in practice.
As from mid-October 2021 the Mobile Experience Center must be actively deployed as a unit by PFM. Schmitz remarks that they expect regular mobilisation throughout Europe. The office unit of the Mobile Experience Center is based on an ultramodern system from Expandable Trailers (www.expandable-trailers.com) in Eersel. The system has integrated hydraulic cylinders that simplifies loading and unloading. The PFM unit is the 20-feet version that, after being positioned, extends fully-automatic on both sides and folds out a floor like a magic box. PFM has furnished the unit with modern IT techniques that constitutes the foundation of their services. Schmitz explains that they are able to set up and demonstrate their systems on site with this combination, right at the door of liaisons and clients. Besides that, they intend to attend fairs and events with the truck combination. According to Schmitz they won’t need an exhibition stand anymore, as the host may put them up on a parking lot and simultaneously PFM will keep a record of their visitor flow. With this mobile concept, Schmitz says that they are also able to tend to delivery instructions and training on site, in principle throughout Europe. Thanks to Pacton he, as suited truckdriver, always has a promotional billboard, a generator and a passenger vehicle to his disposal.
The entire building process of the truck combination can be watched on Bart Schmitz’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/thesuitedtruckdriver) in multiple short videos. The Tetris drawbar trailer from Pacton has also been given its own video blog: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA22o-uYOo_psLQ9zX9MzCHrNiyMHG8ud