Petr Ostrý: We can meet essentially all demands

Published: 12. 9. 2023
Author: Karel Černý
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Many of those who have found themselves transporting a large load and in need of a trailer have likely come across the name AGADOS as the company is the market leader in this sector. However, it has also built up a reputation with the military, rescue and emergency services, and others who needed a custom solution in the automotive or defense industries. Executive director and co-owner of the company, Petr Ostrý, is rightfully proud of its achievements.

You are now in the fourth decade of the company's existence. Did you have the ambition to be among the best in Europe when you were starting out?
In the early 90s, our plans for the business were very much "making a virtue out of necessity". Our plant manufactured agricultural machinery under the Agrostroj holding umbrella, and the demand for it just dried up. So we were left looking for a new manufacturing program. Thanks to coincidence, we very shortly came upon the idea of manufacturing trailers for personal and utility vehicles. The market was very hungry at the time. Business was booming, but there was essentially no provider of high-quality trailer technologies. It was a major opportunity that we seized locally as well as beyond the then-Czechoslovak borders. We've always had only the highest aims when it comes to quality. This subsequently allowed us to penetrate into demanding markets where we were able to compete by providing more than just lower prices.

Do different countries to which you export your goods have specific demands? Winter in the Nordics is not the same thing as winter in the South, for instance...
Seeing as our exports are essentially global, we certainly need more than just several models and a single technological design. There are bound to be differences if our trailer is deployed in the desert or in freezing Alaska. We can meet essentially all demands coming in from our clients. They use trailers to transport the most expensive luxury vehicles, Formula 1 race cars, and giraffes; our trailers can even float.

One of the things that have gained you an excellent reputation is your ability to manufacture custom vehicles for your clients. How often do you get such commissions?
The market is changing rapidly, similar to other industries. You can no longer have the mindset of manufacturing thousands-strong series. And we have to think this way when developing our products. They need to be modular, kind of like Lego. We cooperate with our clients and they're there throughout the entire development and manufacturing process. New technologies allow us to experiment more and more; we provide increasingly intricate designs to clients who are progressively more demanding as they get used to our ability to manufacture essentially anything they require. And things have started to take a turn – in recent years, it's been AGADOS that comes up with new solutions and introduces them to its potential future clients.

How have your portfolio, the number of products, and clients' demands changed over time?
The demand has been changing dramatically in recent years and our portfolio is keeping pace. Yes, our clients' requirements have been growing progressively, and we're all the more pleased to see it. We're encountering new procedures and technologies that help us advance by leaps and bounds in both the automotive and defense industries. We are fulfilling increasingly complex commissions, becoming a sort of systemic integrator in the field of logistics.

You also do work for the military and emergency services. Do they have a lot of special requirements compared to the "civilians"? And have any of the particulars translated into regular production?
What I said in my previous response applies primarily to these sectors. Together with our partners, we develop truly unique mobile solutions for the issues of serving food and supplying and treating water in extreme conditions. And our solution, the HUNTER trailer, can transport truly anything and anyone, be it in the desert or the far north. Many of our products have received awards at renowned trade shows, often winning first place. We built a specialized paint shop for the purpose of surface coating these custom vehicles, which immediately had many prominent clients knocking on the door. The same goes for our brand-new welding workshop. We plan to purchase additional technologies in the coming years to meet the requirements of new projects that our company has been invited to participate in based on positive feedback.

Which of your products have found the most success in the military? And do you supply just the Czech army, or have you got contracts elsewhere as well?
All of our solutions have been very successful domestically as well as around the world. The foremost would have to be all of our field kitchen models. We offer a wide selection based on the required application, there's something for everyone. Next come our mobile water tanks and treatment plants. And then the aforementioned HUNTER and RANGER trailer series, which are fitted with self-supporting chassis and skids, making them capable of floating, fording, or driving in deep snow, rocky terrain, and desert sand. We supply the Czech and Slovak armies, of course, but even places such as Qatar. And, thanks to our partners who manufacture towing vehicles, essentially the whole world.

What special projects are currently on the agenda or planned for the future?
As you say, these are special projects, which go hand in hand with special restrictions, so I cannot say much right now. What I can divulge, though, is that we will be supplying one of the largest armies in the world and it will be a major reference for us going forward. We're already supplying the first items and there are ongoing audits and military trials. And then there's one of our kitchens – originally designed for the military and emergency services, now repurposed for use in the civil sector – which is bound to sell like hotcakes in the Arab world. It's designed for weekend picnics in the desert, you see.

How many employees do you have? Are there positions you need to fill but don't have the people for?
Our two plants – one in Velké Meziříčí and one in the Slovak city of Modra – employ more than 200 workers. And you're right there – we definitely have positions that are hard to fill. We're short on designers and engineers but also painters, for instance. We have a long-term, extensive benefit program and we even offer generous hiring bonuses. The families of our colleagues are well aware that we're happy to employ their children or even their children's children... Yes, here at AGADOS, we do, in fact, have instances of three generations from one family working for us, which we're very proud of.

AGADOS is the largest Czech trailer manufacturer and also one of the largest European trailer manufacturers in the O1 and O2 categories (total trailer weight up to 750 kg and up to 3500 kg). It sells around 30 thousand trailers per year. Its reach extends to the majority of European countries, more than half of its production is sold abroad. AGADOS offers trailers from a wide selection of braked and unbraked types of different dimensions, for different use cases, made of various materials, and offering numerous features. AGADOS also provides full service and repairs and sells spare parts even for older trailer models.

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