Blazing a trail in trailer servicing
Trucks make up only half of the transport story as trailers play an integral part in the industry as well … Scania is fully aware of this, offering trailer serving at its dealerships – countrywide.
Marius Steenkamp, Scania South Africa’s regional director of Northern and Western Cape, explains: “Scania does a continuous portfolio analysis, where we look at new and exciting ways to increase customer value and profitability … much of it is based on tailor-made solutions – specifically if you’re talking about one-stop shopping.”
Steenkamp adds that, in line with this portfolio analysis and development, about two years ago he was asked to interview some fleet customers and gather their comments on the company’s services at the time.
“It was quite evident that there were two major things (which featured on our portfolio in Europe, but not in South Africa, or anywhere in Africa for that matter), that operators were looking for – trailer services and tyre maintenance,” Steenkamp points out. “It was clear that these customers were looking for increased uptime and a means of having a single supplier.”
Scania South Africa listened. “We introduced trailer servicing to our portfolio at the beginning of 2013, with a pilot project in Cape Town,” notes Steenkamp.
“We undertook a lot of development work and fine-tuned the process,” Steenkamp explains. This included sorting out all the resources that were required for trailer servicing; such as the tools, equipment and spare parts (in terms of having the correct assortment and bringing them into the company’s dealer-stock management system).
Steenkamp adds that personnel also had to be added and trained to work on trailers. “Initially we used our own people, who are truck experts, but eventually we decided that we needed experts in the trailer field as well – so we employed trailer mechanics and trained our workforce.”
Now Scania offers this added service countrywide. “Around 80 percent of our dealers – especially in the major areas such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein – do offer trailer servicing,” Steenkamp points out.
Smaller areas, however, aren’t being excluded. “We still offer the services here, but it might be outsourced,” explains Steenkamp. “This means that the customer still deals with one supplier.”
He says that the convenience of having one single supplier adds huge value to the customer.”It offers a seamless end-to-end solution from a known and trusted partner, meaning reduced downtime. It also adds convenience and reduced administration as Scania takes care of the combination. So, it makes a lot of sense to put your trailer in the hands of the same people that take care of your trucks.”