Driving the Hino sales force
Senior manager of sales at Hino, IJ Greeff, has been in the trucking industry for 34 years. CLAIRE RENCKEN gets to know the man a little bit better.
Greeff doesn’t mince his words and he certainly doesn’t have time for small talk. When asked about his career, he states simply “I’m a private person and I don’t like talking about myself.” But soon enough, his love of the industry and the Hino brand takes over and he’s talking freely and offering some valuable insights. “My career has been enriched by the colleagues and people I have worked with in the industry,” he enthuses.
He takes me back to where it all began. “After school, I started my career in the motor industry and soon developed a passion for big 6×4 trucks. I was awarded transport bursaries to study engineering and a commerce degree at Stellenbosch University. I then continued my career in the truck industry and that’s where I’ve been ever since. I’ve been back at Hino for four years after a short spell with competitor brands. I love the Hino brand and the company.”
Sales is a part of who Greeff is. “It’s such a dynamic environment. There’s never a dull moment – something exciting happens on a daily basis. Of course, things also happen at a much faster pace than they used to!” he laughs. “Transport efficiency has increased drastically over the years. There’s no room to disguise or absorb inefficiencies anymore. What might have been considered good service 10 years ago certainly would not measure up to customer expectations today.”
Greeff also observes how urbanisation is affecting the market, as is the increased focus on profitability, the need to improve operating and life cycle costs, and uptime of the trucks. Customers have also consolidated their transport needs and want solutions that will provide optimal distribution benefits.
“In the past, a company may have owned 10 trucks even though it actually only needed five; now everything is potentially outsourced. So, instead of seeing a whole line of trucks queuing to offload deliveries outside a typical retailer, you see less trucks operating to a well-planned delivery schedule with very little delivery standing time. Trucks are no longer standing around waiting to offload. Hino is very strong in distribution, so we’ve had to make sure we know what customers are looking for in this regard, and that we’re providing it,” he notes.
There’s been talk about a greater move towards rail and how that will affect the trucking industry. Greeff isn’t too worried. “Rail might seem cheaper initially, but it won’t have the proven efficiency that trucks do.”
The road ahead for Hino and for him as an individual excites Greeff. “With all the competition out there, we have to consistently strive to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. The only way to secure our future is to make sure we offer a better service than our competitors.”
At the mention of Hino’s achievements in the sales category of the Scott Byers awards, Greeff shares some of the company’s philosophy which he believes contributed to their success: “We strive never to let the sun set on opportunities, or on a customer complaint. We endeavour to lead from the front and provide a world class service to our dealers, so that they can do the same for their customers. Finally, we always act with integrity. I believe you have to do what you say you’re going to do!”
Another prospect that has Greeff excited is the fact that the transport industry can now benefit from global innovations. “Hino and Toyota has access to world class research information and processes. If strategies are established accordingly, put into place and adhered to, the future will surely be bright.”