As one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers year after year and a highly deserving finalist in seven FOCUS on Excellence categories – an awards programme sponsored by WesBank – one of the main secrets of MAN’s success is its ability to recognise the needs of its clients and provide relevant, workable solutions.
As everyone in the industry is aware, one of the major differences between passenger and commercial vehicles is that whereas cars lose value from the moment they are purchased, commercial vehicles are there to make money. However, they can only accomplish this while on the road; a vehicle off the road is a vehicle losing its operator’s money. This means that factors such as reliability, sales, parts and service support are regarded with extreme importance. It is therefore praiseworthy that MAN has been nominated as a finalist in the categories of vehicle distributor with best sales support, best service support and best parts support.
However, without a great product line-up in the first place, these awards would be meaningless. Not a problem for MAN – it is also a finalist in the Best Heavy Commercial Vehicle (GVM 8 500 kg to 16 500 kg), Best Extra-Heavy Commercial Vehicle (over 16 500 kg), Best Commuter Bus and Best Touring Coach categories – effectively meaning that it has been recognised for achieving excellence in every area of its expertise.
As Ray Karshagen, business development management board member of MAN Truck and Bus, points out, manufacturers’ relationships with operators rely on credibility. To achieve this, MAN ensures it has good products, good knowledge of its clients’ needs in the different markets and a strong support team.
MAN’s success in terms of its product line-up can be attributed to the company recognising problems specific to the South African market and delivering products that will solve these problems. An excellent example of this is the newly launched addition of the TGS-WW to the existing line-up of TGAs, TGMs and TGLs. The product was introduced as a refinement of the TGA. Released in September, it offers not only a new appearance but also upgrades and developments that have been tested in South Africa to better suit local operators’ needs, which differ to those in other countries due to South Africa’s harsh climate and varied topography.
Wayne Powdrell, management board member: after sales, MAN Truck and Bus, believes MAN is frequently recognised as one of the best in the industry for parts support due to its careful planning strategies. As MAN imports parts from Germany, it is necessary to have very good communication with the office there, as well as an excellent knowledge of what the local clients require. The team at MAN ensures they always have the right stock when and where it may be needed. This calls for a reliable logistics team who can get the parts to anywhere in the country, ensuring maximum vehicle uptime.
Powdrell feels that it is the team at MAN who really deserve the accolades. It is their dedication to keeping trucks on the road by prompt parts delivery and effectively attending to breakdowns, regardless of circumstances, that ensures MAN’s reputation for excellence remains intact.
MAN’s nomination as a finalist for best sales support is also an important one for the company, as it reflects the dedication the sales team has for making sure the client is being provided with the right vehicle for the job. To do this, the sales team requires an excellent knowledge of their products as well as of the industry. With this, they can determine which vehicle is needed for each segment of the industry and then recommend the appropriate vehicle to the client. An excellent after-sales support team also ensures that products can be tailored to clients’ specific needs and requests.
One of the areas MAN is particularly famed for is its service. A client’s relationship with MAN does not end once the vehicle has been purchased and delivered. Powdrell illustrates this by explaining that MAN’s philosophy on service is founded in the principle that reliability is achieved through maintaining an open and honest relationship with the client. MAN really understands the importance of quality vehicles and support to transporters, and is dedicated to helping operators keep their vehicles on the road, and their businesses running.