Scania at your service
Today’s truck business is demanding, and vehicle original equipment manufacturers have to take up the challenge to keep pace. Much goes on behind the scenes…
Take, for instance, the humble services department at Scania South Africa. The department is responsible for providing head office support to the retail operation. To make satisfying its customers’ needs a reality, its portfolio incorporates technical training; driver training; repair and maintenance, or services; fleet management contracts; warranty and Scania Assistance.
“We’ve moved away from having a push set up, where we offer certain packages to cater to our customers’ needs above the standard offering. Over the last couple of years, our focus has been to be flexible in creating and supporting these initiatives,” explains Theunes van der Westhuisen, area manager, Service Operations.
Having worket at Scania South Africa for the past 15 years, Van der Westhuizen is well poised to run the Connected and Contracted Services within the department; a role he assumed in December 2015. Additionally, most of his time at the company has been spent in the services arena. It’s evolved a lot over 15 years, though.
For example, Scania Connected Services was established in September 2014. This was in line with the company’s vision to have every new Scania connected with its on-board fleet management system by 2020.
“Each vehicle that has come off the line since September 2014 has been connected to our fleet management system. This adds a lot more value to the customer, and to us as well, because we can identify whether the vehicle is being used optimally, if we need to aid its optimisation, or if any driver training is needed,” explains Van der Westhuizen.
The Scania Fleet Management System (as featured in the July issue of FOCUS) is the heart of Scania Connected Services and, with the top-line Control package, a simple radio frequency identification (RFID) tag can be used to track which driver is driving a vehicle. “That helps us know what’s needed from a driver-training perspective, or how to improve the fuel consumption,” he adds.
On the other hand, Scania Contracted Services is a major portfolio within Van der Westhuizen’s department. The idea is to be able to support the retail arm with flexible, tailor-made repair and maintenance solutions to suit each customer’s needs – no matter the vehicle or market segment.
“The interface with the customer is the dealer network, which puts demands on us to look at what packages can be custom-made to suit the customer’s needs. We work hand in hand from the back office view of supporting the warranty, driver training, technical aspects and so on, to establish what we can do and what it’ll cost.
“In doing so, we need to assess the customers and their needs. It’s a process, but we will work in various value adds to meet the customers’ needs. We have to be close to the customers to ensure we offer and deliver the right support,” says Van der Westhuizen.
The strategy is clearly working. Customer take up of Scania Services has seen a year-on-year growth rate of 18 to 20 percent.
“It’s easy for a sales person to offer anything to the customer, but we need to look at things more realistically and work cross-functionally in order to deliver on our promises. It requires collaboration from the start and each employee forms a part of the chain,” says Van der Westhuizen.
Services may be a humble department within the Scania organisation, but its importance in meeting the demands of the modern-day truck business is undeniable.