The real MAN in local transport
As a valued partner of both people carriers and goods transportation operators, MAN has made its mark on the local transport arena, so much so, that for the fourth year running both its bus and truck divisions have secured a coveted FOCUS on Excellence Award.
Although the local truck and bus industries are vastly different from each other in many ways, there are also many similarities between the two: they are both based on good working relationships between operators and manufacturers; they rely on good products and even better service delivery; and downtime is not an option. Whether a company is moving people or goods, if a vehicle is not on the road, it is not making money.
“Credibility is the single most important attribute a manufacturer can have,” comments Ray Karshagen, business development management board member, MAN Truck & Bus, upon receipt of MAN’s award for Best Commuter Bus.
“If a manufacturer has a good product, good market knowledge, a dedicated support team and has fostered strong relationships with its clients, working in partnership with them to achieve their transport objectives, then it will have credibility, and its client’s trust,” he explains.
Having spent 35 years in the business of buses, Karshagen is well positioned to know his industry – and why MAN continues to dominate the commuter bus market.
“MAN is the only local operator who builds both bus bodies and chassis,” he continues. “This means we literally offer our clients a complete bus solution. No matter what they need, we are only one call away.”
According to Karshagen, South Africa’s bus industry continues to manufacture bus bodies and then mount them on chassis, rather than the European model of integrated bus design and manufacture, because of the harsh operating conditions many people carriers face on a daily basis.
“However, MAN’s vision in addressing local operating conditions was to bring the entire bus manufacturing process under one roof, which has proven extremely successful.”
The dominant commuter bus manufacturer in South Africa, MAN’s latest addition to the local market, the Lion’s Explorer bus, has already sold 1 100 units in just three short years, a phenomenal achievement and proof that MAN not only understands what the local market needs, but delivers as well.
A PART OF THE WHOLE
MAN’s truck division was not to be outdone by its bussing brethren however, securing its own FOCUS on Excellence Award for Vehicle Distributor with Best Parts Support.
“It’s important for operators to have access to a good service and parts support system,” confirms Wayne Powdrell, management board member: after-sales, MAN Truck & Bus.
“We place a lot of emphasis on precise planning in terms of our parts support, ensuring we have the right stock, in the right place, at the right time.”
According to Powdrell, this involves careful head office planning and a strong understanding of customer needs; reliable support from MAN in Germany; a dependable logistics system capable of ensuring parts reach the various dealers across the country timeously; and most of all a dedicated team intent on keeping MAN trucks on the road.
“Awards such as these are presented to the manufacturer, but really it is the dedication of our teams out there on the road, delivering parts; responding to breakdowns no matter the time, distance or weather; and basically making our whole system work on the ground. It’s they who are the real backbone of MAN.”
Powdrell also adds that MAN’s service protocol is based on one simple principal: reliability achieved through always maintaining an open, honest relationship with clients. “As a manufacturer, we are not only providing a service for our clients, we are working with them to ensure the ultimate success of their operations,” he concludes.