Corporate  |  Services 

MAN|Service wins with Total Parts Support

MAN’s Central Parts Division (CPD), a critical component of MAN|Service, plays a strategic role in maximising customer vehicle uptime and profitability, while keeping MAN ahead of the competition in southern Africa.

According to Piet Swanepoel, Parts Manager, MAN Truck & Bus SRM: “We currently stock over 25 000 line items in our warehouse in Isando which enables us to take the burden of carrying large parts inventories off our dealer network. The CPD strategy is to own all dealer stock so that the dealers themselves don’t have to lay out large capital sums on parts stock. This also allows us to have complete visibility of MAN and VW parts availability in the entire southern African region and plan accordingly from a centralised point.”

The personnel at MAN CPD fulfil various functions, including buying, planning, supplying, marketing, pricing and technical support. “Our objectives are to remain competitive and profitable in a market swamped with alternative aftermarket products from India, China and Europe. Many are considerably cheaper than MAN genuine parts but there is a huge difference in quality. The big differentiator is that MAN Genuine Parts have full aftersales support at both dealer and CPD levels, something the ‘grey imports’ don’t have,” says Swanepoel.

In order to keep focused on service delivery to dealerships and customer workshops, MAN CPD outsources its distribution and warehousing to leading global courier company, UTI. “This has proven to be the smartest route as far as turnaround times are concerned,” adds Swanepoel. “In the past, each dealer used to nominate a courier but this caused chaos in the CPD dispatch yard. Now, having only one courier which also handles inbound airfreight keeps our operation streamlined and we are able to deliver parts from Germany to the dealership or customer within 24 hours.”

Assisting CPD’s smooth delivery is a software system called Embrace which integrates with MAN’s financial and enterprise resource planning software. “Embrace not only manages our inventory but also has an Advanced Planning System that is linked to a Dealer Network Management module, enabling us to efficiently manage the supply from CPD to dealerships and from Germany to CPD,” Swanepoel explains.

Despite its high-tech back-end, MAN CPD does have its challenges. “There will be times when we don’t have a particular part at CPD but we will always make a plan,” says Swanepoel. “We will strip a new vehicle or component to get the necessary part or fly it in from Germany and then fly it to the dealership. UTI’s consignment tracking service allows us to keep dealers and their customers informed as to when the part will arrive.”

Testimony to the efficiency of MAN CPD is its winning record as far as customer satisfaction ratings and awards are concerned. “MAN CPD was number-one in Parts Support in South Africa during the first quarter of 2011 according to independent CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) audits. CPD has also won the Focus on Excellence Award for Best Parts Support for three consecutive years,” adds Swanepoel.

The success and enhancement of efficiencies MAN CPD has enjoyed over the last decade has everything to do with the people that work in it, Swanepoel explains. “I have worked in the MAN Parts division for 25 years and at least seven of my colleagues have over 20 years of experience in this division. Each member of our permanent staff has a comprehensive understanding of how the entire business works and our trainees undergo a programme that includes every aspect of CPD operations as well as internship at a dealership parts division.”

In what many would consider a ‘male-only domain’, the team at MAN CPD reflects the diversity of our society, with both men and women from all cultural backgrounds helping ‘steer the ship’.

“There’s a tangible sense of family at CPD and a commitment to service excellence from every member of my staff. We proved this during the 2008/2009 recession when MAN Truck & Bus SA was the only subsidiary of the MAN Group to show growth in parts sales, which just happened to be an impressive 19 percent,” Swanepoel says.

For Wayne Powdrell, Management Board Member: After Sales, MAN Truck & Bus SRM: “Once again, the skill, commitment and teamwork MAN exemplifies combine to produce that all-important competitive edge called synergy - when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its component parts.”