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Scania SA broadening its aftermarket focus

Scania South Africa’s aftermarket activities are in for some changes regarding its customer aftersales support systems

Mark Erasmus, Scania’s GM: Services and aftersales
Mark Erasmus, Scania’s GM: Services.

Mark Erasmus, who was appointed Scania SA General Manager: Services at the beginning of August, aims to be ahead of the curve. He is highly motivated and passionately committed to meeting emerging trends in customers’ changing demands regarding aftersales support from OEMs.

The 45-year-old’s career has been in the automotive industry, specifically commercial vehicles, his entire adult life. He is a qualified technician – so he has gotten his hands good and dirty many times. Yet with a rocketing career, he has also held positions as National Aftersales Manager, Vice-President: Sales, and Managing Director at other OEMs.

Erasmus agrees that the most critical factors in this industry remain uptime and total cost of operation. However, as a lateral, out-of-the-box thinker, he is looking further. He sees the extent to which the integration of telematics and on-board sophisticated hardware is starting to impact on the services, parts and maintenance role of servicing dealers, owner-managed workshops and ultimately the OEMs.

“We are seeing the emergence of ‘flexible maintenance’. A vehicle’s data accumulating systems (on-board computer systems and telematics), together with the fleet management analytical systems, are now determining, indicating and warning when a particular vehicle requires maintenance or specific attention. The system of set intervals according to kilometres covered is making way for vehicles which can self-determine their service, maintenance or emergency needs.”

So how does this impact the parts and service supply chain?

“It will mean a mind-shift in thinking and a willingness to change. Data interpretation and comprehensive analysis is top of the list of advantages of applying greater attention to the value of telematics.

“Total cost of operations and uptime remain centre-stage, as extensive analysis of data can give exact answers to what is not working or being used incorrectly on a vehicle, or what it is that is driving up operational cost on a particular vehicle, like excessive use of fuel.

“This means the operator and the OEM will work as one team – interpreting and solving issues. This is going to be new for everyone because the operator and the OEM now have to develop a sense of shared responsibility for monitoring, analysing and managing the fleet,” Erasmus states.

“The dealer and owner-owned service workshops will also see an impact. They would need to be very flexible regarding scheduling, availability of bays, staffing, maybe even work hours. Unplanned service demands is going to mean they’ll have to be quick on their feet and able to schedule and reschedule as demands change.

“The mobile service workshop concept will see an upsurge as it is the best solution for the operators needing parts and service in distant locations. Containerised workshops ‘parked’ at an operator’s worksite will start becoming more evident too.

“The crux of this whole trend is that the operator’s fleet management team and the OEMs’ parts, service and maintenance teams are going to work – no longer in tandem, but together, parallel and in real time.”

“It is inevitable that we have to look at the aftermarket business not as a single solution one-size-fits-all..”

Erasmus is excited about the possibilities changes can bring, which will mean new and better ways of providing service and maintenance at international standards, even under the toughest circumstances.

“It is inevitable that we have to look at the aftermarket business not as a single solution one-size-fits-all, but as an intricate, even complex compound of many service provision models based on individual customer needs.

“The widely differing customer fleets are needing widely differing service support. The first OEM to get the balance, the mix and the logistics right will gain sales and win customer trust. As far as I am concerned, that will be Scania!”

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa