More often than not our focus here at EEM is on the latest and greatest machines and technologies available for operators and business owners here in Australia.
With a lot of the “glory” so to speak being focused around sales and sales staff, we figured it was time to share the glory with those other equally important elements of a successful business. In reality it’s often the aftersales service and spare parts departments when run well are the reason customers come back to purchase a second and third machine.
We couldn’t think of anybody better to chat about this topic than CJD Equipment General Manager – NSW, Michael Lombardo, who is the first to say the secret behind a successful sales business, is that of a well run parts and service department, with the understanding that this as an aftersales department have the most touch points with customers through the operating life of a machine, getting it right the first time is critical in all aspects of a well-run aftersales department. The EEM team recently caught up with Michael, along with State Parts Manager, Brett Pemberton and State Service Manager, Norm Atkinson to see first-hand what programs or changes have been put in place for a more efficient and successful backend of the business.
Parts and aftersales service are typically run as separate entities, but the CJD Equipment team have decided on a different method by combining the two areas together. This change along with some great new training programs – delivered from both local trainers and international visitors – has seen fantastic results.
After sitting down with Michael to scratch the surface of what’s been happening at CJD, he shared, “Recognising that we had two departments that were operating under different ethos, we decided to bring both Parts and Service together into the one department to work together more closely to help each other out.”
This, in theory, sounds great but to get into the nuts and bolts of the arrangement we headed into the Parts area to have a chat with Brett to see what was going on. “The integral part of our operations back here is to ensure our Parts and Service teams work together as one. We fill the parts orders from the service departments as well as the retail parts orders that come from our retail area. We have a fill rate of about 92 per cent, which means pretty much every time someone places an order 92 per cent of the time we have that item in stock and can fill that request.” Brett went on to say, “To give you an idea of how many truck movements are coming in and out of Parts here at CJD Equipment, Smeaton Grange branch on average have about 52 trucks a week, from small courier items to large B Doubles delivering parts that we either store or move onto customers.”
Brett’s team is made up of three salespeople and three staff in the warehouse, which he happily attributes to the smooth running and successful warehouse operations. “Trained staff and well-practiced systems is what makes this team work so well together. Whilst the counter staff interpret and sell the part, the warehouse staff are the lynchpin to ensuring that the parts are correctly picked, packed and delivered to the customer, the first time; every time! With 7868 lines available, accuracy and speed are paramount. From a customer service point of view our most important factor is to ensure the right part is sourced and delivered first time around.”
Our next port of call was to Norm, who shared, “I look after the NSW branches in Sydney and Newcastle along with a number of resident field service mechanics strategically placed over the state, primarily with the service department, but we work extremely closely with the parts department because we are basically the same department. I have approximately 56 staff to look after throughout the state.” Brett added, “A big part of our business is our apprentice program. We don’t look upon apprentices as a cheap source of labour and turn them over after their 4th year – our goal is to keep them with CJD at the end of their apprenticeship. We work hard and go to extra lengths during their apprenticeship time to not just help them become better mechanics and tradespeople, but well-rounded individuals.”
As everyone in the industry knows good mechanics can be hard to find, so I was very intrigued to find out what CJD was doing differently to not only find but retain their apprentices. It turns out that CJD has a long-standing 17-year partnership with My Gateway who specialises in finding the right apprentices and supporting them throughout their time.
Steve Horn from My Gateway was on hand to share some of the secrets to their success, “We start by having school-based programs to find these young adults with the right goals. We then organise interviews I was impressed to learn that quite a few of CJD’s apprentices had also won numerous awards for their skills proving this system is a winner.
It just goes to show that the first machine sold to a new customer is based on quality and cost of the machine, but from that point onwards it’s all about well-trained people in organised and efficient aftersales departments. The best products in the world can be rendered useless if the aftersales departments find themselves in a situation where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. The way CJD Equipment has brought their Parts and Service areas into the one department has proved to be a great move on their behalf with efficiencies and improvements being achieved across the board. Along with their partnership with My Gateway bringing excellent apprentices and job opportunities to young and old Australians with the drive to learn, there really are some impressive things going on behind the scenes at CJD Equipment.