The mismatch of parts, training and an eye on the future were the key talking points for REPXPERT, Alistair Mason, Schaeffler Brand Ambassador, Andy Savva, and Oldfields Garage Director, Tim Benson, as the trio completed their Day in the Life of a Workshop video series.
After discussing workload efficiency, special tooling and budgets in parts one and two, Andy, also known as The Garage Inspector, quizzed Tim on the “mix and match” of products from different suppliers, like brake pads and discs or flywheels and clutches, and how Tim overcomes this, as the components may not match and fit correctly because of design and quality discrepancies.
L-R) Alistair Mason, Tim Benson and Andy Savva
He responded: “We always try to match the parts together, and there are a lot of factors, the first of which is quality. Particularly on a clutch job, the last thing my team want to be doing is to get the vehicle off the ramp, which they’re not going to do until the end, and then notice there’s a problem.
“The issue we then have is not only to discover where the problem lies, but, potentially, it might be a case of LuK and the other brand both saying it’s not their fault. These things can always be overcome, but it’s hassle that we don’t need.”
Alistair added: “Schaeffler prides itself on the fact everything required for a clutch replacement is in one box. We’ve now introduced LuK RepSet DMF kits, which contain both a complete clutch and matched original equipment (OE) dual mass flywheel, while, for timing belt replacements, any bolts that are taken out should be replaced – it will say that in the OE instructions – so we will always put the bolts in the box, along with the timing belt, idlers and tensioners.
“In training we always emphasise that point, and we are reprofiling motor factors’ stock constantly to ensure they have the latest products available for independent workshops.”
Switching the focus to training, Tim revealed the difficulties that face him and his team, with Oldfields Garage being based in Leominster, Herefordshire: “As we’re based in a rural area, the challenge is accessibility. Over the last 18 months, some of the centres that were local to us aren’t being used, which obviously poses a problem.
“That said, we try and arrange as much as we can in terms of technical evenings, we’re lucky that Schaeffler is only a stone’s throw away and there are still some local factor evenings that we get invited to.”
In part four, Tim was asked about how longer service intervals, hybrid and electric vehicles will affect Oldfields’ approach in the future. He replied: “It’s not just about a transactional sale. We don’t want customers to just come in, buy off us and leave; we want to develop customer relationships. The lifetime value of a customer is not through one sale and that’s really important to remember and understand.
“We want customers to keep coming back – that’s how we’ve set-up everything from the front end, in terms of perception, accessibility, using all the tools etc.
“In terms of the future, we can’t hide from the fact the hybrid era is coming and we need to develop our skills within. In terms of mechanical repairs, when it comes to fully-electric cars, there’s little we can do on them from a maintenance point of view – it will really reduce that part of our business, so we need to think because although it’s not happening now, it’s coming and we need to plan for the future.”
Andy, The Garage Inspector, highlighted his courses as a way of helping workshops adapt: “I hope I give workshops the confidence to know there’s enough resource around. If they want to stay in business and thrive, they have to continually invest – in all aspects.
“The support Schaeffler and REPXPERT give Tim and his team, allowing them to access new technologies and training, plus my skillset in business, gives him a better chance to succeed in an ever-changing climate.”