Trevor Ward, head of customer service at Mazda Southern Africa, took time out to catch up with Automotive Refinisher recently to let us know how it is going at the organisation.
- This year has added a whole new set of supply challenges, how have you coped with the shutdown and market reopening phases as a company?
- Mazda has been fortunate that although we had to close offices during the hard lockdown we still managed to keep operations going by having most staff work from home. This meant that when reopening was finally allowed we were in a position to “hit the ground running”. As we run a lean organisation, we were able to get through the lockdown without restructuring or retrenching of staff.
- How are you coping with urgent vehicle off-road parts supply currently and other stocking issues?
- One of the strategies was to stock up on critical parts before the full restrictions were applied. This enabled Mazda to maintain its 95% first pick ratio to its customers once trading was allowed again.
- The new programme Mazda developed looks to be a great success. Can you tell us more about the revised authentications of body shops?
- Mazda has given the Associations freedom to determine which of their members qualify. There are no audits to be conducted or fees to be paid. Selection criteria is kept to an absolute minimum and is mainly based on the MBR’s ability to repair a Mazda product according to factory specifications.
- What will, in your opinion, become the biggest challenge ahead for the rest of 2020?
- Profitability will be the biggest challenge. Not only for Mazda, but for the industry as a whole. With people travelling less due to the restrictions, service intervals will be prolonged, affecting the sale of maintenance parts and labour. Repairs to minor accident damages will be delayed due to reduced disposable income and Insurers becoming more cost conscious before accepting claims.
With job losses, business’ being liquidated, and the general hardships being experienced shouldn’t be looked on as an opportunity for any organisation to exploit. At times like these, it’s not just about the money.
The future of the economy and the country is dependent on how, as an industry collective, we assist each other to get through these difficult times.