FleetWatch has for many years been pushing the concept that what counts in buying a truck is not the up-front price or the size of the discount but rather the total costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. Taking high priority in this is the level of aftersales service offered to customers.
It is thus we are pleased hear that FAW SA is busy introducing a programme called Total Quality Care (TQC) across its dealer networks to tie in with a worldwide programme that was launched two years ago by FAW in China.
TQC is a framework and umbrella brand that represents all the initiatives being done in the FAW aftersales environment globally. FAW dealers in South Africa will need to be accredited by FAW SA in order to reach TQC level.
To this end, various training and technical improvement courses, ranging from beginner to advanced in difficulty, have been implemented by FAW SA over the last year. Furthermore, all FAW technicians are required to attend certain service courses to fast-track their technical development.
This programme culminated in the FAW National Service Technician Competition held earlier this year. The competition was aimed at the FAW dealer network – including Botwana and Namibia – with the intent of finding the best three technicians and workshop managers the company has before developing them further by sending them overseas.
Assessment of the competitors was done during classroom and practical exercises, with technicians scored on their fault finding and fault fixing proficiency. The competition was designed to mirror what happens inside FAW dealerships on a daily basis.
The overarching idea is to motivate FAW technicians, while improving their ability to find and fix problems on customer vehicles in a practical manner. The competition further sought to motivate workshop managers to increase the scope and frequency of technical training offered to staff.
All this ties in with a concerted effort made by FAW South Africa to set benchmarks to which its dealers and branches have to adhere with the intention of standardising dealer operations and after-sales departments – including parts, service and warranties – nationwide, and revolves around the company’s belief that customer satisfaction is the ultimate indicator of where FAW stands.
Apart from adopting the TQC programme, over the past two years FAW SA has also been developing industry standard criteria which embody dealer and branch facilities and the proper management thereof. It has also developed a reporting structure in order to measure and better manage the performance of its South African dealers and after-sales departments. FAW SA has also introduced processes to increase dealer stockholding and quicken parts supply.
FleetWatch is pleased to hear of these activities for, as mentioned, it lifts the level of professionalism by incorporating total lifetime costs rather than upfront price. That is the way this industry needs to go.