Midlands Scania dealer Keltruck is seeking significant growth from its parts business. Commercial Motor talks to aftermarket director Russ Warner about its new initiatives.
To be successful in any game, you’ve got to be looking for the extra edge to give you the competitive advantage. Some call it innovation, others flexibility or customer focus or even a passion for success. But whatever moniker you apply, it results in being first to the punch and flooring the opposition.
The continued success of Midlands-based truck dealer Keltruck would appear to indicate that it has it in abundance. Despite the retirement of founder, chairman and guiding light Chris Kelly in March last year, the company continues to thrive under the stewardship of MD Andrew Jamieson, posting strong new and used truck sales figures and cementing its reputation as arguably one of the UK’s top truck dealers.
While the steady flow of new and used trucks out of the gates ensures the tills keep ringing, much of the focus of the business is set on the aftersales sector, particularly spare parts. Aftersales director Russ Warner is aware of the essential role aftersales plays in keeping the Keltruck flag flying high. “It’s our focus on aftersales and customer care that ensures people keep returning to do business with us,” he says. “Operating a truck isn’t a game or hobby, it’s a serious occupation and our customers expect us to be there to support them every step of the way.”
With a network spanning from Newark down to south Wales, the Keltruck patch covers a big chunk of the country, ensuring customers are never too far from a service centre. But offering workshop maintenance and support is only part of the toolkit for any truck dealer. With an estimated 30% of operators running their own workshops and maintaining their own trucks, it’s essential dealers retain a strong spare parts offering. “As a franchised dealer we offer Scania genuine parts, but Keltruck has always had a strong reputation for offering recycled parts and we’re looking to drive this area of the business forward,” says Warner. “I believe we are unique in the truck market to offer this.”
Not only does it appear to be unique, it is also one massive undertaking. Anyone who knows the Keltruck business will be aware the company has a workshop full of recycled spare parts at its West Bromwich headquarters – a veritable Aladdin’s cave of Scania bits. These have now all been indexed, catalogued and loaded on to Keltruck’s e-commerce website and are available for search and sale via the web.
“The scale of our recycling operation surprises anyone who visits us,” Warner says. “ We sell about £1m-worth of parts a year, but the potential is far greater. We’ve been able to unlock the stock and make it available to a worldwide market. It’s a responsible and environmentally friendly way to address the needs of the business.”
A thriving business
The e-commerce website, which only offers recycled parts, went live in November last year and, subsequently, business has improved through UK and international customers. “The website makes it easier for customers and allows us to understand what [they] want by analysing their behaviour,” Warner continues.
“This gives us a cost-effective solution for customers who have made the decision not to buy a new part from us. We can satisfy the demand with parts that we know have been made to the right standards in the first place.” To ensure a good supply of recycled parts, Keltruck is always looking for vehicles to break and, while the business is a long way from being characterised as a breakers yard, a selective number of accident write-offs will find their way to West Bromwich for recycling. “There is a healthy market for good-quality recycled parts, allowing us to maximise the value of the vehicle when its useful working life comes to an end,” Warner adds.
While there is no reason to question Keltruck’s commitment to the Scania franchise with this move into recycled parts marketing, it does beg the question: what else could be sold through this channel? “We are looking at what else could be offered through this avenue and the options are endless,” Warner explains. “We will assess what the market demands and seek to match it.”
For more information on Keltruck’s parts, go to: recycling.keltruck.com