Independent industrial service centres
The Rhiag Group is set to expand its Optima multi-brand service network, dedicated to truck and bus maintenance services. IT tools, training and a complete catalogue of components are the recipe for success
When speaking about industrial vehicles, profitability often lies in prompt and correct maintenance, which is directly linked to a vehicle’s uptime. For this reason, the aftermarket, in particular the segment dealing with vans, trucks and buses is indeed quite dynamic and ready to launch several new initiatives, which translate into new business opportunities for the sector’s operators. Optima Truck Service is a multi-brand service network for heavy duty vehicles which distributes original spare parts and other parts of corresponding quality, currently being developed by the Rhiag group (Rhiag and Bertolotti); Gianluca D'Aurea, head of Rhiag’s technical area is here to talk to us about it.
First of all, what are some of Rhiag’s initiatives in the industrial vehicle repair market?
"Our strategy, which involves Brt spare parts dealers (Bertolotti Rhiag Truck), is based on the traditional strengths of both brands: a wide product range and innovative services. The collaboration between Rihag, Bertolotti and their customers (Industrial spare parts dealers) has consolidated over the years. On the one hand we have completed our existing offer (for example, in 2017 Knorr Bremse pneumatic systems were introduced) and expanded our lines of product with a multi-brand approach. On the other hand, we also launched our BRT Project, which is based on two distinct scenarios: first, logistics and IT integration between the Group and the individual dealer; second, dedicated services for both spare part dealers and workshops. The former includes training courses and management consultancy, obsolete parts disposal programs, and personalized sell-out activities for workshops affiliated to the Optima Truck Service program who are also the recipient of our Ots Service Card, which gives access to all the necessary support (software, databases, training, image, technical assistance) to enhance the daily activities of the workshop".
How is the Optima Truck Service program managed?
"The network offers its services throughout the country and ensures uniformity of skills and expertise thanks to technical and managerial training courses open to all members, a dedicated technical support call centre as well as a multi-brand database and management software. To date, our presence is particularly felt in regions such as Lombardy, Veneto, Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Campania. However, as the network keeps growing, we have set for ourselves the rather ambitious goal of covering all Italian regions in the shortest possible time. Our Network Guarantee will thus be valid for all affiliated workshops regardless of the work carried out with parts or equipment distributed by Rhiag and Bertolotti".
What can we expect to find in Rihag’s portfolio of products?
"We have always paid special attention to the quality and breadth of our product range. Our Brt customers can make full use of a range of original parts supplied as OEMs by the most important global component makers who rely on Rhiag to distribute their items on the Italian market. Sales to spare parts dealers are facilitated by innovative management and orders processing IT systems. Our portfolio of products includes brakes, suspensions, transmissions, steering systems, clutches, air conditioning items, cooling, lubricants, chemicals, electrical systems, electronics, pneumatic systems, engine re-boring and components, turbochargers and body work parts, all made by some of the most reputable companies in the industry such as Bosch, Brembo, Knorr Bremse, Mann Filter, Textar, Ferodo, Gimon, Nissens and many others. These are all parts that can be used for repair and maintenance operations even during the warranty period without running the risk of a revocation of the manufacturer's warranty".
What are the requirements to join the Optima truck service network and what are the advantages?
Many independent dealers and workshops have already joined the Optima truck service network to expand the business. First of all, an entrepreneurial spirit is needed, a great desire to work and keep the business up to date. The workshop must already be operative and properly equipped according to pre-established standards: for example, at least four workstations and a minimum of three workers. Identifying the workshop with a network that operates across the country will offer some obvious advantages: brand recognition - easier compared to an independent workshop – expert assistance in promoting the workshop and standard quality of services for all industrial vehicle owners. It is essential, however, that potential members are not already affiliated with another multi-brand network".
What is the Vendor-managed inventory and how does it work?
"VMT is an innovative technique, a cornerstone in Brt project’s activities, that has long been used by the Rhiag Group along with its automotive customers. The system improves the efficiency of our dealers’ storage facilities optimizing stocks and reducing the risk of errors and obsolescence, with cascading effects also on our workshops. For example, some BRT spare parts dealers are gearing up to give Optima workshops special access to their e-commerce, directly connected to Rhiag’s warehouses: workshop managers are thus able to see the availability of products in real time and know when they will be delivered. In general, thanks to a widespread and structured logistics network, Brt spare parts dealers as well as Optima Truck Service workshops receive the required item in a very short time, supporting their customers with prompt and quality services, increasingly essential in reducing vehicle downtime, a source of inconvenience and loss of profit margins".
What are Rihag’s next investments in the industrial sector?
"For Rhiag, heavy duty vehicle repair and maintenance is an increasingly strategic market. The company is ready to make major investments both in terms of product range development and in terms of planning. BRT customers have access to a rich training program and integrated management systems. As far as workshops are concerned, just to show how important this project is for the Rhiag Group, we plan to take charge of a large part of the signage costs (signs and panels) for those workshops that decide to join our Optima truck service network".