Garages gearing up for change
Rally legend Walter Röhrl has a way with words reflecting equal virtuosity as his way with the throttle and the steering wheel. According to one of his famous quotes, “You can’t treat a car like a human being. A car needs love!” Besides tender loving care this entails the need for a spare part here and there and when the clutch, chassis, engine or transmission are acting up, the experts from Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket come into play.
In reality, the seemingly straightforward task of procuring replacements involves a whole host of challenges increasingly calling for agile action. It starts with the rapid technological development and change in the automotive industry requiring considerable flexibility and adjustment. Within less than the coming decade, the majority of new cars may have been converted to electric mobility.
Together with industry partners, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket is engaged in driving digital vehicle connectivity and non-discriminatory data access and is actively involved in the CARUSO digital data marketplace. As a central platform for the independent spare parts market, CARUSO provides harmonized vehicle data, thereby connecting data suppliers and users.
Good training means better repairs
To stay up to speed, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket concentrates all garage-related services under the REPXPERT brand and assists garage operators with training programs, repair information and the necessary specialty tools. “Repairs on automobiles are becoming more and more complex and require knowledge of all the vehicle systems,” says Sven Olev Müller, Director REPXPERT at Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket. While brand-bound garages receive their requisite know-how through OEM training programs, independent outfits have to pursue their own paths to keep the knowledge of their personnel at competitive levels.
Therefore, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket has initiated new support concepts together with industry partners. Schaeffler actively assists garages with on-site training programs that have been substituted by online sessions since the pandemic started. “In more than 250 of such sessions, we reached more than 13,000 participants in 2020 alone and just in Europe,” emphasizes Sven Olev Müller. In addition to events with open attendance, there are workshops focused on subjects for a limited group of pre-registered participants to ensure maximum interactivity and quality for everyone.
Intelligently combined repair solutions
As well as on training programs and know-how, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket’s customers have to be able to rely on spare parts supply and supporting services ranging from diagnostics to ordering. That’s why, in addition to product information of the LuK, INA and FAG brands, the REPXPERT support portfolio encompasses full parts catalogs, diagnostics, repair and service guidelines, installation videos and a bonus program, all of which are available from the same-named online portal or the mobile app.
Beyond the spare parts required for replacements, Schaeffler offers intelligently combined repair solutions and numerous supporting services as illustrated by this example: All spare part kits are put together as needed. As complete solutions, they contain not only the required key component such as a clutch plate but all the necessary accessories like screws, seals and sleeves as well. All components are optimally coordinated with each other as a prerequisite for fast, professional and perfect parts replacements.
Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket offers its services not only in the core business of passenger cars but also in the commercial vehicles sector and for farming equipment. Especially the light trucks segment represents a considerable growth market due to the booming local distribution business of delivery and parcel services.
Ask the cloud
Advanced cloud solutions are a central element supporting agility and performance in a rapidly changing environment. Since February 2019, this software platform has been subjected to continuous further development at Schaeffler. “The aftermarket cloud is our foundation for merging our previously separate online activities and delivering integrated digital services to our customers,” says Hamid Derakhshanmanesh, Head of Digital Program.
3 main drivers
impact the spare parts business: a globally growing number of vehicles especially in the vehicle age group between 7 and 12 years that’s lucrative for the aftermarket, the generally increasing average age of existing vehicles, plus the growing complexity of vehicles.These factors lead to a rise in repairs requiring noticeably more advanced repair solutions for garages. Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket anticipates the largest increase in vehicles and related repair demand by 2025 in the Greater China region that’s marked by a growing and aging vehicle fleet.
The Aftermarket cloud is the central tool for future digital interaction with dealerships and garages. In addition to the REPXPERT online garage portal, this particularly pertains to the website that was relaunched in 2020, now integrating daily updates of all catalog data. The catalog data of the nearly 40,000 articles are taken from Schaeffler’s in-house Product and Service Platform (PSP) and serve as the primary data source for the online catalog. Users can systematically find the right spare part and are concurrently provided with all the important pertinent details. Retailers will be able to use several personalized services on the future online customer portal of the website. In addition, garages will benefit from simplified participation in the bonus program on the newly launched REPXPERT garage portal because the Schaeffler QR code will enable digital capturing of bonus points.
“With the Schaeffler QR code, we’ll have an individual code on each single packaging unit, which will make the path from the spare part to a customer-specific digital offer a walk in the park,” says Hamid Derakhshanmanesh. Using this holistic approach, Schaeffler has put itself into a perfect position today for meeting its customers’ requirements of tomorrow.
Further information and access to 8,500 technical documents repxpert.de