Parts from Moseley (PCV)
The family owned dealership is supporting the industry with its extensive parts provision service
VDLs, Van Hools, Sitcars, Beulas and Indcars, you already know Moseley (PCV) supply them, but did you know the dealer is also a major parts provider for these vehicles? The company’s extensive parts department has been set up to support the maintenance and repair of these coaches. It is headed by Commercial Manager Parts, Philip Allen. Chris Peat visited the business’s South Elmsall premises to meet Philip and take a look at this segment of the dealer’s operation.
Part of the family
Although he has been with Moseley (PCV) for three years now, Philip is still relatively new, especially compared to a lot of the dealer’s other employees, a number of whom have been there for two decades. Despite being the relative new boy at Moseley, he is certainly no stranger to the bus and coach industry. Before joining, he was at Heavy Duty Parts and prior to that enjoyed a career with Voith and ZF (not quite making it a transmissions hat trick by working for Allison). It came to pass that he spoke to Karl Moseley, who gave him the opportunity to work at Moseley (PCV).
‘I’m happy here,’ Philip said. ‘Moseley is a good employer, there are lots of people that work for them that have been here a number of years. They look out for people and I think that is a big thing. They care about everything, they care about maintaining the building (you can see that when you come here), the people and the work they are doing.’
Philip commends the fact Moseley (PCV) is a family business, saying, ‘You can see that in the fact Karl steers towards other family businesses, with VDL and Van Hool, for instance.’
Another aspect Philip praised was that the parts and service division of the operation work very closely. Traditionally, he said, these two aspects of a business can find themselves in opposition. ‘We don’t have that here, our culture is different.’
Commenting on his experience in the parts department, he said, ‘People only buy parts when they have to, not a lot buy parts to put on shelves. We find that when they do carry them, operators tend to carry emergency and regular spares. Most of our orders are for replacing parts that have broken or for MOT preparation or servicing work. The vast majority of them are ordered by telephone.’
What can make the job harder are the various differences in similar models, requiring a dizzying array of components. With marques like Van Hool and Beulas, there are a lot of options for customers, meaning a high number of parts are potentially required for them. More standardised models, like VDL, are less difficult to source components for, but still require an extensive catalogue of spares.
Moseley has contacts with Scania and Volvo, having once supplied Van Hools on the latter’s chassis, meaning it is possible for it to supply components from these marques. It also has contacts with other makes and will buy in parts for vehicles it has taken in second hand if required. However, the main growth of the business has mainly been centred around the vehicle brands it supplies.
To get these parts out to customers, the company uses Parcelforce for small items, with a number of couriers on its books for larger, pallet sized packages. A same or next day delivery service is available and a 24 hour, seven days a week hotline is run for anyone that needs parts out of hours. Extensive stocks are kept, with there being 5,000 line items for VDL alone. It carries 3,500 parts for different marques as well, a number constantly growing. The amount of stock it keeps for Van Hools has increased and it has done the same for the Beulas marque in line with the increasing sales it is experiencing for these vehicles. The latter is the case for
Indcar too. As more Sitcar Voyagers are sold, with ‘a few already’, items kept for these are expected to grow.
The vast majority of parts supplied are OE. The ‘way forward’ for Moseley is for all of these to be OE, according to Phillip. The benefit is that quality is ensured. ‘If you buy from the manufacturer, you get a product that lasts.’
‘Since I’ve been here, we have got closer to manufacturers, which is something I would like to do even more of.’ VDL has been on board with Moseley (PCV), ‘providing us with different solutions to problems’.
With these efforts to encourage its relationships, Phillip said he has seen some ‘good growth’ in business. He said, ‘This year has been more of a consolidation year, yet we have still seen some growth. In 2014-15, growth was huge.’ Moseley has ‘invested a lot’ since he has been with the company, spending on technology, infrastructure and the stock, as well as training.
‘From my point of view, I always felt training and knowledge is important and needs to be shared.’ He then went on to mention Moseley (PCV)’s training it arranges for staff with an external company, leading to NVQ qualifications for the staff. ‘This shows the employer is very interested in them and wants them to develop. Although it takes people out of the business for a day, what it does is it motivates them to give more back.’
Phillip said it is important the company moves forward with the industry and if they do
not, then they ‘get left behind. You have to be forward thinking. It’s important for our staff to
Communication is important too, as well as training, both internally and externally. ‘You can’t build relationships via email.’ He gave the example of a recent conversation he had with an operator looking for a particular part. He was told by a different supplier it would take one month to get hold of. Phillip spoke to a supplier in Europe and was able to get it delivered
the next day. ‘By picking up the phone and talking to Europe, you can go beyond
The dealer has a lot of ‘loyal customers’, who he said, ‘We try to help as much as possible’. He finds client’s expectations have changed, with them expecting stock on the shelves to be despatched within a day. ‘The aim is to provide a quality product that people really want.’
Special offers play a big part in the dealer’s parts offering, with regular products, such as steering, air conditioning and suspension, regularly being at special prices. These days though, Phillip observes, it is ‘about competition, offering the right price on the day. Parts is an industry where you have to get the pricing right each time.’
Secrets of success
It certainly seems Moseley (PCV)’s components division is doing well. So, what is the secret to running a good parts department? Phillip said, ‘There is lots you need to get right. Being able to identify parts is the first hurdle. Then you need to make sure it is in stock. If it is not in stock, then you must provide the information on how quickly you can get it out to the customer. Price is important; the customer is always looking for the most cost effective solution. Delivery too; how quickly can you get it to the customer? These are the headlines, if you like, that you have to have in mind all the time.’
‘How do you go about achieving those things? Having the right software and parts catalogues is important. It’s about good stocking, having the right stock in place and the right pricing structure. Employing the right delivery service. The thing that underlines all of that is communication, you need to communicate the right information, it is so important to do that.’
Another way Moseley (PCV)’s parts department succeeds is by having a close relation with the service department, which sees Phillip constantly in communication with After Sales Manager, Stuart Binns. Doing this helps them organise things quicker, with both offices ‘working hand in hand’. Phillip said, ‘The advantage is that if someone asks for a part I have not heard of, Stuart can help.’
Stuart has grown up working with these vehicles, so can provide technical support for the vehicles. Stuart is also involved with providing free technical training for owners of coaches it has sold, something it has done for the past ten years. The course covers everything the owners would need to know, from diagnostics, the engine and air conditioning to more. Stuart said, ‘We try to cram in as much as possible, but if they do have a problem then they know who they can call.’
It carries the training out at its own premises, but has in the past done it off-site. Stuart did this in a DAF dealership in Oxford recently, providing training days for DAF technicians at one of that manufacturer’s bases. It saw candidates from 19 DAF dealers from across the country come down and be shown how to maintain and repair one of its VDL Futura FHD 2s, an example of which was taken down to the training centre.
In addition to the training, Moseley (PCV) has its handover procedure. This sees a minimum of at least two hours where they run through all the vehicle’s systems and show how it all works. Stuart said, ‘The whole ethos is about supporting the customer, looking after them as if they are part of the extended family at Moseley.’
All about communication
The family atmosphere is continued with the way the employees conduct themselves too. Phillip said, ‘It’s all about communication. We all want to be individuals and we encourage that. We don’t want people to sound like machines when they answer the phone, as if they are reading a script, we want them to answer the phone in a way they are comfortable with. When people phone, they know who to ask for.’
Highlighting the role the after sales and parts service plays in the sales process, Stuart said, ‘Our sales team sells the first vehicle, then after sales and services sell the rest of them.’
In terms of sales, it has been a good year. This has been the case with new vehicles and used. Phillip said the parts division has not had a quiet period yet, being ‘flat out’. In vehicle sales, Stuart said the Futura FHD 2 has proved most popular. Considering it is a new brand for the dealer, Indcars have done well too.
The salesmen lead into aftersales, communicating any feedback they get from customers to them, which allows them to address any issues. The dealer has regular visitors too, who Phillip says comment on ‘what a good atmosphere’ there is. A factor behind this, according to him, is that the size of the company means everyone has a role, ‘we’re not just a number’.
Both Phillip and Stuart were keen to say how supportive Karl Moseley is to the business. Stuart said, ‘Karl empowers people to manage the business and there are not many that give you that opportunity. It’s as a result of Karl’s attitude that generates loyalty and there are a lot of long serving staff here. In terms of that ethos, it really works here. I feel valued as an employee. When that happens, it means staff will do a good job for the company and the company grows. It’s that family ethos, it starts at the top.’
Improving its offering
Looking ahead, Phillip and Stuart said Moseley (PCV) will aim to improve its offering, looking at other products. It aims to make sure they have got what customers are looking for. In recent times it has done this by entering the 33 seat market, which it has filled with the Sitcar and Indcar. Additionally, Beulas and VDL can offer 10m versions of its coaches. Phillip said, ‘We can offer something for everybody’.
The future for Moseley will involve VDL of course, with Phillip describing it as a strong brand, saying the company is ‘very tight with them’. Another development will see all gearboxes in VDLs be ZF only. The transmission manufacturer is working on a new system for full electrics as well. The relationship with Van Hool has ‘got even better’ and is expected to continue to
Additionally, something that is highly likely to continue into the future is its working relationship with the rest of the Moseley Group to ensure its customers receive the best possible service. In the rare instances where Moseley (PCV) does not have stock of a part a customer is looking for, it can contact Moseley in the South or Moseley Distributors to see if they have it. If they do, they can ask the other branch to send it directly to the customer.
With such focus on supporting and improving its staff, there is no surprise Phillip and Stuart are so enthusiastic about what they do at Moseley (PCV). Walking around the site it is clear that the family atmosphere they both describe is certainly there.