With a new Dealer Principal and Service Manager onboard, and a body fabrication section up and running, Brisbane Iveco is now a one stop shop, with a belief service matters it is well placed to offer a complete turn-key package to its customers. After having a wander through the workshop, Paul Matthei was introduced to the new Service Manager, David Berzins, who has an extensive background in the automotive industry dating back some 28 years.
“I started as an apprentice in 1990 and after becoming qualified I ended up becoming a master technician with one of the local car dealerships,” says Berzins. “I wanted to advance in my career so I worked in every aspect of the service department such as workshop control, foreman, master technician, diagnostic technician, warranty, service adviser and finally, service manager.
“I deliberately wanted to do every role so I could understand every facet of operating a service department in a dealership environment. Another aspect is that I can actually do what the technicians are doing and therefore I fully understand their challenges and frustrations. So when they come to me as the manager I can guide and lead them in the best way to deal with the issue.
“For the last four years I’ve been working for a manufacturer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, at a field service and parts level and I did that to expand my horizons and opportunities on the other side, learning where the manufacturer sits and how they operate. Then this opportunity came up to get back into dealership land at the heavy end and I decided to grab it so I could keep progressing myself.”
Asked his view about the main differences between car and truck dealerships, David says car customers tend to get upset over relatively minor issues that wouldn’t bother the average truck customer.
“The truck industry is a different environment, in that when a truck comes into the workshop you’re dealing with people’s livelihoods, it’s costing them money because they can’t operate their business,” says David. “There’s a different level of priority and urgency about it.”
Alluding to the one-stop-shop theme, David says the workshop has an extensive range of equipment and highly skilled personnel to handle any job that needs to be done, including engine, transmission and diff rebuilds. There’s also a brake tester and shaker, and a full-length service pit that can take a loaded B-double.
“That’s the whole idea of doing it all in house, the customer doesn’t have to take the truck here, there and everywhere to get things done.”
As the conversation winds up, David mirrors the remarks of Ernie in praising the culture of the business.
“The culture of the business is very good which is very important, the staff enjoy working here and take pride in the place,” says David. “There are a lot of plans and visions for moving forward which is really exciting and it’s really good to be a part of it.”
On the ball
Moving on to the parts department, I spoke with Parts Manager John Howard about the challenges and rewards of keeping spare parts supplied to customers over a broad area.
The parts department operates between the hours of 7.30 am and 10.00 pm with three people working in dispatch, two stationed in the workshop and four working in the office taking care of customers over the phone. There are also two sales reps and a delivery driver permanently out on the road. One rep covers the southern region down into northern NSW while the other keeps in touch with northern customers, also taking care of the parts needs of various Iveco national fleet customers.
“There’s also my second-in-command who does most of the ordering and receiving, and myself, of course,” John explains. “We ship parts to some overseas locations including New Guinea and New Caledonia.
“We’re big on fleet business because that’s foundation business to us,” he continues, “and we have a lot of local support because we’ve been here a long time. The motto we work by is to find solutions for the customer.”
This pretty much sums up the driving force behind the entire team at Brisbane Iveco: Each arm of the business working cohesively with the others to provide a total trucking solution for the customer.