Schaeffler has historically been a key player for Transmission, Engine & Chassis components on the island of Ireland.
Its technical sales team understands the importance of maintaining a close working relationship with our distributors, supporting them with a wide range of value-added services.
Since January 2022, James Mainwaring has been Schaeffler’s ‘go-to man’ in Ireland for stock profiling, technical support and brand promotion.
“Every market is different, and Ireland is simply not the same as the rest of the UK,” James explains, “so it’s important for Schaeffler to have a Territory Manager, or “REPXPERT” as we like to call them, to focus on the particular needs and individual characteristics of the market. This is why Schaeffler sees value in me frequently visiting our Irish distributors to offer support.
“The first obvious distinction, particularly in the ROI, is the make-up of the vehicle parc which, because of different import agreements over the years, includes a much higher proportion of Asian vehicles than the UK, for example.
“This means we can’t just mirror the UK when it comes to range profiling, so we need to offer the Irish aftermarket a tailored approach for both our products and our technical support.
“It’s the same in Northern Ireland, because although there are obvious similarities with the south, it has differences that means it’s not the same as in the South, or indeed, the rest of the UK!”
He adds: “Therefore, the message that we need to communicate to individual workshops and the technicians servicing and repairing Irish vehicles also needs to be tailored, so this is a great opportunity for us to speak directly to them and highlight the premium quality repair solutions we offer and the technical support and training opportunities we provide.
“Schaeffler products are originally fitted by vehicle manufacturers around the world. We bring this OE competence to the aftermarket via our three great brands – LuK, INA and FAG. We also understand the importance of an efficient repair to maximise workshop productivity, so we supply complete repair solutions which give workshops the confidence that everything they need to carry out a professional repair is in the box.
“Foremost in our formidable brand arsenal is LuK, particularly the RepSet DMF, which is a key product that provides technicians with every component they need to complete a time consuming, high value job like clutch replacement, within a single package. This all-inclusive solution is particularly helpful when the market doesn’t have the same multiple delivery options that are the norm in the UK, for example.
“It’s a great endorsement of the Irish market that workshops generally want to do a good job and do it right first time, which is one of Schaeffler’s key mantras. The LuK RepSet DMF complete repair solution allows them to achieve that simply and efficiently.
“Alongside LuK, INA and FAG both also bring a lot to the party, so we can offer OE repair solutions across three important product groups – clutch and gearbox, engine timing, FEAD belt systems and cooling and chassis parts. All of these key systems have common and unavoidable maintenance and repair requirements, making them key revenue generators for all independent workshops.
“As continued development by VMs leads to increasingly complex vehicles, regular refresher training is becoming absolutely essential if workshops want to confidently carry out service and repair work correctly first time, and so they do not miss out on additional repair opportunities. Using their OE competence to stay up to date, the REPXPERT team have a package of training opportunities available to support workshops and distributors so they can keep up with innovations across the Schaeffler product range.
“Naturally, our training package is always evolving, such as to reflect the growth in the popularity of double clutch systems, so our Schaeffler REPXPERT Matthew MacEwan has recently been at our Hereford HQ, getting up to speed and completely familiar with these systems and the removal and installation processes, in order to undertake technical training throughout Ireland.
“We’re currently in the process of updating our training modules, and plan to introduce them in a number of sessions towards the end of the year, and to roll them out more regularly from the start of 2023.
“This brings us round neatly to the REPXPERT programme, because although training is absolutely vital, there is so much more that we can offer the market within the REPXPERT concept and, as we’ve seen with the positive reception we’ve had at trade shows and events, Irish technicians have a huge hunger for any information, best practice advice and guidance that helps them do the job better, quicker and more efficiently.
“So, the technical resources – such as bulletins, repair instructions, torque settings, job times, installation videos etc. – that REPXPERT contains, provides exactly the kind of information they are seeking, underpinning the support side of the Schaeffler solution I first mentioned. This means that we can look forward to a positive future working with proactive workshops and receptive technicians throughout Ireland.”
Information on Schaeffler products and systems, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT app, which is a free download for all iOS and Android devices, and the workshop portal at www.repxpert.co.uk – or by calling the REPXPERT hotline on +44 (0) 1432 265265.