MAN Truck & Bus
The man on the phone is excited, he is speaking a difficult to understand mish-mash of English and Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. No problem for MAN Customer Service in Saudi Arabia, which is run by the major automotive service provider Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. Their multi-national team can be reached around the clock and an employee who understands the caller and can help him is quickly on the spot. The Pakistani trucker is standing with his MAN truck, fully loaded with dairy products, on a motorway hard shoulder on the way to Jeddah. The truck battery has to be replaced. Customer Service sends a mobile workshop car, which is fortunately not far from the breakdown location. Soon the battery is replaced and the dairy products arrive on time at their destination. Customer service for trucks and buses that is ever present plays an important role given the hot climate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, because vehicles here are exposed to harsher conditions than in Europe, for example. “Sand dust and temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius increase the general wear and tear on vehicles. Fuel quality does not correspond to the current European Euro standards and impurities affect the engines”, states Ahmed Hamdi, regional service manager of the Haji Husein Alireza retail group. This company has its headquarters in Jeddah. It sells, repairs and services both MAN trucks and recently also buses. Fuel transport by tanker plays a major role, given that it's the most significant economic sector in the region. But the dairy and food company Al Marai Co. operates the largest fleet of MAN trucks in Saudi Arabia, reveals Ahmed Hamdi.
The 34-year-old organises MAN Customer Service with great dedication: “MAN strives for perfection down to the last detail”, says Hamdi. Specifically this means: “We cater fully to the needs of our customers. One important aspect is the always reachable telephone support for drivers, for example.” The regional service manager is also very satisfied with the support he receives from MAN. “Whether it's original spare parts or technological know-how: we receive the best support.” The service team from Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd made it to the finals of the MAN Service Quality Award 2019.
Martin Castledine squints and looks into the sunset. Drilling tower, excavators and mounds of earth are bathed in bright red. The 51-year-old service technician flew by helicopter to this gold mine near Telfer to repair a MAN TGS 8x8 that had broken down due to a fault in the injection system. The defect is rectified in less than three hours, but it's too late for the flight home to Perth. Castledine is spending the night in a donga, a mobile dwelling for the mine workers. Everyday life for MAN Customer Service in Western Australia.
Martin Castledine works for Penske Power Systems, a company that sells engines and power systems as well as acting as an authorised distributor for MAN Truck & Bus. The Penske subsidiary in Perth looks after MAN customers in Western Australia in an area that extends 3200 kilometres to the north, 1300 kilometres to the east and 600 kilometres to the south. There are hardly any large towns or cities here. Gravel tracks and a few highways traverse the almost deserted outback. MAN truck users in the West Australian desert are mainly raw material conveyors, including Rio Tinto, AUSDRILL and DDH1. “Our customers often use standard MAN trucks, but quite a few of them receive specific modifications. Some trucks are modified with equipment worth more than one million euros”, says Daniel Wurster (38), a technician in MAN Support at Penske. The trucks that Wurster and his colleagues service and repair are, however, often in a deplorable condition. “This is due to the hard conditions here. The trucks are exposed to extreme heat of up to 52 degrees Celsius. There are often collisions involving cows, sheep, kangaroos or camels”, Wurster explains about the hardships to which trucks are exposed in the Australian bush.
Perished electrics, clogged oil lines, broken mirrors, battered shock absorbers, mud-encrusted fittings – the Australian service technicians constantly come across trucks in such a condition. But regular training equips the MAN service team very well to make such battered trucks roadworthy again and to provide customers with the best support possible. Penske Power Systems in Perth made it to the final round of the MAN Service Quality Award 2019, our global competition for MAN support teams.
The mishap occurs on the journey through the Ennstal in Upper Styria: a stone chip hit the left main headlight on the MAN Lion's Coach. Fortunately it was only the protective glass that splintered. The full-LED headlights are still illuminated, so the driver can still safely steer the coach with holidaymakers aboard through the dusk into the district town of Liezen. The Georg Büchner GesmbH pick-up and delivery service is already waiting at the hotel. It takes the vehicle to the workshop and brings it back to the hotel car park after the repair. The travel group boards their bus in a good mood the next morning. The mountain tour can proceed according to plan.
“Such damage can always occur, which is why we're available around the clock”, says Christian Käferbeck from MAN Customer Service provided by Georg Buchner GesmbH in the Austrian town of Haag. Buchner looks after around 500 buses from MAN and NEOPLAN in all of Austria. Its customers include both tour operators with a single vehicle and public transport companies with a large fleet.
Electronic defects, broken glass and damage due to accidents are the most common reasons why a bus has to make an unscheduled trip to the workshop, reports Alexander Palmetshofer, who supplies MAN customers with original spare parts. The Austrians undergo training with MAN at least once a year to keep their knowledge of the different bus models fully current. “One of us is actually always undergoing training” Palmetshofer tells us. “We've only just got our heads around all the details of the new TGE minibus.” The teaching material includes not only the vehicles' hardware and software, but also comprehensive background knowledge of guarantee, warranty and other after-sales support issues. The Georg Buchner squad demonstrated it understands its craft at the global MAN Service Quality Award 2019: the team won third place. Congratulations!