Schaeffler’s Marketing Communications Manager, Jeff Earl, discusses how the company was able to help workshops get ‘back on track’ as lockdown started to ease.
In May, the Government took the first steps to ease the lockdown and encourage businesses to get back to work, and Schaeffler claims to have been the first out of the blocks to put together and deliver a practical series of measures to help make that request become a reality.
Heeding the advice provided by healthcare experts and the Department of Health, the company mobilised its resources and invested to compile and deliver its ‘BACK > ON TRACK’ workshop essentials packs.
These packs included floor stickers and tape to mark out social distancing requirements around the reception and workshop area, personal PPE (a hygienic washable mask and a bottle of hand sanitiser), prominent A2 posters, and a handful of mirror-hanging air fresheners to be left in customer’s cars. Everything was produced in a striking yellow and black design, including the outer box, which could be repurposed as a COVID-19 cleaning station.
Schaeffler claims that the response that it received from workshops was tremendous, as it was clear that, despite there being a great desire to lift the shutters to help clear the backlog of servicing, testing and repairs, it was unclear to many how they should go about it.
The company’s Marketing Communications Manager, Jeff Earl, commented, “Right from the start, we had fantastic feedback for the initiative, not just from workshops, but right across the independent sector. Many said that it wasn’t just the contents in the pack that were such a help, but also the advice and direction on the included ‘safe workshop charter’ poster. As a result, they were more confident that their workshops looked and ‘felt’ safe and professional to customers, which is exactly why we created them.”
Just one month on from the start of the initiative, 2,000 workshops across the UK and Ireland were in possession of packs, many of them thanks to Schaeffler’s team of REPXPERTS. Usually seen delivering training sessions and best practice advice, they were instead tasked with delivering 500 of the packs to workshops the length and breadth of the country. Another 1,500 were sent out via UPS from Schaeffler HQ in Hereford, where the packs had been assembled by the sales and marketing team.
“Although response to the initiative was huge, the icing on the cake was seeing the reaction of the workshops on receiving their packs, whether they had been delivered personally or by courier,” Jeff continued.
“For instance, we received a fantastic email from a workshop in Romsey, which had just passed its IGA COVID-19 workplace audit, saying ‘we would not have succeeded with compliance without the pack’. It was comments like that, along with the overwhelming positivity shared on social media and the dozens of photos we have been sent, that are the reward for all the hard work – not to mention investment – that went into the initiative.
“The whole of the aftermarket is reliant on workshops reopening safely, as well as customers being confident enough to take their vehicles in for a service, repair or an MOT test, so we are very happy to have played a small, but extremely positive part in the process, which has, in turn, helped to fuel the recovery at motor factor level.”
As the aftermarket continues to get back on track, the Government, along with leading industry organisations, has made lots of valuable business guidance available to help workshops reopen safely.
The GEA, IAAF, IMI, SMTA and the SMMT have combined to produce a raft of aftermarket specific information, which can be downloaded from any of the association’s websites.
To assist workshops further, Schaeffler has used this information to create an online e-learning module to help owners and technicians take on board all the key guidelines they need to be aware of to keep their workplaces safe for both staff and customers. Factors should be encouraging their garage customers to visit the REPXPERT website to learn more, and find a link to the training.
Schaeffler’s colleagues at OESAA, the Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association, have also taken the initiative to heart, and the group has committed to delivering 3,000 supplementary ‘back on track’ packs to workshops that register here. These new packs contain more workshop essentials, including a mask, floor and door stickers, and posters, all in the same yellow and black design, so customers can feel confident they are in a safe and professional environment.