A year after interviewing Shaftec’s Tom Curtis, PMF speaks to the company’s new Sales Manager Marc Wise about the last 12 months and what’s in store in the future.
Q. Hi Marc, please tell us more about your new role.
Marc Wise (MW): My new role is to manage the UK and export sales. Over the past two years, export growth has doubled as we’ve grown the brand further into Europe; we currently export into 15 countries. One of my first priorities will be to appoint an export manager that can lead the growth in this area, allowing me to focus on the UK business.
I have a lot of work to do in terms of meeting up with our customers in the UK as soon as the country starts to ease restrictions, which I’m really looking forward to. Some I already know and some are new to me, and I want to continue to promote all the qualities that come with the Shaftec brand and ensure we are the first choice with both the garage and the motor factor when it comes to purchasing our type of product.
Q. How will you seek to achieve this goal of being the first choice for garages and factors?
MW: Throughout the first quarter of 2021, we put everything in place to continue to be the supplier of choice across our key areas for the UK factors and garages. Sales are buoyant, stockholding is strong and therefore availability is second to none. All of that, coupled with our objective of continuous investment in machinery, testing, manufacturing, quality and process control, means that we are best placed to best serve the market across our chosen areas.
Our new management team, including Darren Byng and Joe Toakley, can’t wait to properly resume travelling across the UK for face-to-face meetings to further strengthen our relationships with our existing UK customers, as well as to introduce new customers to the Shaftec brand.
Joe has kicked off the year by making some changes to our marketing and advertising strategies, and taking a fresh look at our brand communications with a series of new adverts.
Q. Has the last year seen the demand for remanufactured products change at all?
MW: 2019 was a great year for us, and even with everything that 2020 threw at us, the business grew. Shaftec is primarily a remanufacturer, and as such we continued to see a steady rise in demand for our remanufactured products. For example, across the two product areas where there is the option to buy new and remanufactured – driveshafts and steering pumps – new units accounted for just 1% of all sales.
During the second half of the year in particular, we saw a significant demand for our products. The industry did get very busy which helped, but the fact we could deliver on the demand allowed a noticeable growth in sales.
Q. This time last year, Shaftec alluded to the growth in demand for EPS parts. Is this still a growing market?
MW: Yes, this is most definitely a growing market. In terms of R&D and new to range, we are developing in line with this in order to cater for demand. With a rise in the number of vehicles with EPS now falling out of warranty and into the aftermarket, it’s only going to continue to grow. In terms of demand, at Shaftec we’ve seen consistent steady growth and forecast that this will rise dramatically over the next two years. With the time, research and investment we have put into electric steering, I am confident that the Shaftec brand name will become increasingly synonymous with this product area.
Q. How has the last year been for the company as a whole?
MW: Last year was a hard one for everyone, with the pandemic hitting hard and the omnipresent threat of Brexit looming over the industry. But at Shaftec, by living and breathing our mantra that range and availability are key, we not only weathered the storm of the past year, we thrived. Even at the height of the pandemic, our availability levels remained good and we coped admirably with the increased demand we saw in the latter part of 2020.
Q. What does the future hold for Shaftec?
MW: The future for Shaftec is bright. Being a UK-based business operating under one roof from our central Midlands facility means that we have almost complete process control, and this has stood us in good stead over the past few years.
Literally everything happens in one place here, from old core acceptance through to the boxing of fully tested, shelf ready product. This careful and strategic planning, and the fact that we hold over £5million worth of stock at any one time, means that we are always one step ahead when it comes to availability. This allows our customers’ businesses to carry on regardless, safe in the knowledge that we can get them whatever they want and need when they want or need it.
We have ambitious plans and I have no doubt that we will achieve great success. We’ll forge ahead to further solidify Shaftec’s brand presence within our existing markets, and at the same time explore new avenues and opportunities allowing continued growth within the UK and European aftermarkets.