Multi-brand dealers

Just wanted some feedback on your thoughts on this new type of dealership. I've noticed that in my region more & more dealers are now multi-brand & have multiple locations.

The multiple location system has been dissapointing from my point of view. When needing service from these dealers, the central dispatching they use seems to always mean that the tech comes from the farthest location. When asked why I can't seem to get a tech from the closest dealer, the answer is " our dispatching software dispatches the next available tech regardless of their home dealership". This has happened multiple times & has caused frustration over the length of time spent getting to the customer & the related travel costs involved.
  • Posted 24 Apr 2013 00:11
  • Discussion started by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
Showing items 1 - 15 of 20 results.
I came from a limited line dealer where we were able to focus, specifically, on two lines of lifts and know them inside and out. Especially with the advent of Tier II, III and IV software and the requirements thereof, it made things manageable. I am now with a multi-line independent dealer, servicing five different OEM's, and I have found that, both on the service side with having to try to manage training for technicians and having all of the necessary tooling for all the lines, and with trying to maintain parts stock and meet quotas, it is sometimes a losing proposition and we have to simply decide to take better care of one line and let the others wait/sit for a while. This is an enemy to customer service and has caused me some personal issues in trying to build bridges across the chasms we have.
While it is the way of the new world, I tend to lean toward focus and superiority whenever possible. And we all work on everything, and the comment above of having cooperative crossover relationships was spot on, when you can manage them (that is, when other dealers are receptive - not all are.)
Kudos to everyone above on their commentary - super topic and great information/thoughts all around.
  • Posted 23 Jan 2014 21:45
  • Reply by KNSLift
  • Kentucky, United States
"Only the man who says 'no' is free." - Herman Melville
I sure do agree that ForkLiftAction has helped me keep a number of forklifts from needing really big boats so they could be a correctly sized anchor.
As far as "multiline dealers" goes, the things I have seen over the years are more along the lines of less competition [good for the manufacturers, finance banks and dealer principals that remain, not as good for whom they negotiate with, which I see as their 'working class' employees {for wages and benefits} and the customers/end-users].
There have almost always been dealers who sold more than 1 brand of forklift, but that used to mean dealers who represented more than 1 manufacturer, where the customer would be offered 2 or more different trucks to purchase within the class of trucks they desired/needed.
  • Posted 12 Jan 2014 00:41
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
It would make it very difficult to stay busy if we just serviced the brands that we sell so we have to service most brands. We try to stay away from certain types of equipment or brands of trucks that are difficult to find out information on or have proprietary components.
These forums and FLA are a huge, huge help to us when we run into an issue regarding later model competitive trucks. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't use the resources that are provided by this site. Thank You Forklift Action Team.
  • Posted 12 Jan 2014 00:16
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
Can't say much about cross training in most dealerships, but this is what i hear from the tech's I've run across from the local Hyster/Yale dealership. Both trucks are virtually identical. Some of the software is a little different in the VSM or ECU. The Hyster training they received directly transferred to the Yale. Except for technical stuff, programming and the like, any good tech can fix any lift truck.
On the other hand, the salesman said He would go in and quote a Yale, and the company would send the other salesman to quote the Hyster. In a sales mode, I would think multi brands would be a conflict of interest.
  • Posted 10 Jan 2014 12:36
  • Reply by meliftman
  • Alabama, United States
Elberta, Al.
A few more remarks from me.

While we specialize in Linde, pretty often it happens, that we are not able to deal with some other brands, specially the newer generations, which require sophisticated diagnostic tools, specialistic knowledge etc.

That's why we arranged kind of collaboration circle consisting of independent companies, like us, operating in the same areas and specialized in the brands we don't know.

When we must service the truck we "don't like ;-)" owned by our customer who owns mainly Linde, we simply arrange the visit of the specialist from our befriended company, let' s say, orientated on Still.

We are charged by this company for their support, but the rates between us are "special" and the customer gets the invoice exactly the same as if our service guy was there. And we still earn some money.

From the other hand we support Still or Jungeinrich orientated companies when they have to deal with Linde.

The deal is simple, healthy, and honest.
And customer is always serviced by higly skilled people, with no suprises in the invoices.
  • Posted 10 Jan 2014 02:49
  • Reply by Karait
  • Poland
I know your deepest secret fear...
Chris t- I agree that muli- brand dealers have made a decision to grow their bottom line, but in my experience, at the expense of the customer.

If a tech is trained to work on a green lift then the last thing a customer wants to hear is "I don't really know much about your yellow lift- I'm trained in green lifts"-maybe it's just a cop out on the part of the tech- but that doesn't really matter- what does matter is the lift doesn't get serviced as quickly as it could have & the bill is more expensive than it should be. I've had this senario the few times I've dealt with multi-brand dealers in my area.

As far as centralized dispatching- I can't believe that I'm that lucky that I'm the only one who seems to get the tech from the furthest dealership in their group when I call for service. If they do it on purpose because I'm an independent (& a competitor) they're shooting themselves in the foot because their bill gets passed directly to my customer. That sort of inefficiency gets noticed quickly when the bill has to get explained because it's so inexorbantly expensive.
  • Posted 10 Jan 2014 00:54
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
I think you are all missing the real reason for multi-branded dealerships. It has nothing to do with the specific tech or specialist. It has to do with sound business and market share and money. Listen, as an example, Dealer A sells a green truck (the mfg is not important) they have done a good job and are now scrambling for ways to grow their business because they have either saturated the market or they have just run out of new businesses and the new businesses are so few that the competition is incredible.
Now, there is an opportunity to buy the local yellow machine. Almost automatically the original company increases their business and their foot print in the market. To your point about tech's ideally it would be a perfect world to send the yellow truck specialist to work on the yellow truck and the green tech to work on the green truck. But we aren't in a perfect world and to be honest, more times than not dispatching from various locations actually saves the customer and the dealership. Multi-line dealers have been around for years. Some are very successful and are able to sell all the lines that they represent, some are happy to maintain their primary line and supplement additional sales with the other lines.
  • Posted 9 Jan 2014 23:51
  • Reply by chris_t
  • South Carolina, United States
I am surprise that in your case multi-location dealership is work reversely. The main benefits of multilocation dealership companies is that these companies always try to item form its nearest place. On some cases if the item is not available in its nearest centre, they have to deliver this form other (far) center.
  • Posted 28 Nov 2013 22:28
  • Reply by xavier_s
  • Western Australia, Australia
Airfab Pty Ltd
Let's get back on track shall we- the question is- when a dealer carries more than 1 brand ( not connected ) as in my area a dealer carries Linde, Cat, Clark, just to name a few- what have been your experiences with this new type of dealer

The dealer seems (IMHO) to have 1 guy per brand. When I call to get a Clark brain reflashed- I can either wait for the Clark guy or take the Cat guy. (These were their words). When ordering parts, I can either have the distributor in stock for the Cat that's 750.00, or wait & order in the Clark dist for 280.00. Just wondering if anyone else has had this type of experience.
  • Posted 21 Jun 2013 23:28
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
The trucks are IDENTICAL.
  • Posted 21 Jun 2013 14:20
  • Reply by WJL24
  • Ohio, United States
The issue is, that for the averagely skilled technician these differences should be non-significant.
  • Posted 18 Jun 2013 22:45
  • Reply by Karait
  • Poland
actually even though they appear to be identical on the outside(aside from the paint and logo), for the most part they are, there are some slight differences in certain components between the two brands in either case.
Their premium features may be different in brand/mfg, could be different mfg motor or maybe a control system component.
But you are right, to look at them you can hardly tell them apart in most cases.
  • Posted 18 Jun 2013 21:27
  • Reply by Jplayer
  • North Carolina, United States
John Player Jr
LiftOne, LLC
Charlotte, NC
Email: jplayer@liftone.net
Actually the Hyster and the Yale (much like the CAT and the Mitsi) are identical products just marketed differently. The only difference between them is the paint color and the name.

If a tech can service a Hyster but not a Yale or a CAT and not the Mitsi, then I hate to be the one to tell you that they're not servicing the Yale or the Mitsi properly either.
  • Posted 18 Jun 2013 02:19
  • Reply by klbam
  • Michigan, United States
It looks, we have a little different habits/standards here.

In my company it happens quite often, that the service engineer specialized in Linde must deal with the truck of different brand.
It usually happens, when the customers fleet consists of some amount of "our" machines and few other.

The customer expects, that the guy we delegate for him will solve ALL his problems (we have the "one face to the customer" philosophy).
This is the service provider obligation to ensure that his specialists are able to deal with the trucks they have in their location. When they are different brands, this is still his headache.
We must provide the training, the documentation, technical support, spare parts logistics etc.
Otherwise, the customer will be unhappy ;-)

That's why it's a bit hard to understand for me, why the different guys from different locations must come to the customer to service sometimes similar trucks (like Yale and Hyster).
Such situation is very uncomfortable for the trucks user, while he cannot estimate his monthly/yearly maintenance costs, TOA (truck out of action) factor etc.

I think, the issue (and the key to the success in this branch) is, that if the customer makes, let's say, shoes, let him make his shoes and not bother with his tools (like hammers, computers or trucks).
We, the service companies, are the ones, who take care of these tools, and our job must be presumable, clear, economically reasonable, and less bothering for the customer, the better.
Howgh ;-)
  • Posted 17 May 2013 22:30
  • Modified 17 May 2013 22:30 by poster
  • Reply by Karait
  • Poland
I know your deepest secret fear...
BB Forks is saying that if a Hyster and a Yale dealer merge & you have a Yale then the techs should be versed in both trucks. Instead you call in and the Yale guy is out in the NW territory where he is based. Your option then is to pay extraordinary travel charges to get the guy who knows what he is doing, and hopefully save on hours. Or you could take a chance on the Hyster guy who is round the corner taking extra hours and finally working it out.
I think the benefits of multi branding might have been oversold. Basically you are merging two different sets of mechanics who have been trained on different machines and have long standing loyalties to each one. They cover up their fear of not knowing by blaspheming the other truck. They make it very difficult to teach old dogs new tricks. Over time you will get an integrated work force trained on both trucks but things will have to settle down first. Years ago we ran a basically Hyster shop, then expanded to Datsun ( yes that old) and then we took on Taylor and finally NYK the electric trucks. That was the humdinger.We had a truck sit in the shop for two weeks, until we hired a new man who fixed it by early afternoon.
  • Posted 17 May 2013 13:32
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes

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