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Aftermarket changes at Hyundai Translead

HYUNDAI TRANSLEAD has added Aurora Parts & Accessories as a master parts dealer and completely restructured its aftermarket department.

Aurora Parts joins the four current master parts dealers in North America; Belgrade Parts, Southeast Trailer Mart, ITEC Canada, and Resalta in Mexico. Hyundai Translead manufactures dry freight and reefer vans, dollies, domestic containers, and container chassis in its modern plant — the first trailer manufacturing facility in North America to receive ISO Certification for consistent and documented quality manufacturing procedures.

Instrumental in creating and implementing the changes is Ora Edwards, the newly appointed manager of aftermarket parts.

Stuart James, vice-president of sales, says Hyundai Translead believes this arrangement “will offer better delivery times and service to our customers through a broader parts network made up of trailer aftermarket professionals. We intend to provide better and timelier information to our customers and ensure quicker deliveries of the parts they need.”

Edwards comes to Hyundai Translead with over eight years' experience in the aftermarket arena. He was brought on board for his background and his ideas on how the aftermarket department at Hyundai could operate more effectively.

“Our top priority is to provide the prompt and efficient service that is expected of a Hyundai company,” Edwards says. “We know that equipment down time means lost revenue for our customers and we are working hard to minimize that through a streamlined operation.”

James says Hyundai Translead started looking into making the changes when it concluded that it was not always providing the level of aftermarket support that its customers needed and deserved.

“We determined that fundamental changes were needed to bring our service up to those customers' expectations,” he says. “After examining several options we decided to outsource the retail operation so that our selected distributors could focus on providing the services they are expert at providing, and we could focus all of our efforts on supporting those distributors.

“The original concept for the change was developed one year ago, and then it took a year to select the partners that we felt were the right fit to move forward with us. It is important to stress that we have selected five partners in the aftermarket area, and while Aurora is a big and very important part of the overall organization we must not forget Belgrade, STM, ITEC, and Resalta are equally important.

“Having chosen the partners that we felt represented the best possible fit for us in each geographic area, we then had to work through contract and costing/pricing phases, a systems and methods phase, and then the physical transfer of the inventory. Meanwhile, our partner distributors were making their own internal changes to comply with the systems we have put in place, including updating Web sites and incorporating direct data access into Hyundai Translead's bill-of-material and drawings systems.”

Previous service

James says Hyundai Translead had formerly serviced the trailer aftermarket on a direct basis from within its headquarter offices in San Diego. Parts inventory was held at Hyundai Auto's PDCs in the Los Angeles area, Chicago area, and New York City area.

“Hyundai Auto's PDCs have received awards and accolades from JD Powers for excellence in the automotive aftermarket arena but were not ideally equipped to deal with the often heavy, bulky, and over-length parts common in the trailer aftermarket arena,” James says. “As a result, our service did not always live up to the standards of service that our trailer customers expect of us.

“Aurora, Belgrade, ITEC, STM, and Resalta are professionals in the area of handling, shipping, and delivering trailer parts and are well-equipped with multiple ‘retail’ outlets who will keep an inventory of parts on their shelves ready for immediate delivery. They each have an active sales team calling on trailer fleet customers and work with our mutual customers to determine what specific parts need to be carried in specific areas. In a nutshell, this team of distributors can deliver parts to the customer quicker and more cost-effectively than we were able to do alone.”

James says there has been a physical restructuring of the department, but also a fundamental change in the business structure.

“Externally, Hyundai Translead has outsourced aftermarket support at the retail level to our distributors, and in turn to their dealers and sales personnel,” he says. “This involved giving up the profit opportunity inherent in operating the business ourselves and placed responsibility for aftermarket support of our customers outside of our own house and our direct and immediate control. This took an absolute expression of confidence in the partners we have selected and a considerable step of faith on our part. No one lets go of control of such a vital element of customer support without some anguish over the decision.

“On a physical level, we have created separate storage facilities at our plant in Tijuana to house aftermarket inventory, where it was previously warehoused in the same facility as material designated for the production lines. Simultaneously with separating the inventory, certain plant personnel were reassigned such that their sole task is now control and delivery of aftermarket parts. Ora and other personnel were hired to manage the department. Shipments now leave the plant twice per week heading for the distributors' warehouses.

“Starting with Aurora, each of the distributors is being given the ability to directly access Hyundai Translead's bill-of-material and trailer drawing data via the internet. This access allows the distributors' sales people to provide a customer such data as part numbers and availability as the first incoming call is made. In case of difficulty, we have an engineer assigned to our headquarters aftermarket group who will assist in resolving questions regarding the correct part. In a case where the needed part is not available from the distributor in an acceptable time frame, we can recommend a substitute part and/or can canvass the other distributors for availability.”

The Aftermarket Department at Hyundai Translead can be reached at 1-800-506-7710 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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