Fleet News

A day in the life: Workshop engineer

The job of the workshop engineer is to adapt and customise a vehicle for a company’s specific requirements.

This includes branding and safety adjustments.

Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services workshop engineers develop these vehicles to customer specification.

Its team has worked on Jet-Vac vehicles for Dyno Rod, refrigerated trucks for NHS Blood and Transplant and vans for British Gas. Modifications to vehicles must also take into account payload compliance.

Andrew Adlam, workshop supervisor, started his career at Hitachi in 1999 and believes effective time management and a network of engineers around the country is key to helping its success.

The role

Once a vehicle is procured, if a company requires a specialised vehicle to fit a role, it is able to liase with the on-site workshop in Trowbridge to develop the cars and vans to specification to fit requirements.

The team consists of Adlam, two engineers and a valeter.

Day-to-day running of the workshop usually involves one engineer staying on site and the other out on call to carry out repairs.

It is important for the engineers to be able to work around their customers needs.

Repairs and servicing can be carried out on site or at the clients’ offices enabling them to offer better flexibility.

Last year, the engineers were given a target to put 100 new vehicles on the road. They achieved 103.

It is Adlam’s responsibility to ensure all stock is available to modify the vehicles and to source new technology that could help fleets improve efficiency.

Customers regularly visit the workshop to approve the modifications to make sure they are suitable for their drivers and to discuss branding and vehicle wrapping.

“Our objective is to save the company money. We are always looking at new technology to improve on CO2 emissions and produce savings that we can pass on to the customer,” said Adlam.

The engineers set individual service level agreements with customers and in some cases will outsource repair work to make sure these are met.

With new vehicles coming to market, it is important for the engineers to be in touch when dimensions change.

“On a bulk order, the team uses one of the cars or vans as a template to plan out how to modify and fit the vehicles so it makes the process more efficient.

“We need to be very efficient in the way that we work so the vehicles can be delivered to the customer on time. We try to do everything to keep costs down for the customer because we know how important it is,” said Adlam.

In some instances, technology manuals can be sent to the customers or help given over the phone.

The team relies heavily on a network of engineers around the country to enable them to reach all of their customers and the vehicles.

Some customers have very specific needs, while keeping them mobile and reducing downtime is crucial.

Customer service is very important to the team and a satisfied client is key to making the business a success.

Adlam believes everyone should be passionate about what they do and strive to deliver the best service possible.

“I like to produce the vehicles. It is nice to see the customers satisfied. The staff feel really passionate about helping the customer and really enjoy fitting the vehicles,” said Adlam.

De-fleeting

When the vehicles have finished their term, they are brought back to the site and independently assessed, valeted and cleared of all branding before being sent to auction.

If they have a very high mileage, they will be remarketed immediately.

Jon Lawes, divisional managing director at Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services, said: “The dedicated commercial vehicle site in Trowbridge owes its success to the workshop engineers and this facility sets us apart as a one-stop-shop for our customers’ commercial vehicle needs.

“Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services is looking to re-locate within the area to a custom-built office, again with a workshop, so we hope that its success will increase and that our customers continue to benefit from our specialist expertise”.
 

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