FAW Trucks has experienced significant growth and sales success on the South African commercial vehicle scene since the start of 2021, thanks in large part to the unparalleled suitability of its products for local conditions. Building trucks in South Africa, for Africa, the company has an enviable reputation for providing models that are not only durable, but also provide value for money and low total cost of ownership.
Customers want more than reliable and affordable products though. They also want the assurance that parts will be readily available, and that maintenance and services will be carried out in a satisfactory and timeous manner. FAW Trucks recognises that this is key to maintaining and strengthening its foothold in a highly competitive market and goes to great lengths to ensure that its dedicated national parts distribution centre in Spartan is able to provide a high level of customer service. From this facility it supplies the four main regions in Gauteng, Durban, Harrismith and Cape Town.
There are currently three sales and service centres in Johannesburg, two in Pretoria and one in Midvaal, covering Gauteng. Facilities in Cape Town, Gqeberha and George handle sales and services in the Western and Eastern Cape. In Mpumalanga there are also three centres, located in Ermelo, Middelburg and Nelspruit. Centres situated in Mahikeng and Klerksdorp look after clients in the North-West Province, while the Free State is covered by centres in Bloemfontein, Bethlehem and Harrismith. KwaZulu-Natal customers can turn to centres in either Pinetown, Port Shepstone or Richards Bay with their sales or servicing needs. The Northern Cape and Limpopo province have one sales and service centre each, located in Upington and Polokwane respectively.
“With 22 dealerships and sales and service centres located around South Africa, and another seven situated in other Southern African countries, the Spartan parts distribution centre plays a pivotal role in the smooth running of not only our business, but also that of our many loyal customers,” says Yongjun Li, CEO of FAW Trucks SA.
In a highly competitive commercial vehicle market such as this, parts supply and distribution can mean the difference between success and failure. The Spartan facility has distinguished itself by proving time and again that it is up to the task and FAW Trucks as a brand has reaped the benefits.
“The 7 000 m2 facility is efficiently run ,” says parts manager, Joe Ferreira. “We ship well over 600 lines a day and as such we need to ensure that we operate as efficiently as possible. To this end, supply chain and warehouse operations are continually monitored and adjusted if necessary and over the years our processes have been shaped into the successful system we have now. It’s simple, but it works.”
Orders from dealers and retail customers are received by members of the sales staff, who all receive in-house training to ensure optimal product knowledge. Once the customer has accepted a written quote, the required parts are picked, checked and packed for shipment.
From here the orders are dispatched via a logistics company, either directly to the dealer/customer or to one of the parts hubs, located in Harrismith, Durban or Cape Town. Orders received before the 2 PM cut-off time will be shipped on the same day and delivered before 12 PM the following day.
“Dealers can also collect smaller orders directly from the parts distribution centre to assist clients with urgent parts requests. We have an afterhours line, providing customer support for Vehicle off Road (VOR),” Ferreira explains. “We also cater for self-servicing clients and regularly ship orders to customers across our borders.”
FAW customers in other Southern African countries can rely on the same level of dedication and service as there are quite several sales and service facilities outside of South Africa’s borders. Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique all have thriving dealerships that also offer extensive aftersales services and care. The South African operation, with its SKD assembly plant at Coega, has distribution rights for the Southern African Development Community and distributes directly to these countries.
To ensure that parts for all the models in FAW Trucks’ line-up of 16 models are available, the main hubs carry stock in excess of R75 million. As the model range grows, the parts distribution centre will be expanded in order to facilitate carrying additional lines.
“FAW Trucks already has a solid reputation in the South African market. Apart from ensuring that sales keep ticking over, we must continue to build on this reputation by providing dedicated support of the highest quality. Customers need to be able to trust in the continued and reliable supply of parts in order for us to continue thriving as we have done over the past 27 years,” concludes Li.