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Eight questions to... a dealer fleet boss

Mark Wilkie, TrustFord fleet and CV director

An 80s music fan and lapsed tennis player,  Mark Wilkie, TrustFord’s fleet and CV director, still gets a kick from working with customers.

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

Wilkie: I am responsible for the strategy and delivery of corporate sales, compounding and logistics and the strategy for fleet aftersales. We sell about 45,000 vehicles annually, about 42% of TrustFord’s total volume. My main objective is to deliver volume and drive loyalty by consistently delivering the best possible service.

What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?

Wilkie: There has been some commentary around the potential sensitivity of the market in relation to Brexit, but we’re seeing a very strong trend in order take over recent months. On that basis, there is every reason to be positive about the year ahead.

The competitive nature of the market means we have to constantly evolve to stay ahead. Aftersales is now at the top of many customers’ checklists, which marks a change from the focus being around product and pricing, with a requirement for bespoke packages to be tailored to the needs of each individual fleet.

Our drive to maintain quality with volume is relentless.

How might these challenges be overcome?

Wilkie: We are investing significant resources in aftersales. Many of our sites now work twilight hours, with some working through the night and across extended weekend hours. We want to offer customers more flexibility and reduce the impact of downtime to their business. Recognising the importance of keeping vehicles on the road, in 2016 we invested in a fleet of mobile servicing units. Recently, we opened our new 22-acre fleet preparation and distribution centre in the Midlands. This facilitates the preparation of 30,000 vehicles a year and storage for more than 6,000 units. Most importantly, we have invested in recruiting more colleagues – to five times that of the previous team.

What attracted you to this area of expertise?

Wilkie: I’m very lucky to have one of the few jobs at this level that still offers ongoing direct customer contact. This type of role within TrustFord does not come around very often and I was delighted when it was offered to me. I was given the opportunity to make a difference at a critical time for the business and am pleased that the support I was given by the board and my own team has led to such a strong performance. We don’t stand still – 2017 should offer more opportunity to build on the success of the past two years.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it at your company?

Wilkie: The importance of care and respect for our colleagues. I am extremely lucky to have a first-rate team around me and we operate in an organisation that understands we can only hope to have truly satisfied customers if our colleagues are equally happy.

I also try, every day, to create an atmosphere where people want to come to work and where my team are free to exhibit flair. We work hard, but we do it with a great spirit and an absolute belief that we will succeed as a team.

What drives you?

Wilkie: I get huge satisfaction from doing a good job. I’m probably fairly driven anyway, but it’s easy to be motivated when you’re surrounded by great people who all want to succeed for each other.

What’s your favourite app?

Wilkie: I probably spend too much on iTunes, but would rather not publicise some of the 80s names in my music collection. I’ve also become a bit of a LinkedIn devotee and use apps more and more. We have developed our own colleague app and have recently launched our customer app. Our TrustFord apps are all about ensuring customers and colleagues are kept informed.

How do you relax?

Wilkie: Other than the 80s music catalogue, I love getting back to Scotland to spend time with family and friends. I was an avid tennis player, but have let it go over the past few years, so need to get back into it. Perhaps that could be the new year resolution for 2017.


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