In the latest of the regular ‘Eight questions to…’ Q&A series AM magazine chats to Chris Marsh, group parts manager at Mercedes-Benz truck and van dealer Rygor Commercials.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
Ensuring our eight parts managers and our entire parts team is engaged and motivated to provide exceptional customer service. It’s all about the fastest route to get parts to our customers, whether they are trade, retail, key accounts or our own workshop, to ensure we maximise vehicle uptime. Keeping our customers’ vehicles on the road is the most important thing, as they all have jobs to do themselves and their fleets are an essential part of this. As a business we work hard to ensure the accurate and smooth supply of commercial Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts to customers, and central to this is utilising every avenue to get the right part, to the right place at the right time. We regularly check stock levels and think outside the box to be able to supply our customers with what they need, including national and European stock searches where required.
What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?
2020 has been a challenging year for all businesses and although we are exceptionally proud of the hard work and commitment from our team and where we are today, it is obviously our goal to get back to and even exceed 2019 levels.
How might these challenges be overcome?
Key to achieving this is motivating our team and keeping the focus on providing excellent service. This will of course encourage customers to further invest in our products and the Mercedes-Benz GenuineParts range. We also utilise our business development team, to work with key account customers and help market our business offering. Over the past few years we have invested in many of our sites and facilities to offer customers an even more retail-friendly environment, and this includes the opening of our dedicated Truck Centre in Heathrow, which opened in September 2020.
What attracted you to this area of expertise?
After I completed my A-Levels, I wanted to get into the workplace and start earning a living. This was back in the mid-nineties, when computers were still quite new to businesses. Having just completed my A-Levels though, I found that I could pick up the technologies pretty quickly, which was a plus when starting a fast-track parts apprenticeship in the passenger car industry. On completing my apprenticeship I became a parts advisor and then moved into a supervisor role. I was in the passenger car industry for 12 years, before I moved to the Mercedes-Benz brand and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve always looked to progress and learn, and always wanted to get into management. Rygor promoted me into my current group management role, which I really enjoy, as I can also mentor and develop people in their career paths.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it at your company?
Transparency and being open. Customers want you to be clear and open with them – it’s about building relationships which are trusted and mutually respectful. And it’s the same with colleagues and team members: being honest and open is key and it allows the team to know that they can come to you with anything, which is essential to great teamwork. Some of our sites are open 24 hours and that means everyone needs to work well with each other, to ensure smooth and clear handovers and to deliver excellent customer service. We spend so much time with our work colleagues and, for me, building these positive relationships is paramount.
What drives you?
Getting results and seeing my team and the entire business achieve.
What’s your favourite app?
How do you relax?
I coach my daughters’ football team and I love playing football myself too. I am a keen runner and it’s great to be able to safely socialise with friends again.