“We have totally transformed the business,” says Geoff Brady, DCUK Retail managing director. “We now have a lot more standalone service points in London because we recognise that while people will travel to buy a new car, they will not travel that far for servicing.”
Improvements have also been possible from putting more staff on each car – an idea that originated in the recently launched Express-Service fast-fit operation, but one that is spreading to other DCUK workshops. “We can do standard servicing in 28 minutes because we put three technicians on the car, not just one,” says Brady, who adds: “Quicker services also reduce our courtesy car bills.”
A new parts hub has been set up in Birmingham, responsible for all trade deliveries, which is freeing up space in workshops, while moves to outsource pre-delivery inspections to an independent company means technicians can dedicate more time on servicing and repairs. Next year DCUK Retail will open separate parts hubs in its market areas, each around 5000sq ft, offering twice daily deliveries. They will hold every part that has more than three movements a year, while items in less demand will be delivered from its Milton Keynes HQ site.
DCUK Retail is addressing the industry problem of staff shortages through a new apprenticeship programme. It expects to put around 50 apprentices into its business next year with a target of getting second and third year technicians into every outlet within its London, Birmingham and Manchester territories. Immediate gaps in the network have been filled by bringing in 30 technicians from South Africa.
The Manchester region will open the company's first customer relationship management call centre next week with responsibility for bookings and MoT reminders.