Over the last few years, Barloworld Handling has invested £Millions in technology and systems in order to deliver some of the best service levels in the industry.
The company claims however, that although these investments help to optimise efficiency, the real key to excellent service is the continued investment in the staff’s personal development.
As the exclusive UK distribution Partner for Hyster equipment, Barloworld Handling is focused on making sure that the customer receives materials handling solutions that optimise efficiency within their individual business.
People are instrumental in delivering that service, particularly the field service technicians who have personal contact with the customer, making a difference to the day to day operation throughout a truck’s contract period.
The right selection of staff, company culture and continued training are therefore important factors.
Ian Roberts, National Service Manager of Barloworld explains:
“Regardless of experience, all service engineers attend Barloworld’s comprehensive induction programme which not only provides technical training but also covers the importance of our customer focused culture.
“New engineers shadow a qualified engineer to receive mandatory practical training and awareness of the customer service practices needed to do the job to Barloworld’s exacting standards”.
Training continues throughout an engineer’s career at Barloworld and a dedicated in-house technical training team delivers roughly 7,000 man days of training per year at various regional Centres of Excellence.
“We take a hands-on approach to training with a 60/40% split in favour of practical sessions in dedicated training areas where we fault find, strip down and rebuild items such as engines or transmissions. But this is not purely a grease and grime profession anymore. For example engineers are also fully trained to use the latest diagnostic technology for fault finding.”
Barloworld’s network of over 600 engineers operates across the UK with each engineer based in a specific area, which means many customers receive service from the same engineers for many years, building up strong relationships.
“Barloworld engineers relate well to customers because they are trained to understand their site requirements and the importance of keeping operations running smoothly” says Ian Roberts. “Through great service and communications, our engineers become a part of the team at each site they visit”.
To enhance the efficiency of the engineers and help manage their working day, they are supplied with a PDA or laptop through which they can communicate directly with the control centre and, if necessary, order parts on demand.
To maintain a quick response service, all Barloworld vans are fitted with a web based GPRS tracking system, providing engineer despatchers with real-time details of the van’s location.
Despatchers can then allocate a job to the closest engineer with the right van stock, helping them to avoid major road congestion and keep customers’ downtime to a minimum. First time fix is therefore optimised.
Barloworld Handling has also implemented an Apprentice Scheme in order to recruit a fresh breed of skilled engineers for the future.
After 4 years structured vocational training, supplemented by block release at some of the country’s leading technical Colleges, qualifying apprentices join Barloworld as a fully qualified forklift truck engineer.
“Barloworld operates nationwide and all its engineers receive the same high level of training” Ian Roberts continues. “Customers can therefore expect to receive a consistently measured and excellent response, wherever they are based”.
Barloworld Handling is dedicated to providing its customers with a service that exceeds their expectations to maintain smooth running operations, and the emphasis the company applies to training, the infrastructure and in particular the human element, is what sets it apart from its competitors.