All engine reman workshops are unique, says Volker Schittenhelm. So it is worth examining what makes you different – and explaining that to customers
Does engine remanufacturing have a unique selling proposition (USP)? Do engine reman workshops have one? If so, what is their USP? What makes them so unique? Let’s bring some light into the darkness. Definition: the USP is a particular feature that has been identified as the one that makes a company’s product or service different from – and better than - their competitors.
First we have to define ‘competitors’ from an engine remanufacturer’s perspective.
Scenario 1: Car/truck/construction equipment repair workshops
To give some numbers: in Germany alone, we talk about more than 21,000 independent car workshops and 16,300 dependent (original equipment supplier) workshops – not counting truck, light commercial vehicle, agricultural machinery and construction equipment workshops. All these are your competitors. In general – with some exceptions to that rule – these tend to be parts exchangers with no deep knowledge of engines. Their only tool is their diagnostic tool, using it with the naïve hope that the tool leads them to the solution of the failed part or whatever. And the customer pays for the central processing unit (CPU) for example, which the workshop staff assumes to be the cause of the malfunction/ failure/damage/excessive wear. And in case, the assumed CPU is not the reason, the workshop is not willing to take-back the exchanged CPU. The example of a CPU can be replicated in nearly every repair case.
It is mostly a ‘trial and error’ strategy, rather than a targeted one, which most workshops follow.
And you? You are far away from a ‘parts changer’. You are far away from diagnostic tools in order to find the reason for a failure. You have analytical skills and make plausibility checks; you have a simple measuring tool to check current, voltage, resistance, pressure; you have specific measuring and testing tools. You see the effect and find out the cause of your failed, damaged or worn engine or component. You can ‘read’ the book; you can read the damaged piston, bearing, cylinder head gasket, injection nozzles – in short, every damaged component of an engine – to find the real reason for the failure, backed up by in-depth, failure-mode posters and sophisticated documentation by parts manufacturers’ aftermarket divisions. You are part of a network and can rely on the support of engine component manufacturers and additional specialized companies for part failure analysis. You are the technical doctor - the technical snooper - to find out the real reason for the damage. And that part which causes the problem is what you repair, reman or exchange and nothing else. As Sherlock Holmes said: “There are only a few persons able to conclude, from a result, the incident and contexts that have led to it.”
Scenario 2: The next engine reman workshop in town
That is your colleague and NOT your competitor! Work with him and other engine reman specialists to offer your customers a maximum on services and know-how. And for your individual engine reman workshop, find out your individual engine reman USP – for example, dynamic balancing of crankshafts, reman of aluminium or engine blocks - and publish it within your network. Specialising is the key: a specialist can perform better work and provide a better service or product than an engine reman generalist. So find out and be aware of your USP and talk about it. Despite the current discussion about diesel engines – specialising is your future.