We’re very pleased to have been selected as the RMI’s association of the month in the June/July issue of Automobil magazine. We are unsure what form the Automobil will take in the future so we are thrilled to have been featured as a Cover story in this latest issue. We have a strong five-page profile in the publication, which offers a fantastic showcase of our current projects and campaigns, from online learning initiatives to website marketing.
As a MIWA member, we hope you’re as proud as we are to see how we’re contributing to the development of this vital industry in South Africa!
Did you know that there are 2 500 businesses under our umbrella? As you can imagine, when all of these units work together, we stand to make a significant impact – but, if each does its own thing, the power of our brand is diluted.
That’s why it’s so important that every business applies the Corporate Identity (CI) we so proudly adopted earlier this year. We believe that the CI makes a bold and strong announcement about who we are and what we stand for. When customers, and potential customers, see our distinctive signature colour and logo, they know instantly that they’re dealing with reliable, trustworthy professionals.
Of course, the power of this brand depends on consistent application. The more we all use it in the same way, the more we entrench our values and image. This is why we appeal to each member to be meticulous in how you apply the elements of our CI – from our logo to artwork – on every piece of communication to leave your office, including letters, email, signage, and posters.
We’ve released some brand guidelines to help you through this process – if you have any questions about the application of our CI, you’re sure to find the answers in this comprehensive guide. Wilma has all the various logos housed centrally for your convenience.
I’m sure that, by now, you never want to hear the phrase ‘new normal’ ever again – and we don’t blame you. The reality, though, is that we certainly have entered a phase of life that is very different from everything we’ve known before, and which is sure to be here for a while. Those of you who have already returned to business will already know this to be true.
For most of us, the shock will be primarily financial. Although we all understand the importance of compliance, this comes at a cost. With many of the almost 2 500 aftermarket workshops represented by MIWA already having taken a hit during the lockdown, we are expecting to see this impact deepen over the coming months. Expert opinion holds that it may take as long as nine to 12 months for businesses to recover from the financial effects of the lockdown. At present, most workshops are operating at only 30-65% of their turnover; a situation worsened by a worrying new trend by customers, who authorise repairs but delay collection and payment because of their own pressured cash flow.
Most industry players believe that the functional demands of our industry won’t change too drastically in the post-COVID world, although we are likely to see a lot more business conducted online, as many members have responded very well to this way of working and the increased efficiency it allows.
Although the industry has adapted well to the new sanitisation protocols, we need to be more vigilant than ever as South Africa prepares for a predicted spike.
That said, it’s possible to flourish in this new environment. We simply need to approach everything we do with caution and measured optimism.
We’re extremely excited to launch a new podcast series, aimed to help members sharpen their knowledge of tools and to use them more effectively. This series has been developed in collaboration with Gondolier, importers of Jonnesway Tools. You can access the series on our MIWA SA Information Group on Telegram. If you’re not yet part of the group, simply download the Telegram app.
On behalf of The Motor Industry Workshop Association NEC and all of our MIWA members, we would like to extend a very sincere thank you to the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) for all the support and guidance since lockdown. The regular communication we received almost daily, updating our members on new developments, has been invaluable during this very challenging time. We also greatly appreciate the 35% reduction in membership fees offered to members for the next financial year. Thank you for appreciating how challenging business recovery will be over the next period. We are truly proud to be an association of the RMI and look forward to working together to rebuild our sector.
Health issues aside, the impact of Covid-19 on our economy has been simply devastating – and, sadly, our industry has not been immune. Our last resort is always to retrench our people but unfortunately this may be inevitable. We don’t want to lose that talent, and because family looks after family, MIWA is committed to doing everything we can to help. With this in mind, we are launching a jobs and employment portal, and we’re inviting all members who have been retrenched to load their CVs, along with a brief motivation, online. Workshops are, in turn, encouraged to use this service as their first port of call when looking for new skills. We will update you as soon as the portal is live.
While employees may have been fretting about finances during the lockdown, you can be sure that their anxiety won’t have dissipated now that they’re back at work. If anything, it’s probably ramped up several notches, now that infection rates are climbing and they’re facing greater exposure than when they were staying at home. There’s also the stress and, often, depression that’s becoming a common feature for many of us as we consider a way of life that seems lost, for now at least, and concern about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones.
As an employer, it’s critical that you help your staff members process these emotions – this is, after all, the mark of a good workplace, but also has significant implications for productivity. Here’s what you can do:
Get the basics right: It may seem simple, but employees will feel far more secure if they know that you’re doing your utmost to look after their wellbeing. Implementing the recommendations and regulations of the WHO and our own National COVID Command Council will go a long way in this regard – so make sure your workshops have been configured to allow for appropriate social distancing, You have set up the correct sanitisation stations and all the necessary PPE to keep both your staff and your customers safe.
Keep on communicating: We’ve been told to limit the amount of news and social media we digest but, on the other hand, being unsure of what’s happening out there can be equally disturbing. Make sure that employees are up to date with any new developments, such as the launch of our first vaccine trials. This is also important because it can stop the spread of disinformation or misinformation, which inevitably causes panic. RMI have been amazing in keeping most of us abreast of new developments in this regard.
Remind employees of the importance of self-care. This really comes down to the fundamentals of looking after yourself: getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods.
Be flexible. Obviously, you can’t afford to let standards slip – but it’s also important to remember that each one of us finds ourselves in exceptional circumstances that nothing could have prepared us for. It’s inevitable that people will bring their emotions into the workplace, and this may have an impact on productivity or morale. Be supportive as far as you can.
With consumers watching every penny, many may be tempted to go what they perceive as the ‘cheaper route’ of an unaccredited workshop. We recently released communication in the press about why this is not, in fact, the wise choice. We pointed out factors such as the lack of recourse available to customers who make use of unaccredited workshops, as well as the fact that they cannot be sure that the workshop is compliant with all relevant legislation, including COVID-19 regulations. We also pointed out that our accredited workshops are backed by the RMI, and that with more than 2 500 workshops across the country, customers are certain to find one in their area – plus, they can be assured that all staff members at these workshops receive regular training and upskilling so that their knowledge is at the cutting edge. Finally, we reminded customers that our MIWA accredited workshops undergo regular audits, so they are guaranteed the very best service and parts.
It’s refreshing to read something in the press that’s not about the dreaded COVID-19 – especially when it’s about our members or Association. A very big thank you to all members who have helped us remain in the media’s eye. Here are some of the headlines we’ve made during the past month:
Congratulations to our members at D&T Servicing and Caltex DAC Motors, who collected literally thousands of bottle tops for the Sweethearts Foundation. The Foundation will use all of these bottle tops to buy wheelchairs once they have been recycled. It collects bread tabs for this purpose, too.