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MIWA representatives reap the rewards of portatour®

All our representatives understand just how important our visits to members and potential members are – but they also understand that an enormous amount of work goes into planning these visits. It’s not simply about plotting the most time-efficient route – not always an easy task, given that reps often find themselves travelling vast distances to see members – as reps also have to keep track of which members are due a visit. 

Managing the logistics of such activities manually presents an enormous number of challenges – after all, it’s easy to overlook a member who may need a little attention or to find that you have run out of time for the number of visits you have planned for a day.

That’s why the introduction of portatour® in 2018 was warmly welcomed. This digital tool makes it possible for reps to store all relevant information about reps on their phones, making it easy to access. It also makes planning routes far more simple, helping reps to save time (and petrol money) by plotting the most effective course. In fact, reps have reported that this planning makes it possible to fit in between one and three extra visits each day. This adds up to a whopping 2 500 extra visits every year. More impressive still is that because all records are kept online and the schedule is planned automatically, reps are able to save up to three hours every week – time which would usually be spent trying to figure out the most efficient way of scheduling as many visits as possible. This planning is now done, literally, at the touch of a button. Add to that a reduction of between 15 and 18% in mileage, and all that entails from a cost savings perspective, and it’s easy to see why reps are cheering the adoption of this new technology.


Apprenticeships: An outstanding opportunity to earn while you learn

The automotive industry offers exciting opportunities for disciplined, driven youngsters with an entrepreneurial outlook and a hunger to succeed.

This is good news for young South Africans, for whom employment prospects are sadly grim: with an unemployment rate of 34.9%, the country will be able to provide jobs for only three in 10 matrics.

The automotive industry, therefore, offers an exciting glimmer of hope for those whose career paths are not yet clearly defined. With a notable need for skills in several areas – including motor body repair and spray painting; petrol mechanics; diesel mechanics; automotive engineering and machining; engine fitting; welding; vehicle bodybuilding; and auto electrical – the sector is able to provide learning opportunities for many young people. Even more importantly, these students are able to earn a salary while they hone their skills.

New entrants to the industry would start their careers as apprentices. The next step is to complete a trade test to qualify as an artisan or journeyman. From here, it becomes possible to specialise in a certain area – and this is where prospects become exciting: there are many opportunities for experts in areas like colour mixing and matching; application of waterborne and 2 and 3 stage pearlescent paint; passenger and commercial vehicle technicians; vehicle engine remanufacturing; diagnostic and fault finding technicians; coded welding; and steering geometry and advanced driver-assistance systems.

Individuals interested in pursuing these opportunities should consult the following sources for more information:

Right to Repair: TecAlliance

Every month, we shine a spotlight on one of RightToRepair’s Tier One sponsors. This month, we’re learning more about TecAlliance.

TecAlliance is your global partner for all things aftermarket data related. From parts manufacturers to dealers and trade, workshops and fleet operators, our products help automotive aftermarket players worldwide advance their business through the power of standardised data. We are your trusted partner with more than 25 years of experience, offering data and solutions for the entire value chain.

The availability of, and access to, a high-quality catalogue and market-specific vehicle data is key to success in the independent automotive aftermarket. 

With our newly established venture in South Africa, TecAlliance aims to revolutionise the digitisation of the automotive aftermarket.

TecAlliance specialises in data management solutions within the automotive industry that provide part manufacturers, distributors, online traders and workshops replacement part maintenance data for various vehicle makes and models, as well as the ability to gain further market insights, through customisable data analytics and reporting tools. 

Our TecDoc Catalogue is based on our cloud-based web service API. This provides a flexible solution for you to connect to our backend, to integrate our data for your very own e-commerce B2B, B2C or both. 

We offer tools and extensive support within our comprehensive database containing vehicle reference data, IAM catalogue data, OE data, and a VIO (Vehicles in Operation) database covering the South African car parc, as well as the rest of the world. We have already onboarded major domestic replacement parts manufacturers as data suppliers.

Learn more about our various solutions by visiting our website

James Brown, Sales Manager
TecAlliance South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Celebrating our members: Customer Service Centre – Bosch Car Service celebrates 20 years with RMI

A 20-year anniversary is a milestone to be saluted – which is why we wish Chris Naicker, owner of CSC Motors – Bosch Car Service, a hearty congratulations on this landmark anniversary.

CSC Motors is, in fact, one of two workshops owned by Chris. He also owns Zululand Diesel and Auto, which specialises in rail and mechanical pump and injectors (and which celebrates its ninth anniversary this year). Both workshops are based in Empangeni, and provide employment for 22 people, with five staff members based at ZDAS and the remainder at CSC Motors.

Chris explains that CSC Motors caters for both the corporate and private sectors, specialising in the maintenance and service of all commercial trucks and passenger vehicles as well as repairs for clutches, propshafts, diagnostics, brakes, and air conditioning regas. The workshop works with all insurance companies.

Chris says his workshops are distinguished by their specific focus. Honing in on a specialist niche enables you to build skills and services that benefit your customers as well as becoming the best in the business.

Its longevity and success can be attributed to Chris’s many years of experience. He started his career in the motor industry at an Empangeni-based Nissan dealership where he worked for 21 years; first in the reception before working his way up to a position in warranty claims, then workshop controller, service advisor and service manager. 

Having built a loyal following during this time, it wasn’t surprising that a number of clients decided to support him when he left the dealership to open his first workshop, simply called Chris’s Workshop. Chris maintains that it was his work ethic that set the workshop apart – and continues to do so. He is entirely focused on his staff and customers alike, and respect is part of the workshop’s DNA. That’s because he believes that diligence and hard work have their own rewards. 

His workshops are also distinguished by their specific focus. Chris says that honing in on a specialist niche enables you to build skills and services that benefit your customers, and help you on your way to becoming the best in the business – building strong customer relationships along the way. It further helps to have the backing of leading brands like Bosch Car Service and RMI.

Chris’ greatest achievement, he says, is training his staff to become expert technicians.

Chris has experienced many proud moments during his time in the industry, but his greatest achievement, he says, is training his staff – taking them from a position where they know very little about cars to a point where they are expert technicians. He gives the example of Thokozani Mthembu, a staff member who joined his team as a gearlock and radio fitter and, after 19 years, is now a qualified RSA whose skill rivals any qualified technician. Chris is also proud of the fact that the workshop’s CSI rating currently stands at more than 94%, and that it is the only BCS in the Zululand area.

Safeguarding your car from water puddle damage

While our cities may be looking lush and green after the summer rains, the stormy weather has a far less positive impact on our cars.

Slippery roads and dangerous driving conditions are the most obvious hazards after a downpour, but few motorists realise that the puddles remaining on the roads can cause significant damage to their cars, affecting a number of different components. For example, water entering the electronic components can cause the engine to stall (posing a danger to any driver forced to stop in the middle of traffic), while a flood of water can also affect a car’s air cleaner, resulting in damage to the engine. Another danger is presented when water is sucked into the engine, causing a hydro lock. The resulting damage to the inner working of the engine is very costly to repair. Other components which may be affected include the engine control unit , as wipers that become blocked by leaves and twigs may allow water to enter these components – again causing the car to stall.

Drive slowly over puddles and increase following distance when driving in the rain. Photo by Jan Karan, Pexels.

To prevent expensive repairs and minimise danger in stormy weather, drivers should:

  • Undertake regular maintenance, such as cleaning cowl panels and water draining systems.
  • Drive slowly over puddles in order to avoid aquaplaning and flooding the engine with water.
  • Avoid low lying bridges, as fast flowing water can easily wash cars away.
  • Keep a look out for potholes which damage vehicle rims, tyres and alignment.
  • Remember to keep headlights on to increase visibility. Consider switching on the hazard lights if conditions are especially poor.
  • Drive slowly and increase following distance when driving in the rain.

After the holiday: Basic checks to keep cars healthy

While drivers may feel rested after their holidays, the same might not be said of their cars. Road trips can place a lot of strain on a vehicle while remaining undriven for several weeks comes with its own risks. For these reasons, it’s a good idea for drivers to conduct some basic maintenance to ensure their cars remain in sound running order.

  • Cars that were left in the garage over the holiday may affect the battery’s charging performance, especially if the battery is old. Drivers should have this checked at a workshop.
  • For cars that underwent lengthy road trips, the first step in maintenance is a cleanup – inside and out. This will make it easier to see if there is any damage, and to identify whether travel and emergency accessories (like basic tools, spare wheels, breakdown triangles, jump-start cables, first aid kids and tyre pressure gauges) have been lost and need to be replaced.
  • Heavy driving can affect tyre pressure. Add to this the fact that most vehicles used in road trips have their tyre pressure adjusted for heavy loads, and it’s easy to see why these components need a thorough check post-holiday. Drivers must make sure that the tyre pressure is corrected, that the tyres and spares are still in a good condition, that wheel balance and alignment is still correct, and that tread is no less than 1.6mm.
  • Brake pads and fluid must also be checked after a long trip.
  • Windscreens should be checked for chips and cracks, and replaced if necessary.
  • Lights and indicators must be in good working order.
  • Other key checks include the radiator, cooling system, and water and oil levels.
  • These checks are even more important if the car broke down at any point in the journey. 

Keep that new year enthusiasm

There’s something irresistible about a new year, isn’t there? Even if you’re sceptical about new year’s resolutions, most of us can’t help feeling energised and eager to achieve – that very same feeling most of us experienced looking at the first page of an as yet unused exercise book back at school! Sadly, though, the optimism doesn’t always last long. So what can you do to carry your new year’s enthusiasm through into the coming months?

  • Take care of the basics. It might not sound very exciting, but sorting out admin is key. Any ‘must dos’ left over from last year can really put a brake on your good intentions (who wants to face all those things we should have taken care of last year, when we could be getting on with more exciting tasks?) But making sure that all boxes have been ticked will lay a strong foundation for tackling your next challenges.
  • Check in with your staff. It’s great that you’re feeling fired up – but what about your team? Are they prepped to give their best? Chat with them to find out what the mood is like, any challenges they’re anxious about, and what you can jointly do to make this a great year.
  • Brush up on industry trends. At the beginning of the year, there is always a lot of information circulating about what we can expect over the next few months. It’s worth reading these reports to find out if you’re ready to deliver on customers’ expectations – if not, it’s important to do what you can to address those gaps.
  • Set new goals. By now you know that if a goal is to inspire, it must be achievable – so remember not to create unrealistic objectives. At the same time, though, it’s important to have stretch challenges that keep you and your team motivated and spurred on by the energy that comes with success.

MIWA in the media, January 2022

MIWA appeared in the press several times in December and January. Here are some articles that were published:

Automotive Business Review
What to do when your tyre explodes at high speed

Helpful tips: How to avoid a burst tyre while driving at high speed

Comaro Chronicle
How to keep a cool head when your engine is overheating

Preparing your vehicle before hitting the holiday road

Heels & Horsepower
Water Puddles: A Hazard To Your Car

Automotive Business Review
Water puddles – a hazard for your car

From the Director’s Desk, January 2022

Happy New Year to all our members!

We hope that 2022 has gotten off to a good start for you. We believe that, after all the tribulations and challenges of the past two years, there is a change in the air – a fresh energy and a new sense of optimism. 

We’re doing all we can to take advantage of this by adopting new systems and technologies that help us do our work more effectively and efficiently – read our snippet on portatour® to find out how. We’re also doing what we can to help young people realise the opportunities offered by our sector, by making them aware of the benefits of our apprenticeship programmes. And we have some great tips to help you harness your new year enthusiasm.

As usual, this month’s newsletter is full of excellent advice for motorists, so read up to make sure you’re able to answer their questions. Look out, too, for our article on a workshop celebrating its 20th anniversary – it contains some thought-provoking insights and secrets of success.

We hope you enjoy reading our first newsletter of the year and look forward to sharing more good news with you next month.

Pieter Niemand,
MIWA National Director