When customers take possession of a truck from UD, it is only the beginning of the company's relationship with them. Training and familiarization of the product is essential. Here we introduce Patrick Ryan, Handover and Delivery Manager for Key Accounts at UD Trucks in Australia. He is part of a gemba team that trains people to take full advantage of the features and benefits that our trucks offer.
Tell us about your job and how you support customers?
Patrick: Primarily my job is to carry out hand overs, deliveries and onsite training to our large National Fleet customers. This includes fleet managers, driver trainers and the drivers themselves. I also train staff that are new to the UD brand throughout our Australian network, to ensure their level of product knowledge and brand understanding is high. Anytime I hand over or deliver a truck to a new UD customer I feel a great sense of satisfaction, especially when they have not been exposed to our brand before. I take pride in showing new customers what the truck they have just purchased can do for them, their business and their family.
How has COVID-19 impacted the way you work?
Patrick: Nearly every aspect of my job has been impacted. Before COVID-19 I was mostly in the field, with customers, conducting face-to-face trainings or in trucks with drivers helping them learn the operation of the vehicle. It would not be unusual for me to be travelling by car or plane several times a week or month. As COVID-19 precautionary measures came into force across Australia, travel and therefore face-to-face contact was extremely limited. I was initially worried that I would lose intimacy with our customers. However, I quickly adapted and devised a method of contacting our suppliers, dealers and customers by regular phone conferences or simply a phone call or by email. I have taken advantage of video conferencing using digital tools like Skype, and have made efforts to make my training presentations more friendly to that format. When it comes to consulting people about our trucks, after years of experience, I know exactly how each truck is fitted. If anyone asks me questions by phone or email, I can easily visualize where every switch, control or tool is located, without actually seeing the truck.
How has COVID-19 affected your work-life balance overall?
Patrick: In a word: positive. Now that I work from home, I can be more flexible with my work hours. I can schedule calls during the morning, day or evening to catch up as needed with customers, sales staff and fleets around the country. Australia has three time zones, and customers appreciate the fact that they can contact me when it is convenient for them. On a personal level, I will admit it was tough not being able to visit friends and relatives with COVID-19 travel restrictions in place. However as the restrictions ease, we can now visit family again and I can’t wait to see our grandchildren for the first time in months. In terms of health, I take regular lunch breaks and have been exercising every day.
What opportunities do you see ahead in the new normal?
Patrick: More fleets and customers will want online training. They will also want new and more flexible ways of communicating between us (the manufacturer) and their drivers. Modern communications allow me to talk directly and safely to the fleet drivers whenever they have a question or an issue. I see customers adjusting and navigating to the new normal just as I am, all for the better. This has made me more efficient, more contactable and more creative. I have actually enjoyed a higher level of contact via electronic methods compared to only catching up with them occasionally face to face. I welcome the new normal with open arms.
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