The line-up of Delphi Technologies, a world leader in the OEM and aftermarket supplies, includes parts, equipment, software and training to help its customers to be a step ahead in servicing and maintaining sophisticated vehicle systems. Delphi covers fuel systems, air conditioning, engine management, steering and suspension, advanced diagnostic equipment, e-catalogues and more.“I would classify our product lines as Fuelling (diesel and gasoline), Electronics and engine management, General maintenance solutions of which braking, steering and suspension are the most important, and Test equipment and diagnostics. Delphi can also offer whatever alternative is required by the market for any part: new, remanufactured, or locally repaired at lower cost. Our goal is to grow and continually support our customers with high quality products,” Alex Ashmore, President, Global Aftermarket, Delphi, told T Murrali of AutoParts Asia in an exclusive interview. The excerpts:
Q: How do you assess the present performance of the global automotive aftermarket? Where is the future?
A: The aftermarket globally, from a market perspective, is strong in Europe. North America has slowed down over the last two or three years, and Asia, particularly China, continues to boom. South America is on the recovery path.
Q: What is the outlook for the next five years?
A: As far as we can see these trends should more-or-less continue. The aftermarket is driven by the number of cars on the road, how many miles they do, the quality of the replacement parts and the technology within specific product lines. Most industry statistics reflect a reasonably positive trend in the aftermarket, particularly in China where the vehicle population is still growing probably at 8-10 percent, with the average age of the vehicle at 4 years. There is a lot of growth potential from the aging vehicles.
Q: Miles driven is increasing as fuel prices fall. It may have a positive impact on the aftermarket since more people are driving. How do you see this phenomenon helping Delphi to enhance aftermarket business?
A: With fuel prices low people drive more miles, so there is a bigger pie for everybody in the aftermarket. Our business would ride that way to get a bigger market share.
Q: The customers want better fuel efficiency and maximum up-time of the vehicle on the road. These are certain indicative parameters that help aftermarket players plan their products. How is it with Delphi?
A: As you say, we have the end-customers very much in mind; we are serving a value chain of the distributor with the installer fitting in Delphi quality parts for good repair and service so that the customer does not come back for warranties and associated problems. We also try not only to sell our products but also offer technical and marketing support to our customers. One example is the campaign we are running presently in North America called ‘Clean the Tank’.
This is because many have come back to claim the warranty on fuel pumps because the service provider has not cleaned the tank efficiently. We have developed a little kit to remind people to clean the tank on time; we have a campaign running on YouTube and other marketing sites to educate and remind fitters to clean the tanks properly.
Q: This is also a part of the sustainability initiative because you are trying to clean up the system and use the resources judiciously.
A: Yes, but it is all about not coming back on warranties which is a problem for the manufacturer, distributor and the garage. That is the objective.
Q: Delphi is into replacement, remanufacture and authorised repair. How do you balance?
A: We balance the portfolio by offering new remanufacturing and repaired part solutions which go into our authorised repair centres; that is exactly how we balance the market. We can offer whatever alternative is required by the market for any part: new, remanufactured, or locally repaired at lower cost.
Q: While it is for the customer to pick and choose what he wants; how does Delphi differentiate among the different offerings?
A: Obviously the parts are clearly marked as to whether they are new or remanufactured; there’s a lot of legislation and requirements about marking of parts as remanufactured. For authorised repair we have a network of service centres all over the world with trained personnel.
Q: Delphi has launched a range of remanufactured injectors in Europe. How is the response and what’s the next step?
A: We have remanufactured injectors also in the North American market, running for many years, even before Europe. This year we have also launched global programmes; we now offer remanufacturing in Brazil and China for injectors.
Q: What is your market enhancement plan?
A: In terms of enhancement all our ranges are under continuous evaluation – we have range extensions, range expansions – as we are passionate about being first to market in some of our programmes; so they are under constant review.
Q: You mentioned you would be launching more than 50 percent of SKUs before 2018. How do you manage such huge numbers of SKUs and remain profitable, as the technology is fast changing?
A: That is the challenge of the aftermarket. That is why people need to work with a Tier-1 global OE technology supplier like us because we have the technical expertise, with hardworking people in our product and category management teams. You have to be data-driven with your range-making, so you need good systems to indicate the range gaps and the new vehicles to be covered. It means people, process, systems and expertise.
Q: How do you foresee if a particular model will sustain for long or vanish from the market place? You will have to manufacture the range accordingly and keep SKUs on hand. How do you manage?
A: It all comes down to the scale and specific knowledge of our product and category managers who have to become experts in their respective ranges.
Q: Crystal-ball gazing?
A: Crystal-ball combined with good experience and being connected with colleagues in OE engineering to design and specify products; get good advice from them and have discussions on expected failure modes and warranty to prepare an inventory plan. Once the part is setup and running, you need close manual management to start forecasting. Eventually you get enough statistical forecast history to develop and update the relevant item.
Q: I understand you have parts covering 241 million vehicles manufactured between 1968 and 2016.
A: Yes, it is mostly for the North American market; globally it would be more. It comes from having systems and data bases looking at the vehicles on the road. How many there are for each country and getting the appropriate stocking ranges in the warehouses to supply to those countries.
Q: Delphi has launched a range of remanufactured injectors in select European countries. Any further development?
A: China is launching Delphi Remanufacturing Injector Project in Yantai City, Shandong Province. The establishment of the Remanufacturing Injector Project marks the further development of Delphi in the Chinese market, providing remanufacturing processing and services to the Delphi powertrain system products, covering three systems of parts on control, audio and safety. Capacity for Phase-1 is about 5000Pcs/year, and now 2 PNs of Reman injectors have been invested into production, which are HRD367 for 28231014 GWM, and HRD366 JMC for R03301D. Delphi always strives to supply competitive products that meet OE quality to the Chinese auto aftermarket and is committed to providing more and better services to support technicians and car owners. Delphi remanufactured parts have been widely used and accepted by the EMEA and America markets.
Q: Is there a need for Delphi to associate with Universities and Research Institutes to understand the requirements of aftermarket and develop products accordingly?
A: Delphi Global takes market research on market and products to understand product needs as a part of the marketing intelligence project, which covers all regions’ requirements on aftermarket, industry, customer and consumer behaviours to make sure Delphi will respond and take quick actions to the market trends and customer needs. Delphi also engages with many universities globally on technical and market development issues.
Q: Like the ‘Clean the tank’ kit, what’s next?
A: We will continually assess the technicians’ needs and develop new tools to support them to better serve their customers.
Q: How do you evaluate products for its life-cycle, to get into the aftermarket? With life-cycle of products coming down how do you plan to optimize inventory? Recalls by OEMs are continuously on the rise. What are the opportunities you see in the aftermarket?
A: For products life-cycle, AP follows PMP process to get into the market. For OEMs, we always strive to be the “first-in-market” to better serve our customers. We have invested in product life cycle-related database and analysis. Delphi always provides aftermarket product and service at OE quality.
Q: You have launched HD3000, that allows technicians to diagnose modern fuel injection system (Common Rail, GDi, EUI and EUP), on a vehicle with a single, affordable tool; any update?
A: The new HD3000 is designed to simplify the diagnosis of faults with current and future-generation diesel and gasoline high pressure fuel systems. The patented equipment allows diagnosis of high pressure fuel system faults across every vehicle category, from petrol light duty to diesel heavy duty, opening new repair opportunities for diesel workshops. It substantially reduces the investment needed to undertake this type of repair, with the reassurance of trusted performance, from one of the leading suppliers of OE-fuel system technologies.
Combining safety, flexibility and very high-pressure capability, it allows technicians to safely set and electronically control any pressure test point of an engine, up to 3000bar, to investigate the full range of pressures and analyse the performance of the fuel injection system.
Comprising the key mechanical and electrical devices required to confirm a high-pressure fault and locate its cause, Delphi’s HD3000 kit incorporates eight dedicated test routines, including the ability to test the pumps capacity under cranking and idle speed, analyse the injector’s back-leak at various pressures and conduct a vehicle HPV leak test. It can also perform a cleaning procedure to remove the lacquering off the IMV, returning it to its original OE specification.
All these can be achieved without changing any ECU parameter, dismantling the fuel injection system, or taking the vehicle out on a road test – saving technicians and workshops valuable time, resulting in faster service turnarounds.
Q: Delphi has demonstrated its two new Hatridge prototype ‘desktop’ injector test solutions, the Sabre Cri Master and Toledo HEUi Master, at Automechanika Frankfurt 2016;any new development?
A: Hartridge’s Sabre CRi Master, a compact Common Rail injector tester and its recently upgraded EUI test solution, the HK1400Pro, are designed to provide workshops a high quality, cost-effective and profitable fuel injection service opportunity.
Further developments planned for 2018 include functionality for Denso i-art testing, MDP (minimum drive pulse), NOP (nozzle opening pressure) and Bosch coding. The new features will be available as retro-fits ensuring that all Sabre owners can upgrade their existing machines. New applications have also been added for Delphi Smart injectors and Cummins XPi to enhance the market coverage for injector testing.
Planned for launch in early 2018, Hartridge’s Toledo HEUi Master is a high precision, high speed repair and diagnostic solution, utilising the same next generation all-makes platform as the Sabre, but designed specifically for testing HEUi systems. Supplied with a wide range of injector test plans and using the highly advanced Magmah software, the Toledo provides an out of the box ready test bench that delivers Hartridge quality at an attractive price.
Q: Your short-term / long-term plans.
A: Our goal is to grow and continually support our customers with high quality products.