By Sharad Matade
Nissan has opened its third regional parts distribution centre in Pune to strengthen its after sales service and to cater to its dealers in Western India. Located at Chakan, the Pune parts distribution centre, built investing Rs 200 million, will cover Nissan’s 35 dealerships in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory of Daman & Diu. Nissan has plans to open such a centre in the North Eastern region also.
With the Pune distribution centre, the company hopes to reduce delivery time of spare parts to the dealers in the western region. They were being serviced by the company’s Chennai parts distribution centre. “Earlier it used to take seven to eight days to supply spare parts from our Chennai centre to the dealers located in the western region. Now from the Pune parts distribution centre, we can deliver parts to them within three days. The centre will help us also to be nearer to our customers,” Arun Malhotra, Managing Director, Nissan Motor India, told AutoParts Asia.
“Nissan is a customer-centric organization and we are focused on providing the best after-sales experience to our customers. We have brought the best global customer service practices to India, and we are continuing to invest with our new parts distribution centre in Pune for that. We are taking many inputs from our global companies and trying to implement them in India. The Pune centre will cater to only its dealers and not to the aftermarket”, he said.
The new facility in Pune is built over a 60,278 sq. feet area and will employ 70 people. “Today, this centre may seem bigger to our current requirements, but we have built it up considering the need for the next five to ten years. When we have to increase the number of dealers, such preparations will give us an edge,” Malhotra said. The centre has two parts. The primary location gives efficiency for pickers and reduces movement. The second part will replenish the primary location according to the requirements.
Building Customer Confidence
Nissan, being one of the late entrants in the Indian market, along with focusing on sales numbers, is keen to build its customers’confidence. “When you are a late entrant in the market, you need to build the customers’ reassurance. Even for entry level cars, people look for reassurance. The idea is to come closer to our customers to build confidence,” he said.
Apart from the performance of the car, customers have other expectations. “Today customers not only look for vehicle performance or parts quality, but also for peace of mind. For me, that is what is important. Production and sales have to increase. But we also need to focus on basic enablers like customer satisfaction, easy and speedy servicing, and cost of repairing and maintenance,” Malhotra said.
Logistically also regional spare parts distribution centres help the company make the spare parts business cost-effective. Explaining the importance of a spare parts distribution centre, Malhotra said, “for the long distance deliveries, you will have to make a truck-load. But when you have a regional centre, you can reduce response time drastically and send parts in smaller vehicles.”
Dealers also will benefit from the regional part distribution centres as their inventory levels will come down and make easier the management of working capital. Malhotra said with the new centre, the dealers who used to keep two months’ inventory, need now to keep only one month’s in places closer to Pune.
Nissan already has two parts distribution centres in Chennai and Gurgaon. In May 2014, Nissan opened its new after-sales parts distribution centre at the Indospace SKCL Industrial Park in Sriperumbudur, Chennai. The Chennai parts distribution centre is spread over an extensive 4.8 lakh sq. feet area. The second parts distribution centre in Luhari, Gurgaon, Haryana, built over an 97,500 sq. feet area, covers Delhi and the National Capital Region, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Gurgaon centre will help reduce the delivery lead time of parts to Nissan customers by about nine days. “We are probably the only OE in India that has opened three back to back warehouses in three years,” Sanjeev Aggarwal, Vice President, After Sales, Nissan Motor India, said.
Today Nissan has 153 service workshops, from around 90 service workshops two years ago, and 32 mobile service vans to cover the growing range of models. The company has also tied up with the MY TVS for eight Nissan Authorised Service Points (NASP), where Nissan service points are not available, in Tamil Nadu, in addition to its own dealer network of 23 outlets, to improve customer access to car service. “After focusing on big cities, we are now moving to the tier II and III cities in the country and for that we are exploring innovative business models to enhance customer’s experience,” Aggarwal said. The services offered will include genuine parts availability, consumable service parts replacement (such as oil filters and brake pads), and trained staff providing expert service. Nissan and MyTVS have plans to expand NASPs to cover other locations throughout India, he said. Nissan has also improved its customer service index to 842 points (out of 1000) in June 2016 from 725 points in FY 2014. “We are already moving to delight level,” Aggarwal said.
The company’s sales have been growing by 55percent, 126percent and 111percent in June, July and August, respectively, compared to a year ago period. In August, Nissan also increased its ranking to the second place in the annual J.D. Power 2016 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, with a score of 831 out of the 1000 point scale. In 2015, the company was ranked third.
The growing business of multi-brand service centres, which are considered to be cheaper, does not worry the company. According to a survey, the number of people coming to authorised service centres, even after the warranty period, is increasing.