In anything you want to do, just know is like a baby who comes to this world completely knowing nothing but over time starts learning small by small through mistakes. So don’t fear to make mistakes but make sure you improve from the blunders you make.”
When equipment or your car breaks down, everything from your productivity to your bottom line is disrupted. Your team needs a quick and effective solution. Then the difficult question arises; should you try for a repair, or replace the asset outright?
Replacing equipment is the larger investment, so many technicians choose to repair the equipment instead of replacing it. But the costs that goes along with frequent breakdowns, lower productivity, defective output, rising labour costs, and unmet production schedules; can sometimes be greater than the cost of replacing the equipment outright.
Leaving your decisions to guesswork can be a costly and dangerous approach. If you are not using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) effectively, you will be forced to make decisions reactively, and as soon as something breaks down, you will need to make a quick decision on what to do. With productivity plummeting, your decision will likely be made from an emotional standpoint, rather than solid data to support your decision.
To avoid gambling with your car as well risking your life, CEO Africa Magazine was fortunate to get one on one interview with Mr. Mark Okumu an auto motor expert for a long time and also the Chief Executive Officer of Haji Motors. It is out of this interview for the first time that I learned car tires do expire at least after 3 years from the day of manufacturing!! Did you know this? Below is part of the interview.
- Haji Motors, what makes it different from other similar garages?
Haji motors is a motor repair centre, incorporated in Kenya in the year 2002 and upto now we are still in business; thanks to our quality services, trust and time delivery that over time has won the trust and loyalty of many customers.
We started at city centre, kijabe streets then we moved here a long Mombasa Road in 2004. We specialise in the service and repair of entire fleets and do this on a regular basis for a number of corporate organisations and individuals.
- Apart from accident repair and services offered by the company. Are there other sorts done by the syndicate?
Yes. We have different sections of our expertise who deal with different needs of our clients. For instance, we have painting department who specializes in car painting, AC, tailors who deals with car interior designs: making new seats and repair, cushioning, ceiling, doors, dashboard among others.
Furthermore, we also sell new spare parts for our clients depending with their needs. Majorly we import our spare parts from the manufacturers to ensure our clients gets the best quality spare parts as well to avoid counter feit.
We also have a car rescue and towing 24 hours in a week services at a fee for clients outside Nairobi but within Nairobi we give the service free of charge.
- Soon a client brings in a car to be serviced, what procedure does it take before admitting the car and how long does it take to repair a single car?
It is important to note that Haji Motors only deals with premier or high end vehicles and also we do not deal with matatus and buses. So as long as your car falls under that category, we will diagnose the problem and repair where necessary.
We do not have fixed time to repair a car because each car comes with its own complications. Having said that, depending with the nature of repair or service the car needs, we can take minimum of two hours to maximum of a week, two, a month or more depending with the service needed. In short, each case is handled with different timeline.
- Auto care needs continuous learning because each dawn, a new model of vehicles are released to the market. How do you equip yourself as well your staff well updated with each entrant as fast possible to remain customer’s best choice?
In this business, learning never stops. We have a program where we train and equip our technical team in a year basis on the new technologies and breeds of cars that have been released into the market.
Also we regularly update our systems to be upto date like electronics, diagnosis system is currently upto date(2019). This includes accidents.
So for us, we are always on track to handle any problem concerning high end vehicle.
- Who qualifies to get their car repaired or serviced at the Haji Motors? And is there any membership subscription?
They is no membership subscription. Anyone with premier car or high end car, can just work in here and get their car repaired or serviced.
We welcome anybody who seeks our services including government intuitions, corporates, individuals, groups etc.
- In every industry, safety is key to the success of the business. Kindly take us through safety measures that has been put in place.
We have subscribed and satisfied by various safety institutions in Kenya like NEEMA. Safety for our employees, clients and cars is key to us. We have quality and safest modern technology equipment that we use to repair cars in our company as you have seen while touring around. This does not only ensure that our work gets well done, but also that our employees operating the machines are well taken care of.
Also around the premises we have CCTV cameras well installed in different strategic places to ensure the security around supported by our guards.
- Government recently announced that is going to barn importation of second hand spare parts. This will directly or indirectly affect your business. What measure have you put in place to deal with such situations?
I do not think even those spare parts were being used by anybody. Those making noises I think they received a wrong information. For us, we only deal with brand spare parts imported directly from the manufacturers.
In short, the announcement will not affect us in anyway. The problem we have though not a big issue as for now, is the port delay to clear goods.
- Technology is growing so fast and now you can print almost anything to everything using 3D printing. This obvious is going to change how things work in the industry. What is your projection about this technology?
If you want to remain in any business, you have to embrace technology. 3D technology is a good move but as for now, I still believe in working with the tradition method but when time comes, we will know how to move.
- Counterfeit products/spare parts is one of the causes that many vehicles do not perform as expected as well cause of accidents. How do you ensure that spare parts you purchase and fix to vehicles at your garage are of high and accepted standards?
It is simple. We always buy everything we use here from the manufacturers and their main dealer shops; mainly in Dubai and South Africa. Also this translate to our cost of spare parts which is slightly cheaper compared to others who import and sale similar spare parts in the country. That way, we have ensured stability, durability and safety to both the cars we handle here and those using it.
- What are the main challenges facing the company?
The main challenge is the delay of spare parts we experience at the entry point while importing. I think that is the main challenge as per now.
- What is Haji’s Motors competitive edge that distinguish it from other competing companies that offers similar services?
We are majorly on repair, maintenance and in most cases our technicians are more competent compared to others. Sometimes also those competitors and dealers bring their vehicles here for repair.
We endeavor to let you know what is happening to your vehicle at all times by ensuring we have walked you through every single action your car will go through while it is with us. We are happy to answer your questions about any technical details you don’t understand.
We also work on all Japanese and European vehicle models and have gained great experience working on these types of cars before with happy clients and exceptional results as well offering advice on how best to pursue your auto. We will make your life as easy as possible by ensuring that we maintain our prequalified status with most insurance companies to fix any cars that are engaged in an accident. As an added bonus, we can organise car hire services claim.
We do our work professionally with no short cuts or guess works.
- When a car gets involved in an accident and brought to Haji Motors, who is going to pay for the repair?
It depends. We work with almost all liquid insurance companies who can pay if the car involved in the accident is insured with them. Recently we open to all insurance institutions who do not even have comprehensive insurance cover after realizing they own more vehicles than those who have but their cars get accidents almost every day.
Also some clients pay cash themselves or through some arrangement.
- Some vehicles brought in might be beyond repair. How do you dispose such wreckage?
We usually do not take such vehicle. We just advice the clients to take them directly to their insurance disposal area or safe custody in order to ensure the compound remains clean.
- Any other branch in the country and what is the future of Haji Motors?
Currently we are just concentrating here in Nairobi but we still have clients outside Nairobi; like in Eldoret, Kisumu,Nakuru and other places. In case of anything, we usually arrange with them at a small fee to go and pick the car, or they can bring here themselves if possible.
Haji Motors future is bright and promising. That’s what I can say for now.
- In your own opinion, is Africa ready for electric vehicles? And how prepared is your company to handle such vehicle?
I cannot say they are ready or not because am aware that we already have some in the country. It is just a matter of wait and see.
I believe we are always ready to handle them if we receive any.
- As an expert, what advice can you give to drivers as well car owners to ensure their cars stays in good shape for a longer period?
A well-kept, handles and maintained vehicle, will always serve you best. Good driving, well serviced and maintained car is critical. No short cuts.