Gerardo Varela
General Manager of ZF Services
ZF Services
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View from the Top

E-commerce to Cut the Middlemen, Improve Aftermarket

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 11:22

Q: What strategies is ZF Services implementing to reach end consumers directly through e-commerce?
A: ZF Services works to strengthen its B2B business model to offer clients access to the company’s CRM system for interactive consults and transactions while also developing a B2C business model that integrates retailers, shops, installers and end users to ease every digital process from a simple product enquiry to a direct purchase. ZF Services is also developing an app that will help us remain in contact with our end users and to reward them for their loyalty by offering technical and product support. Users can collect and redeem ZF points for attractive prices through this bonus program.
Q: How important is digitalization in the aftermarket and how is this trend impacting ZF's marketing and sales strategies?
A: Digitalization has become critical for the aftermarket. We live in a digital world and need to remain aligned to the latest technologies to design, develop and manufacture our products and to sell them across the different markets in which we are present. Digitalization also supports greater productivity and efficiency as it bridges the gap between the manufacturer and the end user. This process is changing the way aftermarket products are promoted and sold to the benefit of consumers.
Q: How do you expect e-commerce will impact the diversity of quality levels in the Mexican aftermarket?
A: I expect e-commerce to have a strong impact in the aftermarket. It will improve everything from the quality of a product to its delivery process. Middlemen located between the component manufacturer and the end user will disappear and prices will be reduced and the aftermarket will move away from supplying spare parts and toward complete solutions.
Q: How has the Mexican aftermarket reacted to ZF Services’ corner modules?
A: This concept offers many advantages to the entire automotive component distribution chain. A corner module kit offers key safety parts, including brake components, shock absorbers and steering and suspension parts to deliver a complete solution to consumers looking to keep their vehicles in excellent shape. The idea is that component distributors can access a complete, one-stop solution through only one vendor.
Q: How has ZF Services’ merger with TRW impacted the company’s position as an innovator in the aftermarket segment?
A: Several of the projects that have been created from this merger have taken advantage of synergies between both companies to increase productivity, reduce duplications and improve business processes to become faster and more competitive. This merger has also resulted in the strengthening of the BOGE and TRW brands.
Q: What are ZF Services’ plans regarding the implementation of a specialized shop in Mexico?
A: ZF Services is developing a project to remanufacture ZF Automatic Transmissions for various bus brands such as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Scania and MAN Truck & Bus. This project will enable ZF Services to support warranties and satisfy the expectations of end users. ZF Services’ Remanufacturing (Reman) Workshop will be located in Queretaro.
Q: What are your growth projections for 2018 in terms of sales and revenue?
A: We expect to grow sales by 10 percent compared to 2017. We had a rough start to the year due to the political and economic uncertainty related to the NAFTA renegotiations and Mexico’s federal elections. But we have a positive market outlook for 2H18, both for our target markets and for the Mexican economy in general. Mexico has reached a level of competitiveness that will continue to attract FDI to the country’s automotive industry.