Expanding the industry’s largest service parts operation
Brian Dewsnup leads MCI and New Flyer parts business forward
Aftermarket parts are the lifeblood of any successful motorcoach operation, public or private. Brian Dewsnup, president of the combined Motor Coach Industries (MCI) / New Flyer coach and bus parts business, knows this.
“In a parts purchase, maintenance, or coach-down call, availability, speed, accuracy, and value are all number-one in the mind of a customer,” Dewsnup says. “There really is no more important issue in my job than delivering on that promise.”
Best in industry speed, accuracy and value will be Dewsnup’s primary goal as president of the largest coach and bus parts business in North America.
Recently, Dewsnup spoke to BUSRide on the latest news on MCI’s Parts distribution center since he came onboard.
Let’s start with your strategic vision for the parts side of the business.
It’s all about running these businesses with best in class parts availability and 100 percent accuracy. This means a start-to-finish process where the right part gets packaged appropriately with care and shipped in the most efficient manner 100 percent of the time.
Shipment speed is critical in our business. Even with a central distribution center in Louisville, a UPS hub, we still want to get parts closer to our customers’ operations. That’s why we continue to expand parts inventory at our branch parts warehouses in East Brunswick, NJ; Dallas, TX; Los Alamitos and Edmonton in Canada. We’re also operating from recently established satellite parts warehouses within all of MCI’s Sales and Service Centers. A new partnership in Hawaii and a service center in San Francisco will expand our West Coast reach.
We’re making our parts footprint the industry’s best. This takes the right mix of parts at each warehouse through exceptional material planning. Our industry expertise and the investments New Flyer continues to make will help to realize this goal.
What impresses you most about MCI’s parts business?
Public and private operators have historically depended on MCI as their original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which is very gratifying. The business I come from is similar, but MCI is a larger inventory supplier. What MCI does in real time with coaches running cross-country has really impressed me. It’s a 24/7 business, and the chance to make or break a customer relationship can happen at any point in that process. I want to better support our team so they can improve the parts and service we offer.
What are the biggest challenges in this effort and the steps you’re planning to take?
Our product is getting more intelligent every day. Vehicle technology and design innovations keep advancing with time. That’s why our parts and training offerings must be more closely linked than they ever have. To lead the industry, we have to be innovators in both areas. Operators are going to need well-trained, educated professionals who can efficiently use the parts and guidelines we’re providing.
Our goal is to provide training any way operators want it. We provide webinars and 24/7 coursework access that address an enormous range of topics. MCI’s online Learning Management System (LMS) has become a critical part of our business. Today, we’re serving over 5,000 registered users, including technicians and drivers, with 420 courses. That material ranges from general instructions on engine regeneration to focused study on specific repairs in the HVAC and electrical systems of particular coach models.
We’re also looking at training we can do in-person. We’ve had success with our Technical Tune-Up and Academy training events held at our Louisville training center for customer technicians, but we want to better determine if they have an appetite to send technicians to our location, or if we should commit resources to going to our customers live and in person in their maintenance shops.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about these initiatives in 2017. At MCI, we’re not just about building coaches and supplying parts; we’re providing training and maintenance skills for customers. We want to be a partner for the life of the coach.
We haven’t talked yet about the link between MCI’s regional parts representatives and your customer service call centers. What’s happening there?
Customers spend millions of dollars with us. Our service-delivery model lets us serve them in a way that’s best for them. Our parts representatives meet with customers and their shop personnel face-to-face to assist with inventory planning and to manage their deliveries. Our call center can handle parts orders to technical issues. We are always reaching for new heights, like with our new online store.
Are there improvements planned for the MCI Parts Store?
Our online parts presence dates back to 1998, when MCI launched the MCI Online Parts Store. It quickly became the gold standard for online customer service in the motor coach industry, and it still works well enough today especially for many of our transit customers. But we’re now taking it through a system-wide upgrade in hardware and software to enable faster, more detailed options for accessing and ordering parts with better search capabilities. I’m excited about the new partstore.mcicoach.com.
What will the combined MCI / New Flyer operation do for customer service?
Customers are already seeing positive change, and that’s going to continue. A common parts platform is helping us improve on inventory and service-delivery for our North American audience. MCI’s parts supply history alone spans 55 years. I head an incredible team of professionals who know our operators personally. That’s a lot of knowledge and know-how. We’re approaching every improvement we make in service and support with consideration given to our customers’ needs. Ours remains a comprehensive strategy from quick access to aftermarket parts and expert training, to technical assistance, maintenance and repair at our service centers. In each of these areas, we’re developing best practices that keep coaches on the road and repair them much faster. That’s what our job is all about.