A truck that doesn’t work is no good to anyone. Wherever in the world you might be. And in growth markets in particular, the service business is becoming increasingly important. In Turkey, an important trading hub, Bike Güven makes sure everything runs smoothly for her customers.
A day when the phone doesn’t ring once is a perfect day for Bike Güven because it means that everything is going well. The brand new STILL reach truck from Hamburg has got through Turkish customs, and in Kocaeli Province the engineer has finished the overnight repairs to the defective order picker at the local Ford works in time for the morning shift. “My job is a bit like conducting an orchestra – making sure that everyone comes in at the right moment,” says the 30-year old Head of Material Planning and Marketing at STILL ARSER in Istanbul. Sometimes there’s even time for a cup of strong Turkish coffee, although Bike Güven always has her eyes glued to her smartphone.
Impeccable customer service is the top priority. Service business now accounts for more than 40 per cent of KION Group’s revenue, and it ranges from after sales, truck rental and used trucks to fleet management systems. Services are also becoming increasingly important in the emerging markets. Last year, STILL acquired a majority stake in its former exclusive dealer Arser İş Makineleri Servis ve Ticaret A.Ş. – a key strategic step for the KION Group. The sign on the office building in the Ümraniye district of Istanbul now shows the name of STILL ARSER.
Her favourite colleague of all is virtual
When it comes to service, Bike Güven is in her element; she has perfected the system at STILL ARSER. A qualified interpreter from Ankara with a blonde ponytail, she was quick to learn how to meet urgent requests. Since she joined Arser eight years ago, she has worked in new truck sales planning and marketing. From the outset, the phone scarcely stopped ringing. “The salesmen and dealers used to ring us continuously, asking questions such as how quickly can we deliver a two-tonne truck with a four-meter mast or how long will it be until a new battery arrives.”
Much has improved, with new technology now making things much easier for Bike Güven and her customers. Her favourite colleague is virtual and goes by the name of e-care. This is the software program that Bike Güven played a huge role in developing and it provides dealers and customers in Turkey with real-time online updates. If a telescopic forklift has jammed, the customer sends a help request to e-care and the system notifies all the relevant contact people – including Bike Güven. Even at three in the morning, an engineer is sent out to deal with the repairs and the spare parts. If necessary, the department head has to arrange an urgent delivery of a suitable replacement truck. “What I like best about my job is getting up in the morning and not knowing what will happen that day,” she says.
»I think it’s great getting up every morning and not knowing what challenges my customers will throw at me. I then have to find a tailor-made solution for each one of them ...«
Material Planning and Marketing
Expertise: responding rapidly to customer requirements is crucial
Perfection: Bike Güven has optimised order processing at STILL ARSER
Always on the ball: “My job is a bit like being a conductor”
Just living in Istanbul requires a great deal of organisational skill. On the European side, the slim minarets of the Blue Mosque point towards the sky and tourists push past the carpets, gold jewellery and leather goods in the Grand Bazaar. Bike Güven lives on the Asian side, just 20 minute’s drive from the office, but the route to work itself requires careful planning – because there is gridlock on the bridges over the Bosphorus at rush hour in this city of millions.
The importance of personal contact
But an exclusive focus on customer needs and all the most sophisticated organisation are still not enough in the fast-growing Turkish market, which is also a major hub for trade with the Middle East. Little gets done without personal contacts. Recently, a customer in the east of the country complained that his allocated dealer never called in just for a cup of tea and a chat, he always wanted to talk about business. Bike Güven immediately took note and passed the message to the dealer. After all, she has to live up to her name; in Turkish Güven means ‘trust’. “If customers have any doubts, trust is our crucial advantage over the competition,” she says emphatically.
Attractive market with growth profile above GDP.
The KION Group operates in an attractive market that is growing faster than global economic output.
The worldwide market for industrial trucks grew at roughly 1.4 times the rate of the global economy between 1980 and 2013. Industry experts reckon that this pace is set to accelerate slightly over the period up to 2017.
This scenario is being driven by three global mega-trends:
- the industrialisation of the emerging markets,
- the advancing globalisation of world trade and, as a consequence, the increasing transportation of goods around the world,
- the growing fragmentation of supply chains and value chains: just-in-time logistics and purchases from online retailers create demand for the KION Group’s products and services.
A global leader– strong home base ...
Measured in terms of new trucks sold, the KION Group is currently number one in the European market and number two in the market worldwide. And with a presence in more than 100 countries, the company is the world’s biggest specialist provider of materials handling trucks and associated services.
Our strong position in western Europe, where we have a market share of 35 per cent (2013), is the basis for the global expansion of the KION Group. The foundation of our business is stable in this region because of replacement purchases and a strong service business.
After plunging into a deep crisis, Europe’s market for industrial trucks is now recovering. Since 2010 the KION Group has benefited from this trend with a double-digit percentage increase in revenue in Germany and the rest of Europe.
... and well positioned in growth markets.
The KION Group’s leading position in emerging markets such as India, China, South America and eastern Europe means that it is excellently placed to fully exploit the growth opportunities available there. In 2013 the KION Group’s brand companies sold 35 per cent of their new trucks in emerging markets – and this proportion is set to rise sharply.
A case in point is China, which is the world’s largest individual market for the KION Group’s products. The Company has been firmly established here with its offering of development, production and services for more than two decades and is the leading non-domestic supplier. The KION Group is the third-largest player in this market, where it employs some 3,200 people. China is now the Company’s second-biggest market in terms of unit sales (behind only Germany).
Technology leadership drives premium positioning ...
The KION Group is right in the vanguard when it comes to technology and innovation. By spending in excess of €114 million on research and development in 2013, the Company is a leader in its sector.
Over 900 people work at ten research centres in Europe, Asia and the Americas to devise forward-looking solutions; more than a quarter of them are based in China so that they are close to their market. This continuous R&D investment means that clients in all markets and segments can expect to have a fully customised range of trucks and services to choose from.
In 2013 the KION Group launched more than a dozen new trucks and truck families in the market, thereby providing added impetus for 2014, and a number of new products and services are set to be introduced this year as well.
... and customer value.
Customers of the KION Group particularly benefit from the industrial trucks’ good handling capacity and very low running costs throughout their lifecycle.
The cost benefits for customers mean that the KION Group can set prices at a level that enables it to achieve higher margins than its competitors. After all, personnel expenses and the cost of operating a truck over its lifecycle constitute a significant portion of the purchase price, especially in highly developed markets.
The proximity of the KION Group’s brand companies to their customers also ensures a high level of availability for the trucks. Around the world, around 12,900 inhouse and external service engineers work for the KION Group. This business offers considerable potential also outside of Europe: in China, revenue from services has risen substantially in recent years.
Robust integrated business model with high contribution from services.
This provides the basis for the KION Group’s lasting business success. Customer services, truck rentals, used trucks and spare parts together contribute more than 40 per cent of revenue. This business is very resilient to fluctuations in the economic cycle. Moreover, it generates particularly good margins for the KION Group.
There are around 1.2 million KION trucks in use around the globe, forming a broad basis for a strong and integrated service business.
A comprehensive network of more than 1,200 sales and/or service outlets worldwide ensures that the KION Group is never far from its customers. This creates strong customer loyalty, which in turn offers more potential for growth and provides a lasting competitive advantage.
Strong profitability – well prepared for future value creation.
Constantly improving efficiency and profitability is a clear objective for the KION Group. Size and synergies – a combination that makes the KION Group stand head and shoulders above other truck manufacturers.
This involves collaborating on research and development, improving plant structures and fully exploiting the economies of scale created by a worldwide production network. Other areas of focus are the optimal use of shared, cross-brand modules and platforms and the ongoing expansion of the service business.
Highly motivated and qualified employees with proven track record.
International, highly qualified and highly motivated: the KION Group’s more than 22,000 employees, who demonstrate dedication and creativity day in, day out, are both the heart and the backbone of the company.
Their hard work underpins the operational success of the company and ensures a strong financial performance. This was one of the key elements in the successful stock market flotation of the KION Group in June 2013.
The company’s growth strategy is reflected in the structure of the workforce. In 2013, the Group recruited extra staff for its service and sales operations and notably invested in new employees in the emerging markets and growth regions. The KION Group is increasingly hiring local management in all its markets in order to utilise their strong market knowledge and expertise.