If you want to keep your company future-proof and attractive, you have to keep up with digitalisation and automation. Koen Lambrechts, third generation and current co-owner of the family business Eric Banden, is more than aware of this. His auto repair shop is a well-established and strong local player in the Hasselt region.
How do you try to be and remain attractive to customers?
Koen: “Our ambition is to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for everything having to do with the maintenance of your car. There are several ways to achieve your vision. We used to be only a tyre centre, but today, we want to relieve our customers as much as possible and, above all, ensure their safety on the road and in their cars.”
What do you mean by that exactly?
Koen: “We offer our customers a ‘one-hour’ service, which means that customers who made an appointment for a tyre change can get safely back on the road within an hour. Thanks to this quick service and the expertise of our technicians, we can differentiate ourselves in the hyper-competitive market of big car dealerships. Besides these things, comfort also plays a very important role in our strategy. A pleasant waiting room and a new workshop enhance our positive appearance and employer branding, both towards customers and potential employees.”
The automotive sector also has to deal with the ‘war for talent’. What are your strengths in recruiting and retaining new talent?
Koen: “Indeed, it’s getting harder and harder to find technical professionals and keep them on board. Our business also has peak and off-peak periods, e.g. from winter to summer (and vice versa) when there are a lot of tyre changes. During these off-peak periods, you can’t just make most of your employees temporarily unemployed. On top of this, changing tyres and repairing cars is a hard job that should not be underestimated. That’s why we try to let our employees do their jobs as ergonomically as possible. For example, by using a machine that fully automatically dismounts a tyre which significantly reduces the manual labour of our employees.”
How do you process all the data and administration that comes with car maintenance?
Koen: “We currently use several individual software for our accounting, appointment application and storage of customer data (type of car, maintenance history...). The big challenge lies in integrating those freestanding applications, despite their complexity, into a single suite. And that’s how BDO got into the picture. Their experts guided us with the implementation of a ‘Robotic Process Automation’ (RPA) to simplify and automate processes. The goal is to automate as many manual and repetitive tasks of our employees as possible. By doing this, they get more time to focus on the client’s needs and service and have the chance to proactively think with them. This will make us even more attractive and competitive in the market.”
Curious about how your organisation can function more efficiently and client-focused thanks to digitalisation and RPAs? Don’t hesitate to contact Walter Vanherle, Partner at BDO Digital.