Podcast Interviews

What is the WABCO Service Partners Program?

Learn about the WABCO Service Partners Program which provides repair shops with access to training and support.

Episode 109: In this episode, we discuss WABCO’s Service Partners Program. Our guest is Michael Lampe, he is the Service Partner Account Manager at ZF Group and has more than 15-years of experience in the automotive aftermarket. 

Easy to Apply: WABCO-NA.com 

Watch the Video

Sponsors of the Show:

Want to buy any of the parts mentioned in this episode?

Visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com/BuyParts.

No VIN or part number? NO PROBLEM with the Diesel Parts App.
Try for free: Diesel Parts

Disclaimer: This content and description may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, The Heavy-Duty Parts Report may receive a small commission.

Complete Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You’re listening to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and this is the show where you get expert advice about the heavy-duty parts you buy and sell, and keep you informed about what’s happening in the industry. WABCO is a premium aftermarket brand and is part of the ZF group aftermarket portfolio. We’ve had representatives from WABCO on the show in the past, and I’m very excited to talk about a program that they have piloted at launch that is called WABCO Service Partners. Now, this is a program that went live in North America in 2020, and we are interviewing the person who set up the program, ran the pilot and whose team now certifies dozens of companies with plans of expanding into every major aftermarket segment across North America. So I was really curious, what is the WABCO Service Partners program? What’s it all about? And I’m really excited to talk to Michael Lampe today about that. Now he is the service partner account manager at ZF group. He’s got more than 15 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket, and he’s the man who has been responsible for rolling this program out in North America. So let’s get Michael on the show. He’s waiting backstage. Michael, welcome very much to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So happy to have you here today. Thanks for coming on the show.

Michael Lampe:

Hello Jamie, thank you for having me.

Jamie Irvine:

So I’d like you to give us an overview of what the WABCO Service Partners program is all about. And then we’ll talk about the details.

Michael Lampe:

The WABCO Service Partner program is a highly skilled network of workshops that we provide for our end users. Those are the fleets, the independent operators, and the drivers. And we do this so that our end-user has a trusted source to receive quality work. These shops that are interested to go into the network will go through an application process and if we select them, we’ll provide the training for the shop and then certify it.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. So repair shops that are part of the independent service channel, is it also like would a dealership with a shop qualify for that or is it just the independent service channel?

Michael Lampe:

Yeah. Anybody can be a WABCO Service Partner. So if they’re throwing away the box they have the potential to be a WABCO Service Partner. We look for our WABCO Service Partners to service the end-user so they would have to be customer-facing.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. That makes sense. So when this program was kind of thought up, usually when something like this is innovated and a company decides to go in a new direction, there’s always a problem they’re trying to solve. So what was the problem that you were really trying to solve when setting up the WABCO Service Partners program?

Michael Lampe:

That’s a good question. We had a lot of different technicians at varied skill levels. So we created a basic online education platform so that everybody has a certain foundational start and a general understanding of our WABCO products. But then once we’ve done that we can go in and do the live trainings and really focus on and tailor those trainings to what the shop specifically wants more education in.

Jamie Irvine:

So really the problem solved was bringing technicians up to a standard of education and technical knowledge so that they would be able to provide a consistent service to the end-user. Do I have that right?

Michael Lampe:

Absolutely. We would have some technicians that are brand new, just starting young apprentices and then we would have master technicians. So ultimately when we wanted to make sure everybody had that same level of understanding. We certify two technicians at each shop and it’s up to the shop to be able to put that technician in and get them up to speed. So we deal with all of them from the novice, who’s just entering the industry all the way to the master technician

Jamie Irvine:

And things are changing so fast in technologies that even people with, like you say, a master technician with years of experience, when they started their careers, everything was mechanical. Now everything is electric. So big, big changes in so much of the technology on trucks. So I can see how that would benefit a shop. And maybe even it would be a good idea to send one of the young techs and one of the older techs to the program so that everybody was on the same page.

Michael Lampe:

Absolutely. You know it’s funny because with these systems changing so rapidly, we find that the old technicians do come out with a lot more understanding. They get the general concepts but the electronics and the equipment changes so rapidly, what they may have learned two or three years ago is completely different than what they are servicing today. So it helps everybody.

Jamie Irvine:

So when I read your bio, I saw that you were part of the pilot program here in North America. Did you learn anything in that pilot program that maybe surprised you a little bit?

Michael Lampe:

Jamie, that a good question. We really recognize the training must be flexible. Our technicians are constantly moving and starting and stopping tasks. So we realized our training needed to adapt to their environment. So what we did was we developed a short 20-minute online module series of those that can be completed at the beginning or the end of a shift. And the intent is that they can be standalone sessions or a series. They can explain whole systems. So by doing this, it allows a lot of flexibility for the courses and the modules and the technicians to be able to work accordingly.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re going to a quick break, we’ll be right back. Would you like to advertise on the Heavy-Duty Parts Report? Head over to heavydutypartsreport.com/contact and fill out the form. Spots are limited and on a first come first serve basis. Before the break, we were talking about how the WABCO Service Partners program came about, things learned during the pilot of the program. Michael, I’d like to know, we talked a little bit about the shops that this program is for, but can you kind of go through the ideal profile of who you’re looking to have joined the program? Like what exactly makes one shop an ideal person that’s yes, this fits the program and maybe another shop wouldn’t fit the program.

Michael Lampe:

Sure. Well, when my team is out in the field, I often ask them if they would personally do business with that shop. If the answer is yes, chances are, they’d be a great partner for us. We have some general qualifiers, like shop size, physical location, basic tooling requirements. But I think at the end of the day, the real test is how skilled are the people, a highly trained tech will be extremely efficient. And as a result, it’ll help to get the vehicle back on the road, ultimately helping our customers uptime.

Jamie Irvine:

And really at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for your ultimate customer, which is of course the fleets and the owner-operators who are running equipment with WABCO products on them. That makes good sense to me. How does becoming a service partner improve their ability to serve that end-user customer?

Michael Lampe:

First and foremost, I think it’s a partnership. ZF provides an exclusive tools within our WABCO Service Partner program to help them be more successful with our products. I think one of the main benefits is the service partner portal. This portal is a tool that’s available only to our service partners and it’s a central hub for the maintenance manuals training and the expedited warranty process that they have complete access over. We also provide tools for our end customers, end-users so that they can jump on our website and locate that network through our advanced location finder. This is a great tool because we’re linking both the end-user with our service partners and it’s a mutually beneficial tool for both of those people.

Jamie Irvine:

So I was, you know, I was going to ask you next about internally, but you touched on something because I used to do warranties. And I know what it’s like when you are responsible for processing warranties and you’re dealing with a lot of different manufacturers that are supplying you, maybe through their distribution channel, there’s different criteria for each warranty. So to be able to be part of this program and expedite that process, that’s going to have an impact on the shop immediately.

Michael Lampe:

Absolutely. The warranty process has always been a very easy process with WABCO. You would call in somebody, we would have a team of customer service representatives who would answer that warranty call. They would ask general questions, fill out shop requirements, and basically do quite a bit of data management on the top end of that call. Our warranty process for our service partners takes all of that away, and it allows the warranty to happen quicker, more efficiently. The service partner has pre-filled information already in that document. So they’re really getting to the meat and potatoes of what the warranty is all about. There’s no more putting in information, identifying your shop. It goes straight to the problem or the maintenance request. We get down to the codes and then we’re able to process and help that customer right away.

Jamie Irvine:

You mentioned the word uptime earlier in our conversation, and that is so important for fleets, but it’s important for repair shops to manage their time because every bit of time spent on something that isn’t directly related to repairing vehicles is dollars out of their pocket. So time is money for repair shops as well. So anything that can be done to expedite that is going to definitely help them with their bottom line. What other internal things does being a WABCO Service Partner do to kind of benefit the repair shops ability to run their shop, to make more money? I’d like to hear about some of those internal things, how this program helps that repair shop.

Michael Lampe:

Well we talk about certifying a service partner and that comes with the basic level of training, but training is the biggest advantage of our service partners. Because they’re partnered with us we give them a constant avenue for getting additional training information. As new courses come available, we provide those courses through our portal. And with that, they’re able to go to the portal and take those new training. So with training, it helps them diagnose service repairs quicker and more efficiently. As a result, the shop is able to move more vehicles in and out of the bay and the company is more successful. So as the complexity of our vehicles grows, we’re able to provide that training through this platform.

Jamie Irvine:

And, you know, I used to sell parts as a sales account manager. So I did a lot of work as a distributor of your product. And I would work as an intermediate between you and the manufacturer and the repair shop or the fleet’s repair shop. And I know that sometimes something new would come out and I would right away ask my, my representative from the manufacturer to come to our area and to work with our customers. But they get that request from everyone. So it could take a year or sometimes 18 months for that company to really get around to everyone. So with this portal, and you’re part of the program as a repair shop, you’re getting that information right away as soon as it comes out. That is a big benefit, that’s actually a much bigger benefit than maybe people would realize on the surface.

Michael Lampe:

It’s a huge benefit. And it’s one way that we can immediately prescribe a course to everybody who’s within that network. And then that way they all have access to it as soon as we have access to it. So we work really hard with WABCO Academy and they’ll provide training the minute that that product is released. And then we can get that training out.

Jamie Irvine:

The interesting thing about training too is that when you’re teaching someone something you’re learning as well, because first of all, you learn right away if your training is good enough and it’s helping them. But getting that feedback from these shops must be incredibly important to developing ongoing training and upgrading the quality of the training as time goes on.

Michael Lampe:

We mentioned earlier about the pilot. I often think that it’s always a pilot for us because we’re constantly taking the advice of the customer and the end-user, and then trying to better our program. So every time we have a conversation with a WABCO Service Partner, even a technician out in the field, we’re constantly trying to tailor our services and our trainings that really benefit them.

Jamie Irvine:

Continuous improvement is the name of the game. We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Diesel Parts is a cross-reference and parts lookup tool that makes it easier to identify heavy-duty parts than ever before. Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. We’re back from our break. And before the break, we were talking about how the WABCO Service Partners program really benefits not only the fleet but also the repair shop that’s using the program, that’s part of the program. Michael. I saw that you’ve got some big plans for growth in the future. Usually, things that are working well are growing and you’ve gone from pilot to launching the program and now you’re into that phase where you’re really trying to expand it. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth within this program?

Michael Lampe:

Well, that’s an interesting question, Jamie. We right now deal with over 2000 shops who do warranty work for us, many of those shops are highly qualified shops that we would love to pull it into our network. So what we’re doing is we’re reaching out to each and every one of those shops and inviting them to be a part of this, it’s a partnership, but we’re obviously giving them and providing them the training that they can use to be able to be more efficient. But we’re also providing to our end users, a larger network where we can grow, and we can satisfy that demand across the country.

Jamie Irvine:

That makes sense. You already had some relationships strategically placed around North America for warranty work, you’re going to get those people to join the program. What if there’s someone who’s listening today who feels that they would benefit from this program? Can you walk us through what the process is of applying to be part of it and eventually becoming part of the WABCO Service Partner program?

Michael Lampe:

Certainly, Jamie, the application is very easy. You just go to the WABCO North America website, that’s WABCO- NA.com and then click on the aftermarket support. And there you’ll see, apply to be a service partner. That’s where everybody can go click the application, and it’s less than a 10-minute application. So it’s quick and easy. And that information will get straight to our department.

Jamie Irvine:

And if you’re rolling down the highway right now, maybe you’re listening on TNC radio, or you’re listening on your podcast player. Don’t worry, links will be in the show notes that we’ll talk about at the end of the episode. So someone goes through that 10-minute application process, and then what, what happens? Just walk us through the steps. I’m kind of interested to hear that part of it.

Michael Lampe:

Certainly, basically, our team will take a look at that workshop and if they meet those general requirements that we spoke about earlier, somebody will reach out to that shop and welcome them into the next phase. It is a partnership so we ask that our workshops complete terms and agreements at which point we’ll then put two technicians from that facility into our WABCO Academy, get them started on the training. Typically that’ll take about 90 days and then there will be a live event after that, or we can actually tailor our training towards that shop’s needs.

Jamie Irvine:

That’s awesome. So easy to apply, a very quick process in the grand scheme of things to get up and running with the program and you can start to benefit right away. Is that F Z or, sorry, I’m Canadian. I always say Zed because that’s the way I was raised. How do you say it again? Z right. It’s funny. You know, we’re not that far apart and yet it’s like, we’re speaking a different language sometimes. Okay. So your company has made the WABCO Service Partner program a priority, obviously. What does that say about the company in general?

Michael Lampe:

We recognize that with high-quality products, we also need to have high-quality service, right? So it’s important no matter who, they have that knowledge and expertise to competently install, service, and support those great products. So obviously it is our goal, make sure that wherever the customer goes, they have high quality, both in the products and the service that they enjoy.

Jamie Irvine:

That is so important to really provide end-to-end support to your customers. And as a manufacturer, you’re in a different position than you’ve ever been before. There’s so much vertical integration on the truck side. There is all this digital technology that is changing the game of how we do business in heavy-duty. So to me, when I listened to what you’re talking about with this program, and I look at that, I see a company who is really dedicated to the fleet, to the owner-operator to the person who’s moving goods around, whether they’re medical supplies or food or energy or clothing like the underpinning of society. And that is so important that we support the trucking industry. If COVID has taught us anything, is that we are so reliant on some very, very key sectors and trucking is one of them.

Michael Lampe:

I couldn’t agree with you more. It is an ever-changing landscape. We’re learning things new everyday products that come out are products we never thought we’d see, and we’re excited to have. So a lot of great changes in our industry. And it’s a pleasure to be a part of.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And we’ve been speaking with Michael Lampe, who is the service partner account manager ZF Group (Z or Zed F depending on what part of North America you’re from.) And to learn more, you can go over to WABCO-NA.com and click on the aftermarket support tab to learn more about this WABCO Service Partner program. Now, just to note, if you go to the show notes and just click the link, I’ve made it so that it automatically goes through right to that page. But if you’re going to search it on Google then you’ve got to do that one extra step of clicking on the aftermarket support tab. Michael, thank you so much for being on the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I really appreciate it.

Michael Lampe:

Thank you Jamie for having me have a nice day.

Jamie Irvine:

Thank you so much for tuning into this week’s episode of the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And I’d just like to remind everyone to focus on cost per mile. Let’s keep those trucks and trailers rolling.

Share this:
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Related:

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SHOW

Receive a weekly email with a link to the latest episode.

North America’s largest most trusted independent provider of parts and service.

Find Heavy-Duty Truck Parts Fast. VIN decoder included.

Do you need to buy a diagnostic tool?
Use code HDPR at checkout for a discount.

Save time and money by searching for inventory from around North America in one place and best of all it’s easy to use and FREE

Search