Text: Zyed Ahmad Hassan
It is important for dealers and suppliers to review or inspect new vehicle completely before delivery to ensure that the vehicle is perfectly all right, in excellent and satisfactory condition. Customer loves to get their vehicle first time right and of course they expect it to be in an excellent condition. Just like any other car business, systematic and orderly Pre-delivery Inspection is the basis of Customer Satisfaction.
Regardless of the type of vehicle whether new or used, dealers should make it a point to prepare the vehicle in tip top condition. Before delivery to customer, a vehicle must be inspected in the same manner they inspected other new vehicles when they first received them at their dealership.
I am particularly very concern on the quality of pre-delivery vehicle. People still take thing for granted that customers can come back to rectify the defects on their next scheduled maintenance visit. There are also other perceptions among sales people that customers can rectify the defects later because warranty is covered over a period of 3 years or 100,000 km or whatever terms applicable. These are two examples of negative approach and bad practices which must be removed from their dictionary, from their mind and from their belief.
Pre-delivery servicing and inspection on new vehicle is a must. Some companies are very proud to have established quality assurance policies and guidelines and standard PDI procedures for customers satisfaction. Others do not have or just about to have one. Fundamentally, it is always good to plan delivery so that the vehicles are given due check up. If you are too hurry to deliver the vehicle or too excited to take fast delivery, the vehicle may miss out certain inspection steps resulting in sub-standard quality of the finished products.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of fast delivery especially those delivery in shorter time than what you have initially scheduled. Of course, customer will be very excited and thankful for fast delivery but it must come with a quality package. Fast delivery will give customers an exciting experience and that moment of truth will also encourage referrals. Bad quality product and poor PDI will not only inviting wrath from customers but also results in bad impression on the product, the staff and the company.
Most of the time, people talk about quality of PDI. Management and customers may get frustrated when it is not done properly. The worst part is when there is inconsistency in producing result. Although there are SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures on Quality Assurance and PDI, the quality achievement is far below expectation because they are not diligently followed. The SOPs are essentially critical in making sure every delivery is consistent. Consistent deliveries make customers satisfied and delighted.
PDI should be done properly and seriously because it will leave a lasting impression on the mind of customers. Once the good thing is registered in the sub conscious mind of the customer, the customer will become our evangelist and start spreading the good news to other. The PDI team must maintain that consistency in producing quality product. I always belief the PDI team ought to comprise a team of dedicated people, who are creative, inquisitive, meticulous and have some knowledge about the products they are dealing with. They must be willing to spend time rectifying repeated problems and learn past mistakes and correct them. They must also be willing to work at odd hours in getting the job done within prescribed time frame. Sometimes PDI team is forced to meet incredible time frame for delivery so they have to re-organize and reschedule their time accordingly. Treat whatever orders or instruction given by the superior as a challenge and you will enjoy doing your job.
One school of thought says, the PDI team does not necessarily comprise of technical people for as long as they can keep the vehicle presentable and in good condition. There is also a truth in that. On the contrary, I would prefer a PDI team comprising of people who are technically competent and they can be assisted by a couple of general workers. The advantage is that they can understand better customer’s expectation so they can work towards fulfilling that objectives and they can also fix up minor technical and mechanical problems without taxing mechanic’s time at the Service department. If the PDI team is by itself is very competent, we can safe hours of useful mechanics’ time for other major jobs in the workshop. During lull time, these people can be deployed to the service or technical section to assist the others.
Many young companies are lacking of skilled staff, engaging incompetent manager and many of them have poor attitude towards the work itself. I hope this is not true. People without skill can be trained, even though acquiring skill requires investment in time and money, most companies are willing to open up or extend the opportunities because it worth the effort. However, attitude is something that comes from self and from the mind. James Allen said “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. A man literally what he thinks he is; his character reflects his attitudes, thoughts and perceptions. Generally bad attitudes corrupt the mind. The mind that chooses the bad attitude will not able to reject it and it stays until it is replaced.
This explain why some staff feel demoralized or bored doing the same job everyday because they have registered in the mind that they are repeating the same job again and again and they feel hopeless for producing poor quality jobs. On the other hand if they think positive and take a positive approach towards their job, they will make effort to continually making improvement and they will certainly enjoy it. In fact they should feel proud for serving the company and the clients by producing an honest and quality services. Sometimes we cannot be too stubborn to ourselves. We must learn to think about others too. If you are buying a new car ,what cross your mind is probably how those guys at the car company are preparing your car. Am I going to get a shinning metallic car? Are the brakes ok? Wiper working? etc etc. Similarly if you are preparing a car for someone else, for your customer, you must do it to your utmost best so that the customers don’t have a bad feeling about how you are preparing for their cars.
PDI is such a challenging job because the ultimate aim is to produce a high quality finish product that pleases both your customer and your employer. Set your own benchmark. You will only please the customers if you have pleased and satisfied yourself. Use this simple principle, if you are happy with the car you work on, the customer will be happy too. You don’t have to wait for others to point out the defects on the car, if you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes, see through their eyes, and listen through their ears, you are on the right path of producing an excellent vehicle and of making the customers very delighted. You could learn a lot from past mistakes and failures. The experience itself will take one to move forward in greater wisdom and maturity. If one is willing to learn, does an honest job, plants a positive thinking and a positive approach towards the business, PDI can be a rewarding and an enjoyable career.