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Irizar aims for unrivalled support with new service investment

The recent delivery of four new vans is allowing Irizar Asia Pacific’s service and aftersales team to elevate its capabilities to new heights

The Australian bus and coach bodybuilder market is filled with a variety of brands. In January alone, 16 suppliers registered deliveries of bus bodies to local operators. As one of the leading bodybuilders in Australia, having delivered 20 vehicles in January, Irizar Asia Pacific is taking a different approach in its attempt to sit atop the bodybuilder leaderboard.

After ensuring its product is at a high quality, Irizar has put the focus on its approach to aftersales, servicing and maintenance to build its standing as a popular bodybuilder partner for Australia’s bus and coach sector.

“With the continual growth of sales that we’ve seen in the past year, we’ve focused on the service that Irizar provies to customers,” Irizar Asia Pacific aftersales service manager Phillip Chapman told ABC.

“I’ve been in the bus industry forever and I used to run a bus fleet for a long time, so I know what it’s like when you need help and how good it is to have support there.”

Previously, Irizar’s aftersales service and support came courtesy of a team using three servicing vans to reach customers. Through the vans, Irizar staff would complete contracted servicing as well as emergency breakdowns and general service work, including warranty appointments.

Now, the addition of four further servicing vans gives Irizar seven in its fleet and lays the groundwork for more flexibility when it comes to serving customers.

“Not many other brands in the market do this level of service for customers,” Chapman says.

“We do it proactively and give customers real support, while we’re looking to expand our servicing staff further into NSW and to Western Australia too.”

Image: Prime Creative Media

These service vans aren’t your normal type of vehicle. Inside, a workbench is surrounded by shelving that includes an array of tools and spare parts. These accessories range from sets of batteries, mirrors and other parts to minor electrical components. Whether it be tail lights or lights and lenses, the Irizar vehicles come with a wide range of tools and products onboard to help keep buses on the road.

When it comes to servicing, the addition of new vans are helping to overcome the constant challenge of varying locations of its regional customers, which can make getting to individual operators difficult. Irizar’s fleet of seven vans is helping ensure that customers don’t feel isolated when they need help along the way.

“These vans have been set up so that they can work on the road,” Chapman says.

“Irizar Australia managing director Steve Heanes decided to improve our customer support, so we got more vans in and set them up with spare parts so that Irizar technicians can jump start vehicles or help in other ways.

“The idea is that Irizar takes its service capabilities up a level so that our service staff can get out on the roads and be self-sufficient in helping operators.”

The latest four service vans took four months to arrive at Irizar’s new facility in Pakenham, Melbourne, with the Irizar team quickly working to fit them out in their unique fashion. Chapman says the most challenging part of fitting the vans out was the electrical set up, which Irizar service staff had to do themselves.

The vans, which feature solar panels on the roof to charge boost batteries, can now plug straight into a 24V vehicle and jump start it if required. Alongside the power required for workbenches and other tools, the electrical fit out forms a key part of the innovative vans.

With a bolstered fleet, Chapman says the Irizar service and aftersales team can now complete a wide range of requirements for customers. Starting with contracted services, whether it be a minor service every three months or a minor body service once a year, the team can also complete contracted air-conditioning service alongside HVAC partner Hispacold.

Image: Prime Creative Media

“Our Victorian technician will go out to regional customers in the vans four times per year, spending a week with them to go through the body and make sure that everything is cleaned, lubricated and adjusted,” Chapman says.

“Bodies tend to get overlooked by operators – each key part of the body, like the doors, need to remain lubricated and adjusted so that they work effectively.”

These visits in the van also allow Irizar team members to provide vital training to operators, showing them what to keep an eye out for on the Irizar bodies. Once a year, Irizar will complete a major service, mainly for smaller operators who don’t have their own mechanical facilities.

Unlike major operators, these smaller customers tend to store their one or two buses in someone else’s yard, meaning Irizar’s technical help becomes crucial to keep the buses functioning.

Whiel Irizar was already performing these services in its three existing vans, Chapman says the recent arrival of the four new vans make Irizar’s aftersales capabilities faster and more flexible than before.

“The four new vans give us a more mobile fleet,” he says.

“A customer with V/Line buses in Bendigo can ask for help and we can quickly help them and remain flexible around our scheduled service appointments to keep everyone on the road.”

The arrival of the vans is also allowing Irizar to look at expanding its service and aftersales team. Chapman says the current team features a wide range of skills across the bus and coach industry, but it can only improve with the addition of more service vehicles and staff.

The end goal is for Irizar to provide an unrivalled level of service and aftersales care to operators who choose to order Irizar bodies.

“The idea is that Irizar can say to a customer that they can deeply support them after they buy an Irizar body,” Chapman says.

“We can do more than simply supply operators with spare parts – we can come out and fit them on and train drivers and owners on the subtleties of the vehicle.

“Support is key. The flexibility of support Irizar provides is a massive advantage in the market.”

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