For motorists the journey that parts fitted to their cars will have taken to get to them is pretty unfathomable. For the technicians, factors and parts manufacturers that make up the supply chain, however, it’s everything.
Regular readers will have seen CAT’s profile of remanufacturing business Autoelectro in our March edition. We follow the chain from them, to one of the company’s most loyal customers, Bradford-based factoring business Maxwize Motor Spares, to one of their most loyal customers, MG specialist Maxsted and Sons.
Maxwize owner Mazer Iqbal has been in the motor trade since he was 15, progressing through the ranks at his brother’s shop in nearby Leeds. Now in charge of the Bradford site of Maxwize Motor Spares, Iqbal was faced with an opportunity to move to a bigger premises closer to the centre of the town: “Where we were before we were falling over each other, we were growing out of it too quickly.”
The move wouldn’t come cheap, however. In fact all in it would cost over half a million pounds, split between buying the site and renovating the derelict building which stood upon it. “We took this shop as bare walls, we needed to do the floors and everything. It was high development. The place was shattered and run down. It was a big investment, but it has paid off.”
A year and a half after signing the papers, Maxwize opened its new doors to the public. Since then, the business focus has been on building up relationships. “I believe it’s about how you deal with your customers,” says Manager John Gallagher. “You know you’ll be manic during some hours, while people get their first jobs going. It’ll then go quiet as people get on with those jobs and then the phones will start ringing again. You need to get those phones answered and then get the parts out.”
The site is big enough to also allow Maxwize to do some retailing. Its prime location means that customers can quite often drop by from the main road. The team’s friendly reputation means that about 40 percent of its retail customers are women.
Iqbal says that reputation is well deserved, and it’s meant that the business now has a core group of loyal customers: “We’ve got garages who will only use us, who will ring us 15-20 times a day. Once they know they’re getting a good price and a good service they won’t go anywhere else.”
One of those customers is Maxsted and Sons, an MG specialist based at the lower end of the town. Surrounded by competing businesses and with a wide range of local factors to choose from, owner Nick says he gets almost all his parts from Maxwize. “We have a great relationship with them. We get a top-notch service, and we’re mates with a lot of the people there. It’s little things like there might be three versions of the same part. They’ll send all three so we can see which one to use, no qualms. Other motor factors won’t do that.
“We also know that if they have it in stock, it’ll be here in ten minutes. He won’t hang around.”
The garage has stood for 40 years, and takes on a variety of work including track car preparation. Nick admits that times are hard, but it’s thanks to the support of other local businesses like Maxwize that he’s able to take on more work.
From the moment the day starts all aspects of the supply chain need to work together. From the technician who places an order for a new alternator, to Iqbal at Maxwize who will dispatch the part fast, all the way up to Tony Bhogal and his team at Autoelectro who need to make sure the factor is stocked. It’s a dance that garage, factor and supplier all have to pull off so smoothly that the motorist has no idea it is happening at all.