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Thread: Ducati Glasgow - Service timescales, apology and explanation

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    Default Ducati Glasgow - Service timescales, apology and explanation

    First and foremost, apologies if you’ve been having timescale issues with our service department.

    As a business, we’ve been dealt a particularly difficult and challenging set of circumstances this year that we could simply not have foreseen and are also crucially not our fault; these have directly affected the speed at which we were able to work on your machine; please allow me to elaborate.

    As already reported widely, Ducati moved their part warehouse in Italy. This is where we get 100% of our parts (fast moving service parts such as belts & oil filters etc, repair parts and accessories). Through some kind issue in Italy, this started in April (as opposed to their original plan of last October) and is still being completed now. This resulted in a dramatically poor supply chain of parts to the dealer network. Parts we were ordering for next day delivery were taking over 2 weeks to arrive – it was impossible and the situation, whilst far better, is still not back to normal. It has had a devastating effect globally and to us has been disastrous.

    In addition, our service centre in Edinburgh has unexpectedly closed down. More accurately, the owner Ian Murray was (unknown to us) in serious financial difficulty and literally set fire to his business! His place has been successfully looking after our east coast customers for the last 7 years. He’s been dealt with by the authorities but there is no way we could possibly have prepared for this outcome. As now the only service point in Scotland for Ducati, we have been inundated with east coast service work that we are simply not geared up for! We didn’t design this new building for that magnitude of demand and we have struggled to cope with this huge influx of unexpected workload. On the face of it, this sounds like a good problem to have but it’s not when we can’t look after our clients in the way we would like, it frustrates us greatly.

    Our busiest months of the year are April through August. In a normal year, not only are we under pressure to retail a huge number of machines but also our clients bring their bikes out from winter storage, we are annually overwhelmed with service work during this 4-month period. Despite starting the year with 5 Ducati technicians, we were booked solid in advance through these months with a waiting time of minimum a month but can reach upwards of 6 weeks.

    But add in the fact we cannot get predicable parts supply in the usual timescales, it has destroyed our ability to forecast and book accurate time in the workshop. Even when we were given delivery dates on parts, this was not being adhered to, so we are left with a situation that is impossible for us (or anyone else for that matter) to manage. We can’t even advance book on the anticipation that a part will arrive, we can only do so when it actually turns up in the dealership. Outside “standard” servicing, if we have to order a part unexpectedly, we’ve genuinely no real clue as to when it will arrive.

    Unexpected jobs during the absolute craziest time of the summer: - we have extremely limited time to allocate to them in the workshop as the diary has been booked solid for weeks. Therefore, we get to it as soon as we have a spare moment in the day. It is not, as some think, that it is not a priority for us. That couldn’t be further from the truth, every customer is a priority but to squeeze in an unexpected job into an already jam-packed workshop diary with an unpredictable parts supply and I’m sure you can see how the pictures plays out for us. On some jobs, we have to order multiple times as we delve deeper into a problem. Each time we fixed issues on a bike, parts were ordered, parts then took longer to arrive than expected and then it’s only on their arrival, we can actually reschedule the work to commence, which can take further days. Unfortunately, we are not in the fortunate position of having a technician available to simply jump jobs and continue on a bike as soon as the parts turn up – I genuinely wish that was the case. Bikes have to be rebooked into the system, so we can free a tech to restart work on it.

    So, you can see from the above that through genuinely no fault of our own, we are in a very difficult position that is extremely difficult to manage. Where we can improve is our customer contact. I already know this and we are working as fast as we can to adapt and update our systems to make this more formal and structured but as yet, our systems are struggling with the level of output we are gearing up for. If you don’t get return calls you think we aren’t thinking about your case. I know this only too well.

    To make things even worse, we had techs off sick unexpectedly and holidays plus one left without warning or working his notice period. These things all make it more and more difficult to adhere to timescales.

    As owner of this business, I’m not sitting here thinking everything is ok, not at all. It would be wrong of me not to describe to you what we are doing to fix these problems: -

    First thing we’ve done is hire 3 new technicians. For the first time since we opened in 2002 we have 6 full time Ducati techs. Admittedly the new guys will take a little time to get up to full speed but by this time next year they should be fine. To facilitate this extra body, I’ve invested more money in another bike lift which can be seen when you look through the workshop window.

    We’ve hired not one but 2 additional parts staff. Iain will advise on the desk while Keith will help process orders as they arrive. We’ve completely gutted and re-shelved the entire parts department. We’ve spent thousand improving the tracking and location process in our stores to facilitate easier parts retrieval. We’ve thinned down the aged stock that was clogging up the shelves and reinvested in much more stock that meets your / our needs. This means we can hopefully turn bikes around far quicker if they need special parts.

    We’re in the process of hiring another service advisor. With the best will in the world, Ross and Dave on the service desk simply don’t have enough hours in the day to answer the phones and deal with the workload so we are adding another body to that team. This will result in emails and calls being answered faster and them being able to ensure that people like you are given more information at a faster rate.

    We’re investing heavily in our systems and websites to make things easier for our customers to keep up with and track the progress of their orders and workshop work.

    We’re looking at the possibility of more service centres, making it easier for our customers to have their bikes maintained closer to home. This is difficult with the widespread nature of our population, but we are back on the case to try and make this happen as quickly as we can.

    What we are NOT doing is sitting doing nothing to fix the problems we are facing, please rest assured of that.

    Thankfully the Ducati parts supply issue is coming to an end. Parts supply should be better than ever very shortly. The new facility is truly amazing and promises great things for our future. If you’re interested, you can click on this link to see some of the details on You Tube.

    None of this is an excuse, merely the reasons behind our timescales in this the busiest part of the year. However, I hope you see that we are working seriously hard to improve waiting times throughout the entire experience.

    I just felt you should know.


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