Is it possible for a component supplier to provide a 17 million-square-kilometer country with adequate aftermarket support coverage? Vsevolod Gavrilov, head of Volvo Penta Russia, talks about how his company is making it work.
For Volvo Penta, the Russian market has grown or held steady over the past decade – even in the years since the global recession. But while engines are selling well there, the big story is the aftermarket. In the Industrial segment, there are few Russian-based OEMs for Volvo Penta to sell to, but with hundreds of Volvo Penta-powered gensets and machines operating across the country, the aftermarket and customer service account for more than half of the Russian business.
But in a country as vast as Russia, providing adequate aftermarket coverage can present a challenge. Most of the population of Russia resides in the western part of the country, but Volvo Penta powers machines that work in oil & gas and mining in the most remote locations of Siberia and the Far East. Yet, Volvo Penta is ably handling end users’ needs, from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok.
With head offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Volvo Penta Russia has an extensive 18-year-old network of 30 dealers across the country – as well as a budding partnership with Ferronordic, Russia’s Volvo Construction Equipment dealer. Around the world, Volvo Penta is utilizing the Volvo Group’s existing dealer network, and Russia is no exception. “Why not use our diversity in a positive way?” Vsevolod Gavrilov, head of Volvo Penta Russia, says. “We have the same values and the same synergies. We can find ways to develop our businesses together.”
Over the next few years, Volvo Penta Russia’s focus won’t be on recruiting any new dealers but rather on integrating more fully with Ferronordic and strengthening its existing network with comprehensive training. “In such an enormous country, it’s impossible to have a presence in every village and town where our machines are operating,” Gavrilov says. “But we can still find ways to make sure our customers don’t feel alone. Training is going to be the key to growth in Russia. One of Volvo’s core values is quality; greater knowledge and competence will lead to higher quality.”
New dealer training based in the Russian headquarters will teach dealers about key account management, value-based sales, technical support, front office skills and customer focus – all of which will help Volvo Penta Russia in its bid to sell total solutions, rather than just engines.
“Because of the importance of the aftermarket in the Russian business, we believe a customer-focused offer is the future,” Gavrilov says. “By concentrating on total solutions, we can help customers achieve lower operating costs and better uptime. Creating a closer partnership can help them increase their overall efficiency. But first we need to make sure our dealers have the competence necessary to sell to big customers and manage complex business deals.”
“Russia is the first market in our region to really grasp the total-solution concept,” says Romulus Grosu, director of aftermarket sales and customer support for Region Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific (EM&APAC). “Russia is quickly becoming our benchmark for aftermarket solutions, as most of our global OEMs – like Sandvik, Konecranes and Cargotec – have machines working there.”
Another piece of the aftermarket puzzle is spare parts. For key customers, Volvo Penta has installed an ordering system that ensures parts are delivered quickly and efficiently. Customers can check which parts are available online before placing their orders. Then parts are shipped directly to the customer from the warehouse, rather than going first to the dealer. “Today, Volvo is widely known for its excellent parts availability in Russia,” Gavrilov says.
“Volvo Penta’s brand perception is strong in Russia, so expectations for our product and customer service are high. It’s important for us to maintain an excellent reputation in the market by delivering on our promises,” Grosu says. “And that’s what we’re doing, every day.”