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Wolfoil Corporation

Champion Service Point: A case study from The Netherlands

Since early 2018, the brand new garage concept has been a welcome change to the way garages in the Netherlands supply oil to their customers. Read on to discover their stories.

Garage management

A network of opportunity: Champion Service Point

Since early 2018, this innovative concept has been a welcome change to the way garages in the Netherlands supply oil to their customers. It’s all thanks to a three-sided partnership between Champion, independent garages, and national distributor of The Netherlands Brezan Automaterialen, a member of the PartsPoint Group.

It works because of investment and commitment to the partnership from all sides, with Champion and Brezan Automaterialen at the base, supplying and supporting the garage on top. “The garage and its customers come out on top with this model,” explains Stefan Viguurs from Champion, who first brought the Champion Service Point concept to life. “These independent specialists are professionals in their field, with the specialist support of the country’s leading distribution chain, supplying Champion oils and lubes in the fastest and most efficient way possible: just-in-time delivery.”

Just-In-Time Delivery: the engine of efficiency

Every garage owner knows that planning is everything. “If you have a car scheduled in for a service, you need the whole kit, everything that car will require for service, parts, oils, all of it,” says Stefan. “If you don’t have all that you need together at the right time, you can’t make a full service, which can mean ‘domino disappointment’: you let down the customer who was planned in, their car is parked in the garage, maybe holding up the bridge waiting for a part that was ordered. And that means a knock-on effect on the queue of jobs waiting for maintenance. Your whole planning can be affected, the domino knocks down the whole line and you have a queue of disappointed customers.”

Around the clock, across the country, a chain of around 370 delivery drivers is constantly on the move between Brezan Automaterialen’s 136 locations and its customers. Like an artery supplying oxygen, it carries vital orders to garages in the Champion Service Point network, when they need it, delivering as quickly as 50 minutes after ordering.

Oil as a spare part

Much is said today about the commoditisation of vehicle oil in our industry. Every garage has seen the change from 5 or 10 years ago, when bulk delivery of just two grades of oil were enough to satisfy every type of car on the bridge. “Engines changed when emissions regulations came in, when fuel efficiency and durability and power demands changed” says Stefan. “OEMs started evolving their engines, and oil manufacturers had to keep up by producing oils and lubes that met new OEM specifications. As a result, the market has a huge range of products, from Champion and different brands, and the consumer is faced with a choice that is incredibly hard to make.”

“Oil has become a spare part, and some manufacturers and distributors are still making the mistake of competing on cost, because that’s what consumers base their buying decision on. We have seen the result of these price wars, and someone always loses, generally the garage and their customers, because the cheap brands don’t have the full range of products covering the entire car park.”

“Oil is a spare part, and you need to make sure it’s the right part for the right car, because of warranty and guarantee, as well as engine health and quality”

Stefan Viguurs - Champion Sales Manager NL

So Champion does not compete with cost? “We have a long-term vision, along with our Champion Service Point garages and our customers and partners,” says Stefan. “In the Netherlands, 95% of drivers trust their garage to recommend the best oil for their vehicle. So, we focus our energy on building trust with the garages and meeting their needs. Oil is a spare part, and you need to make sure it’s the right part for the right car, because of warranty and guarantee, as well as engine health and quality. Our job is to make sure that high quality oils get to the consumer, and independent garages are the best candidates for making that happen.”

The benefits, as told by the Champion garage owners

Richard Helder, owner of Eurocars and the first Champion Service Point garage of the Netherlands explains what is means to join a strong network. “We were always busy before, and we are still always busy,” says Richard with a smile. “But now things are more organized on the oil side. We used to have maybe 5 or 6 different types of oil, different brands, different labels, so it looked a bit untidy.”

By the back wall in the garage there is a Champion Oil Cabin, stocked with the products Richard uses most frequently. Champion oil drums sit in a pumping station by another wall, and the mechanics are in the familiar red & black branded overalls. “Look outside,” says Richard, “They’re my colours” he says, pointing at the Champion branding across the front of the building. “Red and black, that’s me, clean colours, strong, impressive. But the strong branding and professional look aren’t the only benefits. Service is the difference. If you need something, you ask for it and you get twice the service in return.”

For Nico Otto, from Garage Otto in Hoogvliet Rotterdam, the service and support made the difference as well. “It wasn’t a change, it was an improvement,” says Nico, “Becoming a Champion Service Point is not a cosmetic procedure. This is not a facelift, no. It doesn’t mean you will magically be busier just because you look good. This is an investment for a busy independent garage looking for business partners who know what they’re doing. If you’re looking for support, great product, fast delivery, someone who’s on the end of the phone or across the desk when you need them, Champion Service Point is the way to go.”

The quality and value on top of the rebranding of the garage also convinced Nico Bierma of Garage Feenstra. “We wanted to step up, to look as professional on the outside as we are on the inside,” says Nico. “We were spending all our time on making customers’ cars be the best that they can be, and our garage just looked like an ordinary garage. It was time to stand out, and the proposal for Champion Service Point matched our plans. We would get professional branding, a higher profile, and the products and accessories we needed to get our work done in the most efficient way possible.”

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