Author: RALPH MORTON
If your idea of a fast-fit centre is on a grin and bear it basis – grin because you need the work done, bear it because what is the alternative? – then Kenji Murai, CEO of Kwik-Fit Group, has plans to change all that.
Out go stinking toilets, second rate facilities and loud-mouthed banter, and in comes the sort of standards that the partnership of never knowingly being undersold extols.
A fantasy? Kenji would disagree.
“In 10 years time we will be the John Lewis in our sector,” commented Kenji Murai at a press bash to celebrate the company’s 25 years in business.
“You don’t think I’m serious? I am.”
Ken has the reforming zeal to make the change. In 1994, Itochu, which owns Kwik-Fit, bought Stapleton Tyres, a major tyre supplier, and changed the culture of the company by sweeping away counters – “a barrier to the customer that was unnecessary” – providing free coffee, TV screens and comfortable sofas to sit in while vehicles customers were having the tyres changed.
“We can bring that same culture to Kwik-Fit and change Kwik-Fit,” added Ken. “In doing so, we can change the industry.”
Ken’s Kwik-Fit revolution in based on a simple proposition: the Kwik-Fit way. Employees are given a one pager describing the Kwik-Fit way of how employees should behave: it includes the mantras work properly, talk properly, behave properly.
The second is an apprenticeship programme that will see Kwik-Fit take on 300 new apprentices this year, with a plan to take on 3000 a year by 2022.
“We need to get them in and show them the Kwik-Fit way,” said Kenji.
As part of the company’s expansion plans, Kwik-Fit Fleet is investing in the following areas for van servicing:
- An expanded range of tyres in centres that will cover the top 80%+ of vans with premium, mid and budget priced choices across each of those sizes
- New specialist light commercial vehicle equipment in its 800 UK centres
- Additional light commercial vehicle training for staff
- Ensuring that the vast majority of the centre network can accommodate light commercial vehicles, including the growing number of hi-roof, long wheel base models as well as car derived vehicles, while making details of those centres and their specific facilities available to customers.
In addition, centres are being ‘tooled up’ for the improved offering to light commercial vehicle fleets, which includes the purchase of six-tonne trolley jacks, five-tonne axle stands, wheel chocks, extensions bars and tyre cages.
“Our strategy is simple,” added Kenji. “To make things better.
“We want to bring quality to Kwik-Fit. The sort of quality and service you expect from John Lewis. In 10 years’ time I’m sure we’ll succeed.”