Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at CMI Hino and why you chose the Transport Industry.
Originally from Townsville, Queensland, I moved to Adelaide in 1994. I have been in the Transport Industry all my working life. First at Queensland Rail, and then at CMI Hino. I started at CMI Hino as a temp working in the Administration Department for several months until a fulltime position became available in the Service Department.
I really enjoyed my early days working in a dealership. CMI Hino were a great company to work for, so when a job became available in the Service Department, I jumped at the chance. The Transport Industry is fast paced and constantly changing, and our customers depend on us for their work, and therefore their livelihood. So, while getting into the Industry was not a deliberate choice, it’s definitely been a challenging and rewarding career.
We hear you’ve been at CMI Hino for over 20 years! How has the industry changed since you started?
My first role in the Service Department was Service Receptionist. We wrote bookings in a diary and handwrote Repair Orders. It’s fair to say things are worlds apart both administratively and technically from what they were then, and how they are now. I have seen the evolution from Birds of Prey right through to our current generation models. When I first started at CMI Hino, we only had dieselengines and manual transmission available. Now there are Hybrid vehicle, true automatic transmission, computers and electronic safety systems like Hino SmartSafe and Hino-Connect, emissions control and the introduction of Capped Price Servicing and roadside assist programme.
What are the daily duties of an Assistant Service Manager? And how did you work up to this role?
In the beginning, being a small dealership, you very quickly realise you have to wear many hats–receptionist, service advisor, warranty officer, customer service liaison, workshop controller, payroll officer, service administration… the list goes on. But, learning all facets of a Service Department from the ground up has given me the knowledge and experience to take on the role as Assistant Service Manager. My primary role now is to support the Service Manager in achieving and maintaining productivity and efficiency targets for the Service Department, and provide direction and support to our Service department employees. My daily duties include monitoring available capacity and scheduled time, monitoring and maintaining workflow, overseeing the prompt invoicing of all completed jobs, accurately recording of all service department activity, promoting communication and good working relationships between parts and service employees, and scheduling work for pre-delivery department, payroll and submission of warranty claims.
What have been some of the challenges in the industry? How have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me has been my lack of mechanical knowledge, but with the help of great managers and technicians around me, I have managed to learn a great deal. Hino provide an excellent training program for dealership staff. The program includes both online and face to face modules. This has been invaluable for me and my understanding of how things work, and most importantly, my ability to communicate with customers confidently. Hino take great care of their dealership staff, which is why 20 years on there is still nowhere else I would rather work.
At Hino, we pride ourselves on our servicing capabilities. Why do you think we stand out above the competition?
Our Hino Capped Price Servicing allows customers to forecast costs, which gives them peace of mind, as they can pretty much map out the lifetime costs of the truck. On top of that, our extensively trained technicians mean that customers can trust the service is done right, every time.
International Women’s Day was on March 8th, and it was amazing to see Hino rally for their female staff. What benefits do you think women bring to a business like Hino, and the industry more broadly?
I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of women in this industry which has been amazing, because I think women bring a different perspective to things. I think women naturally communicate more effectively, work well in group environments, and are highly organised, which is important in a role like mine.
The government wants to attract more women to transport and logistics. What would you say to women considering a career in the industry?
It is a great industry. I have worked with some amazing people from all walks of life. No two days are ever the same… there is never a dull moment! Which you wouldn’t think you’d hear me say after 20 years at the same place… but it’s true!
What are some of the skills you would suggest are needed in your role?
I believe patience, empathy, flexibility, integrity, resilience, effective communication, good listening skills, transparency, and the ability to empower and support your team are skills you need to be an effective manager.
What have been some of your career highlights?
The biggest highlight of my career was probably winning the Gold Medal for Service Department, and CMI Hino winning Dealer of the Year. We spent a fantastic weekend at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast recently to celebrate, all thanks to Hino!
In your opinion, what separates Hino from other companies in the industry?
Hino is a global brand with a stellar reputation, and for good reason! Everybody who drives a Hino loves it. Why? Reliability. The quality and reliability of Hino trucks and Hino Servicing mean customers have far less vehicle downtime, which leads to increased profitability. In this Industry, our customer’s work is their life, so helping them find and service their perfect work vehicle does more than just get them from A to B, it fuels their livelihoods.
Thank you, Wendy, for the amazing work over the last 20 years. Your service to Hino and the industry has been invaluable.
If you are looking for a lifelong career that allows you to learn, grow and flourish, contact your local Hino Dealer today.