Hino South Africa may be faring very well in recent comparative evaluations and surveys, but these successes do not mean the company is lifting its foot off the accelerator or growing complacent. Instead it continues to use a number of programmes and other initiatives to enable the dealer staff to keep honing their skills so as to provide even better customer satisfaction levels.

The annual Hino Skills Contest is one of the tools that has been used for many years and which has a proven record of accomplishment for improving the skills of individuals in the three dealer disciplines: sales, service, and parts.

The 2018 contest was held in Sandton recently and the four category winners will be taken on an educational tour to Hino Motors in Japan next year.

“Toyota South Africa instituted a skills contest 31 years ago and this event was expanded to include a separate section for Hino dealer personnel in 1992,” explains Ignatius Muthien, Senior Manager – Special Projects at the Toyota Training Academy in Sandton.

“The contest has grown in size and complexity over the years as changes have been made to keep the contest relevant and up-to-date. The initial entry for the 2018 Skills Contest totalled in excess of 5 000 people, with more than 300 working at Hino dealers. The Hino section of the overall contest is made up of four categories: vehicle sales, parts sales, parts stores and technical service.”

Muthien says the original entrants are thinned out using a series of online questionnaires, followed by regional and then national practical tests. Eight people compete in each category in the regional tests and the six best-of-the-best in each category, based on their scores, then gather in Johannesburg for the prestigious national finals. The finals consist of a theoretical test followed by a simulation applicable to each skill set.

After successfully completing all these stages, this year’s Hino winners were: Technical Service – Jurg Calitz (Hino Oranje, Bloemfontein); Vehicle Sales – Chris Basson (Hino Kuilsrivier); Parts Sales – Anthony Isaacs (Hino Parow); Parts Stores – Trevor Watson-Thomas (Hino Mafikeng). Calitz and Basson are both previous winners of these accolades while Isaacs and Watson-Thomas were first-time winners.

The prizegiving ceremony was attended by three representamen from Hino Motors in Japan, headed by Koichi Kato, Deputy General Manager – Aftersales Service Division.

“We are always delighted at the level of enthusiasm shown by the dealer personnel in this annual contest,” commented Ernie Trautmann, Vice President of Hino South Africa. “The Skills Contest dovetails very well with our ongoing strategy of ensuring all staff are properly trained to ensure they can play their various roles in Hino’s international Total Support strategy which aims to strengthen relationships between all stakeholders, from Hino Japan, to Hino South Africa, our dealers, suppliers and customers.”