At any given moment, there’s about half a million spare parts in the ŠKODA Motorsport warehouse and the team of specialists is ready to send any order anywhere, even to the other side of the world. “Quick and reliable services ar as important in motorsport as a quick and reliable car. I would venture to say that we go further than other brands in this regard”, says Norbert Hampl, ŠKODA Motorsport salesman. And Jakub Hladík, who runs the warehouse, adds: “The customers appreciate that we are able to ship the order the same day. Sometimes, it requires great effort, but we believe it pays off.”
How many FABIA Rally2 and Rally 2 evo cars have been built, and how many are still in service?
Overall, it’s more than 360 and they are increasing quickly. Almost all of them are still running, because we can repair practically anything. Crashes are a natural part of the rally – if someone wants to win, he often drives on the edge and can make a mistake. That’s where the appeal of motorsport is. Our catalogue of spare parts is incredibly varied and almost any part can be replaced or repaired. For cases when the car’s frame is substantially damaged and FIA takes the car’s cerification away, we even offer a brand new body.
Hundreds of rally cars, that has to be an astounding number of parts.
Large teams with many cars that get used a lot of course need a good supply of spare parts. With some teams, we can talk about tens or even hundreds of spare parts per year. On the other hand, some cars are raced by “gentlemen drivers” who only take a few rallies per year. And because our cars are reliable and durable, they can do with a minimum number of spares.
What did the success of FABIA Rally2 mean for the expanding of the warehouse and logistic capacities of ŠKODA Motorsport?
Currently, we have spare parts for FABIA S2000, Rally2 and Rally2 evo in stock. Overall, it’s approximately 5,000 different items and around half a million individual parts. On the outside, it could seem that the evo version is not that different from its predecessor, but for us, it meant 1,200 new parts. While at the FABIA S2000 era, we could do with three stockkeepers and two administrative workers, we grew, over time, to almost 13 employees. The demands of our customers keep growing and they like to make use of the fact that we are able to ship on the same day.
Shipping the same day is a standard service for ŠKODA Motorsport customers, or do they have to pay extra for this advantage?
It’s a standard service. It costs us a lot of effort, but we believe that it pays off. The response is great.
“Our big advantage is that we’ve got almost everything in stock, and in great enough numbers. And even if we do not, we are really flexible and quick.”
What are your “bestsellers”?
In rally, it’s bumpers and wings that take the most beating. Almost every order also includes brake pads and rotors, we also often ship new wheels, windscreens, wheel bearings or uniballs. All of these are consumables for rally teams.
What’s the ratio of ŠKODA parts and those from outside suppliers?
Around 10% is manufactured by ŠKODA AUTO, the rest is from outside contractors all over the world.
Are you the exclusive distributor for your customers? How do you motivate the teams to buy parts from you?
Most of the parts is customized for our car, however some of the items in our catalogue could probably be found in the offer of the supplier in question. Still, it’s worth it for customer to make a big order with us – it’s cheaper and easier, so all of our customers make use of this option. Compared with our competition, our big advantage is that we’ve got almost everything in stock, and in great enough numbers. And even if we do not, we are really flexible and quick. That really isn’t the norm and this kind of service if one of the reasons why the FABIA Rally2 dominates the market.
Do you offer any other specific advantages when supplying parts, besides the aforementioned quick shipping?
Recently, we’ve introduced discounted parts packages. For example, a set of four rotors with pads for a lower price. We will expand this offer in the future, creating sets of parts that make sense together. It’s another way to make our customers lives easier.
Are you able to send the shipment anywhere in the world?
We send the parts all around Europe, into Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, it really is almost the whole world. Some parts are quite a challenge, especially when it comes to packaging. Nothing can arrive broken, from the small packages to a container full of parts, so we had some reinforced crates made so we can be sure that no parts arrive damaged, even when the customer is at the other side of the world. We have to thing of everything, even the smallest details, like the humidity during ocean shipping.
“For many customers, it’s easiest to just send photos through WhatsApp and let us take care of it. The personal approach is irreplaceable in this way.”
And what if the goods are damaged anyway?
When damage occurs, it’s almost always on the side of the shipper. Even in that case, we try to help the customer solve the problem, even though we don’t have to.
How do you ship your parts?
The first option, of course, is to pick them up personally at ŠKODA Motorsport. However, most of the orders goes via ground or air route using shipping companies. For overseas orders, we use container shipping. Some customers arrange their own shipping and in such case, we can offer them advice with picking a company we have good experience with. In most cases, however, we take care of the whole shipping process, including customs papers, which is a lot of paperwork. We monitor the shipments for the whole time and the whole process only ends when our customer says that everything arrived all right.
How does the ordering process work from the customer’s point of view?
One of our big competitive advantages is our unique interactive catalogue, where the car and all of its parts is easy to see and you can simply click the things you need, whether you’re online or offline. There are many ways to order, as the conditions on the rallies vary and its often necessary to improvise. Every customer has his salesman, who he can easily call, send him an export from catalogue, take a picture or shoot a video. For many customers, it’s easiest to just send photos through WhatsApp and let us take care of it. The personal approach is irreplaceable in this way.
How quickly does the number of cars increase?
At this moment, we are manufacturing about one per week. They’re built by hand and just to deliver all the parts from the warehouse takes four days. The whole process includes 50 different instances of receiving various subsets from the warehouse. We have one specialist whose work is just to prepare everything necessary for every build – from the first nut to the last bolt. Another worker delivers the engines from the warehouse, others take care of customer orders or logistics.