Alliance Transport Technologies An Evolution Of Alliance Electronics
For 25 years, many operators have relied on Alliance Electronics for a wide range of new and remanufactured electrical and electronic parts for their vehicles. Now the business has rebranded to Alliance Transport Technologies after expanding its services to provide a full range of aftermarket solutions.
Alliance Transport Technologies’ Derbyshire home at The Arc in Clowne is not the typical warehouse or manufacturing unit, the modern unit occupied since 2015 started life as the engineering block of a college. It was ideal for the company’s purposes with distributed utilities and three-phase power available together with space to drive the company’s expansion programme which was initiated following the acquisition of the business by the now Chairman of Alliance Transport Technologies, Ivan Gunatilleke.
Marc revealed that “Customers are the driver for our continuing expansion,” adding, “we were getting a lot of calls from customers asking if we could supply new where items were not repairable or send out a technician to complete repairs on site, the range of components we were being asked for was also expanding.” The result has been the development from September 2017 of a new business – Alliance Transport Technologies – providing a one-stop-shop for aftermarket solutions for both buses and coaches.
New Parts Warehouse: Expanding the parts business to include chassis components such as steering and suspension as well as emissions control required additional skilled staff and warehouse premises. Scott Thompson, Parts Manager, and Matthew Dale, Parts Sales Representative, were recruited by Marc due to their vast knowledge of the bus and coach industry. A site was identified in Normanton near Wakefield and this became operational during summer 2018 enabling the company to further increase the range offered. Scott leads his team in the newly-identified Normanton site.
Service support network: Stuart Raikes is the Director responsible for the growth of the service side of the business, through the provision of an ‘on the road’ service and the placement of skilled engineers on short, medium or long term contracts with operators. Ten diagnostic technicians are currently active in fully equipped vans to offer independent after sales support on a 24/7 basis across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with more to follow. In addition to the contract placement engineers who currently number around 25, the company will also source skilled staff to fill customers’ vacancies. A major growth area for the company continues to be emissions control where a retrofit division was established in September 2017. The division currently has 12 fully supported skilled engineers working in four bays at various operators’ depots and reports positively on its staff retention rate, the only leavers being to take up permanent positions with customers!
Focus on hybrid and electric vehicles: Marc is clear on Alliance Transport Technologies’ future focus, “We want to be known as the go-to specialists for hybrid and electric technologies. We are the frontrunner as we believe no one else offers the ‘end-to-end’ service for these vehicles covering refurbishment, repair and refixing.” The company is working with all electric and hybrid bus manufacturers products to offer remanufactured battery packs and electrical modules, giving operators a cost effective solution for mid-life hybrid systems such as BAE Systems TB08 and TB100. It also has the capability for Ultracap solutions.
Training: Training is a key basis for the company’s competence in electric and hybrid vehicles, all engineers are trained in high voltage systems and have IMI level 4 accreditation covering technical and diagnostic capabilities. Investment in training and certification is core to the company’s interests, the company recruits dealer or manufacturer trained technicians and further develops them with additional and new skills, for example several have recently completed the IMI level 4 accreditation for air conditioning and gas handling. Apprenticeships have always been important to creating the Alliance Transport Technologies team and two more will start in this area in September 2018.
Emission control: Another growth area for the business is emissions control. In the remanufacturing business, the company has seen significant growth in demand for ad-blue pumps, particularly from truck operators where a high percentage are replacements due to cross contamination. An exchange unit with new sensors and dosing valves can be supplied for around a quarter of the cost of a new pump. The company is building up a stock of ad-blue pump cores from all manufacturers and has comprehensive testing facilities.
Going Forward: Marc sees the recent expansion into parts and services as just the beginning of the company’s growth. Already staff numbers have doubled in six months and a target of 100 has been set for the year end representing a massive investment in training focussed mainly on the bus and coach industry which is the predominant target of the new business areas. The business has already seen growth from cross selling after customers have experience of good service in one product area and expects to focus on this with its growing ‘end-to-end’ capability. Supporting this will be new and more comprehensive communication systems including individual customer portals in support of the company’s vision, which is something that Marc reiterates, “we want to remain independent and offer the same level of service to whoever we deal with.”