Barry Searcy: Your staff makes your business
On July 29, 2015 Volvo Trucks Canada added one more facility for their dealers' chain in Canada – the new Beaver Truck Center dealership in Brandon, Manitoba...
On July 29, 2015 Volvo Trucks Canada added one more facility for their dealers' chain in Canada – the new Beaver Truck Center dealership in Brandon, Manitoba. DorogaRoad witnessed the opening event; here is an exclusive interview with Barry Searcy, Beaver Truck Centre President and some other participants.
Barry Searcy: Your staff makes your businesss
DorogaRoad: First of all, congratulations! Tell me a few words about your new facility in Brandon.
Barry Searcy, president of Beaver Truck Centre: It's a 16,000 square feet facility, ten service bays, a very large parts display and a warehouse. There are hoists, service pits, translucent doors, heated flooring etc. – a state of the art facility. We have hired seven staff members to start immediately.
DR: What kind of impact do you think this new facility will have on your business?
Barry Searcy: There's going to be a huge impact. There are thousands of Volvo trucks that pass Brandon every day. Now instead of driving to Winnipeg (about 200 km – DR) they could be serviced and repaired right here. We are frequently overwhelmed in Winnipeg, especially in winter times; we would now be able to balance a workload between these two facilities.
DR: You opened Beaver Truck Centre (then Volvo Manitoba Truck Centre) in Winnipeg in 1997. In 1999, two years later, your dealership has already got a few awards including Dealer of the Year award! Can you share what factors have contributed to that kind of success?
Barry Searcy: We have been Dealer of the Year, I believe, four possibly five times. And the main contributor to that is the staff, definitely the staff. Most of my staff have been with me for years. I have at least a dozen people that have been with me since day one and the majority over ten years. They are very loyal, very good people.
DR: Have you overcome any unexpected hurdles? And if yes what was the most difficult one?
Barry Searcy: During the construction of this building?
DorogaRoad: For how long you are servicing your trucks in Winnipeg's Beaver Truck Centre and how has the experience been?
Hardeep Grewal, Co-owner Razir Transport Services Ltd (Winnipeg, MB): For around the last 16 years we've been buying and servicing Volvo trucks at Beaver Truck Centre and we've never looked for another dealer. The reason for that? Volvo is making good trucks, Beaver provides us with good service, proper maintenance and they are value good relations with us as customers.
DR: Anything you'd like to add to what your partner just said?
Amandeep Grewal, Co-owner Razir Transport Services Ltd: I just recently visited the Volvo plant in New River Valley in Dublin, VA and was impressed by how many safety features manufacturer put in the truck. I drove Volvo myself but with these new trucks I know that whatever happens on the road the driver will be safe inside the cab.
Barry Searcy: Yes and no. There were some surprises that are quite normal with construction. We have had to remove a lot of soil and put a lot of gravel in – you have to do that to build a good foundation. That was the only hurdle. We have dealt with good contractors and suppliers, mostly local people. They have been very much accommodated and did a very good job, we are happy with them.
DR: One of your managers during an interview to the media a few years ago answered a question about your success, saying something like this: "Barry came from a trucking background which was critical to our success. He looked at all of the dealerships he had to work with in the past and what he didn't like, he changed." (Truck News. January 1, 2001). Tell me little bit about your background and what you didn't like in other dealers' work?
Barry Searcy: My brother and I have had a trucking business for several years. We have found that the biggest part of the problem when break downs happen is the parts. And I told myself: when I open a dealership we'll have the largest parts inventory in the country. And we do have it. Till today we have the largest inventory of Volvo parts in a Canada. Another thing is service, well trained technicians. We pushed for that, we spent a lot of money on the training of our employees, we invest in our people. I think it is part of the reason they are staying with us – they are all master technicians.
DR: You almost answered my next question. I know some truckers who used your service in Winnipeg many times – all were impressed by the high level of customer service as well as deep technical knowledge of the truck by the mechanics…
Barry Searcy: As I said we spent a lot on training. We've hired five foreign mechanics in the last couple of months. They are from England, Ireland and Scotland. We are in the midst of training them; they have had some mechanical training and now we are sending them to Volvo school to become Volvo technicians. This is very important.
DorogaRoad: What does the opening of new Volvo dealer facility in Brandon, MB mean for Volvo Trucks Canada?
Paul Kudla, Fleet Sales Manager of Volvo Trucks Canada: For Volvo it means a lot. This is a strategic area of Canada where is Trans Canadian HWY 1 runs at this facility's doorsteps. We always have had service here but not quite to the level we wanted. We now have the facility we could be proud of. Barry Searcy and his crew did a great job building such a facility: state of the art, brand new in a strategic spot that is very convenient for customers.
DR: Beaver Truck Centre of Winnipeg was awarded by Volvo a Dealer of the Year award a few times…
Paul Kudla: Beaver Truck Centre is one the best dealer in North America not just Canada. Their pride of the ownership is felt by the whole team not just by the owner Barry Searcy. It's a team effort and that how they get things done. Their service group is well recognized in the industry.
DR: I know owners operators who have had some breakdowns around this area. They called Beaver from, say, Alberta or Saskatchewan and by the time they reach Winnipeg mechanics in the shop have had parts and a bay ready for them to fix the problem.
Paul Kudla: That is correct. With our Remote Diagnostics customers called 1 800 52 VOLVO and Winnipeg or Brandon will be ready to serve them upon their arrival. So, this is excited for us to be here.
DR: Thank you Paul.
DR: What's in your plans? Where will the next Beaver dealership be open?
Barry Searcy: (laughing) We have a parts and service facility in Winkler, MB, as well as in Steinbach, MB and Thunder Bay, ON. Our AOR – area of responsibility is very well covered. As of right now, there is no need for one but if the need occurs we will build them.
DR: Do you have any advice for other dealers on how to succeed in this business?
Barry Searcy: Training is number one. Your staff makes your business. It's so simple: treat your staff like you want to be treated and you are going to succeed.
DR: Thank you very much. New Beaver Truck Centre Volvo dealership located at 125 Middleton Avenue East, Brandon, MB - Northeast corner of Hwy 1 and Hwy 10. Everyone is welcome!