In response to an upsurge in market demand, ZF Services UK’s recent expansion has seen its capacity to remanufacture and repair transmissions, axles and gearboxes for coach and bus applications increase.
The company’s Nottingham-based repair centre has been developed to ensure customers further benefit from a complete range of support solutions from repair and remanufacture, to parts and technical support. Included as part of the expansion is a dedicated axle repair and remanufacture work area, with additional technicians recruited to meet the increased demand, all trained to deliver ZF OEM standard transmission and axle workshop repair and reman solutions.
The centre stocks and distributes genuine ZF parts, as well as providing a non-ZF gearbox remanufacture and reverse engineering service. The recent expansion has also led to further recruitment in other areas, building on the existing talent within the team that has been responsible for some of the achievements to date for ZF in the coach and bus sector.
Meet the ZF team
David Wakeling, General Sales Manager UK has been with the company for 17 years working across various departments, giving him a broad understanding of the business and customers’ varying requirements. This has afforded him key insight and the ability to navigate through the global ZF organisation.
Due to its central UK location and impressive workshop facilities, ZF can offer full remanufacturing service for all ZF products, where quality is paramount. Other benefits include field service capabilities, health check services and high voltage support, complemented by an extensive ZF Partner Network throughout the UK and Ireland.
Responsible for managing the CV department in Nottingham and its customer base comprising OEMs, large distributors and end operators, David also looks after the South East Asia and Hong Kong regions on behalf of ZF Services UK’s parent company, supporting OEMs and key customers within those zones.
David explained: “ZF has a new outlook and fresh drive to support the market and is forging closer working relationships with customers, which is providing us with invaluable insight into the bus market and future trends.”
Andy Derz, Key Account Manager has worked for the company for 15 years, during which time it has won key service contracts with major UK operators. Working closely with operators to understand their bespoke needs, he has ensured the delivery of tailored service packages to meet their criteria, further supported by its field health check service to monitor and help maintain fleet performance. Managing ZF’s extensive Partner network in the UK and Ireland, Andy ensures that the company’s partners have the correct level of support to grow as businesses, and that they are service ready for existing and new ZF products, which in turn provides a high level of service to its burgeoning customer base.
Andy said: “Where ZF excels is its proactivity with promotional events, engaging operators and OEMs alike to showcase our existing and new portfolio of products. Our presence at the annual ALBUM conference, a national forum that enables the exchange of best practice among its members and to influence policy in the bus industry, is a prime example of ZF’s objective in bringing its efficient, reliable and safe driveline solutions to the decision makers’ table.”
Nigel Marson, OE Account Manager for Commercial Vehicles has over 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry, over half of which has been with ZF Services UK. Here, he has supported the bus and coach market with a high level of market awareness and product knowledge across the ZF portfolio of transmissions, axles and steering systems. Working closely with OE vehicle manufactures in an engineering, sales and marketing capacity, he has developed product strategies to ensure customers are offered the best products on the market.
Nigel said: “The company’s mantra is ZF Vision Zero, Zero accidents, Zero emissions, offering solutions in safety technology and electromobility, and it’s something we’re all 100% focused on. This commitment has borne fruit through the marked success of ZF AxTrax electric drive axle in the all-electric Optare MetroDecker, of which 31 vehicles are to enter service in 2019 with Metroline London. I’d say that this is the embodiment of progress, and a significant achievement in driveline technology that we should all be extremely proud of at ZF.”
Debbie Fisher, Service Manager joined ZF in March 2017, on the back of 11 years’ industry experience from working with a ZF Service Partner. Coming from a customer-facing background and being aware of their service requirements provided a smooth transition for operators wanting to deal directly with the OE while recognising ZF Nottingham as a quality remanufacturing centre. Major transmission and axle contracts to support the UK fleets in the aftermarket have since been awarded to ZF over the last 18 months, showing evidence that ZF is now back in touch directly with operators and understand what is required to exceed their high expectations of the ZF brand.
Debbie said: “Notwithstanding the achievements ZF has accomplished with new products and innovations to the industry, we are very proud of being able to display the recent expansion of the remanufacturing capabilities here in Nottingham, inviting key personnel and engineering teams to see our facilities and showing evidence of being service-ready for our future products.”
Simon Ackroyd, Product Support Engineer came onboard with ZF in 2017, with 23 years’ industry experience under his belt, 18 years of which was spent at two separate ZF Service Partners in Technical management areas.
Apprentice-trained on automatic transmission systems with a strong background in Bus and Coach, he worked previously for global OEM and Operators.
Simon commented: “Immersion in the day-to-day activities of the UK Passenger industry, complemented with specific technical product knowledge, has afforded me a depth and breadth of knowledge with key customer facing skills at all levels within the industry.
“This ongoing pursuit of technical understanding has driven the technical department within ZF Services UK to become fully conversant with future technologies, as well as help gain traction to better align our position to support partners and customers for tomorrow’s world.”
He continued: “European legislation is really driving forward in the pursuit of innovation and mobility solutions. It’s clear to all that electrically driven vehicles will come out on top if the total cost of ownership becomes competitive. Piece by piece the jigsaw is providing future clarity and opening the possibilities for parts commonality and upcycling solutions, very much in line with ZF’s Vision Zero.”
Tim Jordan, Technical Manager CV joined ZF almost 35 years ago, having previously served an engineering apprenticeship and worked with local bus company Trent Motor Traction (now Trent Barton) for nine years.
He soon discovered that his knowledge of the bus industry and the vehicles that they operated was a valuable commodity to ZF, at a time when it was breaking into the UK market with its Ecomat fully automatic transmission. During this early period of his ZF career, he helped fit this product into 20 brand new Leyland Tiger coaches owned by four different bus companies for them to trial.
This created a demand for the Ecomat for Leyland Bus vehicles and within two years, Leyland Bus, at the time the largest UK bus manufacturer, switched from using its own gearbox to ZF’s Ecomat. This instantly gave the ZF Ecomat a market share of over 60%, which during the 1990s grew at one stage to 85% of all buses and coaches newly registered in the UK.
Tim said: “Looking forward, there is a changing but exciting time ahead with high emphasis now on vehicles which are fully electrically driven, a market which ZF is already lining up several products to compete in.
“I see it as one of my final tasks before I retire in 2019 to ensure that the team is equipped in all aspects to embrace and support these new technologies as they come along.”
Supporting the sales team are ZF Product Support Engineers and Administration backup with a combined experience of more than 80 years in the industry.