hostettler autotechnik ag has a broad portfolio of services. The company’s spare parts delivery service supplies workshops throughout Switzerland with high-quality car spare parts in OEM quality. hostettler also offers training courses in which professional expertise is imparted in all aspects of everyday workshop life. The focus is on the h-base spare parts catalogue and the technical data of h-technik. With h-technik, the company provides workshops with an information system that enables them to repair vehicles professionally according to manufacturer specifications. It is an efficient and comprehensive reference work for technical information such as:
- Graphic component selection
- Standard working hours
- Maintenance plans and maintenance interval displays
- Test and setting values
- OEM-based information about recalls
- Repair Instructions
- Service circular
- Interactive circuit diagrams for ABS, air conditioning and engine
We met Marcel Stocker, Head of Automotive, for an interview and talked about joint projects and developments on the Swiss automotive aftermarket.
What is h-technik about and what makes this solution so intelligent?
With h-technik we want to display technical information, labour values and checklists directly in our spare parts catalogue. The great advantage of this solution is that this integration works seamlessly and the customer can switch between vehicle, spare part and information as required. h-technik is directly integrated into the spare parts catalogue. This in turn offers numerous interfaces to dealer management systems. For example, labour values from h-technik can be processed directly in an invoice. With h-technik we want to offer the customer a uniform tool for parts and technical information. This makes the customer’s work easier. The typical h-technik user is an independent garage or brand representation with a high percentage of foreign brands. The garage is looking for a simple solution to obtain technical information and spare parts from one source. It must be able to offer, plan and carry out work for various vehicles within a very short time. h-technik provides the data basis for this.
How have TecAlliance and above all TecRMI helped make h-technik so successful?
First of all, of course, through the quality of the information and the very good integration into our spare parts catalogue. In addition, TecAlliance also supports us in training our sales staff. They receive the necessary know-how to explain the efficiency of the processes to the workshops. This enables us to increase productivity and customer satisfaction. Thanks to the close cooperation with TecAlliance and the training of the sales team, we have been able to continuously increase the distribution of h-technik – by almost 40% in the last two years.
Why did you choose TecRMI?
We chose TecRMI on the one hand because of the good integration into the spare parts catalogue and on the other hand because of the quality of the data in connection with the availability of an additional hotline, which supports us with a unique service with all necessary repair information.
Alexa, Siri or Cortana – many households use voice assistants. They are also a great help to many. Is voice control a function you can imagine for h-technik?
I can imagine a great deal. In addition to speech recognition, I also see potential in chat bots, image recognition and augmented reality applications. We are very open to new solutions here and are also pushing certain developments ourselves.
What challenges are you facing in the Swiss market in particular? What are the special features of this market? What opportunities and risks are there?
The Swiss market works with a specific type certificate number to identify a vehicle. This can be compared with the German KBA number. A 1-to-1 link with the TecAlliance vehicle master is not always possible, which presents us with some challenges. However, since we have solved this quite well in the meantime, we can also count this as one of our advantages. TecAlliance will be the first to link type certificate numbers with TecDoc type numbers for us. So we only have to process and research special cases ourselves.
What does a workshop in Switzerland typically look like?
Compared to other European countries, workshops in Switzerland are certainly smaller. Independent workshops employ on average maybe 2-3 people. Furthermore, we still have a very high density of brand representatives.
What problems does a Swiss workshop have in its everyday work and how does hostettler help it to solve them?
In Switzerland, independent garages are confronted with a relatively new fleet of vehicles and a large variety of brands and models. Since we do not have a domestic automotive industry in Switzerland, we have less dominant brands and traditionally a high proportion of Asian and exotic vehicles such as US Cars. We support the garages with our spare parts catalogue, which seamlessly integrates the technical data of TecRMI. If the worst comes to the worst, TecRMI’s technical hotline will help. In addition, we also offer a wide range of technical and commercial education and training.
What will the IAM look like in Switzerland in the future? And where do you see hostettler’s position there in 5 years?
Marcel Stocker: We think it will be even more central to provide technical information together with the part. This starts with diagnostics, continues with part identification and goes on to work instructions. We want to provide this information and support our customers with concepts and solutions. Since TecAlliance bundles the data from our suppliers and processes technical vehicle data, it has an important interface function.
What comes next? What will future developments at hostettler look like?
Marcel Stocker: In order to cope with the “parts with knowledge” concept, we are investing heavily in the diagnostics and know-how area on the one hand. We are expanding services for our concept partners and also launching new workshop concepts such as “eGarage”, the first cross-brand concept for electromobility. As with our “classic” workshop concepts such as Autofit, we offer our partners comprehensive support in the areas of technology & know-how, marketing & communication and commercial issues. Further information is available at: www.egarage.ch.