Situated at Probe’s head office in Germiston is a hidden gem; the Probe auto-electrical workshop which is one of the largest of its kind in South Africa. Derrick Storm, the workshop manager, oversees a team of skilled workers who spend their days repairing products such as starters, alternators and fan hubs for trucks, remanufacturing starters and alternators and developing innovative repair solutions.
Derrick says, “The mind-set that we have at the workshop is to provide an excellent quality product and service, and we use all our knowledge and know-how to ensure that this happens every day.”
The workshop team is always prepared to go the extra mile for customers, be this finding or even modifying parts when these are unobtainable in the market. Derrick says, “Often the customer will approach us as a last resort, having been unable to find a specific part anywhere. For example, we had a customer with a broken starter for which there was no available replacement. We examined the starter and realised that we could take two existing starters and build these up into one starter that would meet the original starter’s specifications. These are the things that we love problem-solving and I would say that at the workshop we are able to make a plan nearly 100% of the time.”
Another area where the workshop team excels is in the remanufacturing of parts. This is an important part of Probe’s product offering which provides customers with a cost-efficient solution; particularly for older heavy-duty vehicles that are still in use but have parts that are now obsolete.
Remanufacturing begins with sourcing and buying old starters and alternators from customers and the market. These are then disassembled into their cores, cleaned, reassembled and built up to the exact specifications of the original manufactured product. Not only does this benefit the customer in terms of having access to once-obsolete or cost-effective alternative products, but remanufacturing promotes waste reduction and resource conservation, making it a win-win for both customers and the environment.
Another area that Derrick presently has his team focusing on is the refurbishment of components found in starters or alternators such as solenoids; brush holders; Bendix & clutches (Preferably original parts only). Instead of having to buy a brand-new starter or alternator, the workshop is investigating how to fix these components so as to reduce cost implications for the customer who would be faced with having to buy a completely new part.
The tricky aspect, however, is that there are no available tools to repair these components. Derrick is working around this by developing special tools to get the job done … keep watching this space!
For Probe’s auto-electric workshop, the innovation and conservation taking place is simply business as usual. But the upshot for the customer is cost efficiency, product excellence and always a plan, no matter what the problem. This is sure to make the customer happy. And when the customer is happy, Probe is happy.