By Pramod Thomas:
The UK-based Dura Workshop Systems manufactures and delivers innovative, integrated, flexible or design-led automotive workshop furniture systems around the world. As the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution makes strides across the globe, Dura is also busy to swim with the tide.
Stephen Jacques, Director, Dura Workshop Systems, said, “Now, it is very easy to buy a car. You can even do it on the internet. However, servicing of the vehicle will always be a requirement, be it an electric vehicle or internal combustion engine vehicle. We will always need service facilities. Dura is already working with the manufacturers of electric vehicles for making specific facilities. The type of service process may change for electric vehicles. These vehicles may not need oil supply, but other aspects of the vehicle need to be serviced and repaired. The layers of the workshops may be different. We are already adapting our products and processes to take care of that. Electric vehicles need constant charging for battery during the service process. Our new design caters to facilities for battery chargers and to integrate battery charging equipment and facilities for vehicle diagnostics as well.” He was speaking to AutoParts Asia on the sidelines of Automechanika Frankfurt 2018. He added that Dura aims to deliver equipment relevant to the new type of vehicles to facilitate service as quickly as possible.
“Some manufacturers of electric vehicles are looking at a more fluid system, less rigid system of workshop layers and we are working to do that. We are working with OEMs to create facilities to make a stunning impression on their customers,” he said.
The company is spreading its wings across the globe. In December 2018, Dura delivered and installed a workshop furniture solution for the 60-bay service centre, direct reception bays, a training workshop and a dedicated Audi Sport service area for Audi AG in Abu Dhabi, West Asia. This was a project by Ali & Sons with AED 100 million investment.
In November last year, Dura was chosen by Ferrari’s longstanding partner, Autohaus Ulrich GmbH, to supply and install workshop furniture as part of the expansion of its dealership facility in Frankfurt, Germany. Hand tools storage in mobile toolboxes, waste bins, and large drawer equipment and displaced parts storage are all included in the islands placed in between the lifts, facing each work bay. This was the second project Dura has undertaken for Autohaus Ulrich.
“This is our seventh Automechanika since 2006 when we started participating in the event. Initially our objective was to build up distribution network around the world and to introduce the concept of an integrated workshop to the world market. Now our objective is to meet our global partners here, meet their customers and to meet new customers. Another objective is to introduce new concepts, new ideas and products in the market,” Jacques said.
Dura was founded in 1997 by Industrial Designer, Dominic Wishlade. Design and technical sales are centrally located in Brackley, Northamptonshire, with its own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Devon.
“Our aim is to provide design solutions and products of the highest quality and lowest environmental impact, delivered with unmatched levels of service. No other company can match our experience or expertise when it comes to workshop furniture. We were the first company to design and manufacture integrated workshop furniture for which we have won three national and international awards. We have launched quite a few modifications to our existing products. We have a new storing system for special tools. We have a new service tower incorporating fluids delivery for the service technician, and oil technician. We have products for workshops, body shops, for workshops for repair areas, for special tools storage, for direct reception areas, and diagnostic areas,” he said.
Last year, Nissan took delivery of Dura’s award-winning modular workshop system for its training Centre based in Dublin, Ireland. The set-up, which consists of storage for tools and equipment, a fluid management system, integration for PCs and electric car charging points, forms six work bays. It is designed to provide a state-of-the-art training facility and incorporates the same features that would be used within a modern service centre.
Depending on the requirements of the workshop, Dura can either use workshop furniture from its extensive range to create a modular system or develop bespoke cabinets around specifications, guaranteeing that the design of the workshop is perfect.
“Dura’s award-winning workshop cabinetry and design services can deliver the solution for businesses to improve working efficiency and increase output and profitability, enhance customer confidence and satisfaction and to attract and retain valuable technicians. We strive hard to give the workshop a more high-tech design and an image on the presentation with facilities that appeal to the market. The end-solution has to be functional, strong, well-made, and of good quality. At the same time it has to be designed well, look good, and appeal to a premium brand customer,” Jacques said.
The workshop furniture from Dura provides technicians with a compact and efficient solution for their storage and organisational needs during the service process.
When asked about the expansion plans of the company globally, he said Dura is focusing on capital investment markets. “Geographically there is a lot of business to be done. We work very closely with OEMs. So we look at growth targets and objectives of OEMs. Currently, we are very strong in Europe, and in a few markets in Asia. One of our top export markets has been Japan. Since five years Australia and New Zealand have emerged as important areas for us. Now, places like India are growing for us. The Middle East has always been an important market for us. We are focusing still a lot on the Middle East, because they are building big workshops and facilities. We export our products to car dealers in 30 countries who are creating new facilities. The advantage there is that the business is consistent with the ups and downs of the local economy. These capital investment economies are good, people buy cars, and dealers build dealerships. We follow where such action is,” he said.
Jacques foresees big changes in the automotive servicing space going forward. “I can see vehicle servicing becoming leaner in the future. I think processes will become more efficient. The amount of equipment that is needed, and the number of tools that are required could be reduced. We have witnessed that some of the manufacturers are simplifying the processes on their vehicles and that reduces the service time.” he said.
“We manufacture in the UK and we believe if we have a good quality product we will still sell it globally, even after Brexit. We are confident that a right agreement will be made. We don’t think Brexit will be a problem for us,” Jacques said.