ALWAYS GROWING AND CHANGING
Diesel engines in the 21st century are high-tech, high-spec, and need specialist care and attention.
Member Profile: Diesel and Turbo
For Diesel and Turbo, keeping pace with technology is a natural part of its evolution and as a result it has become a leader in the diesel fuel injection and common rail repairs. The company has come a long way in the 30 years since Keith Lorimer took over.
But Diesel and Turbo is much more than its Wellington and Masterton branches. Over the years it has grown into the country’s second-largest distributor of Caltex oils and lubricants. For over 20 years, it has been an approved service dealer with DENSO, Bosch and Dephi. Five years ago, it was appointed as the New Zealand premier service dealer for DENSO common rail fuel injection. Two years ago it became the national distributor for DENSO spark plugs, and it is currently looking for new distributors countrywide. The company now employs 17 staff, runs a fleet of four trucks and holds up to 50,000 litres of oil on its sites.
Keith says, “I started out in sales and marketing and always knew we had to keep growing and changing. If we had stayed solely with mechanical fuel injection we would been left behind by now.”
One of his first big decisions was to move the workshop to Petone to take advantage of the large amount of traffic that flowed past. “I doubled the turnover in a year and kept growing.”
The company has a long-term strategy for further diversification. “We’ll be putting more of a national focus on what we do, with different products, more branches and more staff,” says Keith – not wanting to give away too many secrets. Much of the company’s expansion over the years has been down to always being open to opportunity. “We’ve also been given opportunities because of how we present ourselves to the market,” says Keith.
LOYALTY AND TRUST
Keith’s son David is the company’s Lubricants Manager. He says, “It’s all about trust. We are local people, we deal with local businesses and we make sure we provide a really high quality of service.”
Diesel and Turbo Wellington supplies Caltex oil to clients throughout the lower half of the North Island. The business offers a 24-hour call-out service, so clients, like roading contractors working through the night, can rely on prompt help when they need it.
“If a big earthmover blows an oil hose they can lose 1,200 litres in under a minute. They don’t have that amount on oil on hand, so we need to be able to deliver it quickly.”
With over 100 oil brands on sale in New Zealand, Diesel and Turbo has a big advantage over competitors by holding large supplies in the Wellington and Wairarapa regions. Many of the other brands have to order in supplies from other cities.
Sales Manager Tom Bracken says, “It’s all about speed to market. Plus Caltex is a well-known and trusted brand.”
Lubricants are a big part of the company’s annual multi-million dollar turnover, with new contracts being tendered for as a matter of routine. “We supply small repair workshops through to big agricultural contractors and construction companies," says Tom. "Oil is a very competitive game, but with Caltex standing behind us we are very competitive on pricing with the direct oil companies.”
Diesel and Turbo offers a range of Caltex supply contracts to its customers. “We can do a full fit out and supply, including installing the storage, waste oil containers, hoses, reels, and so on. We have different supply arrangements for recouping those costs,” explains David. Sales and Marketing Specialist Mike Graham says, “A big part of our work is arming customers with knowledge of our products so they know how to properly meet the various warranties modern engines require.” Caltex Oils has over 200 products in its range “so we cover all the bases”.
Mike has been charged with building up product sales and recognition. This includes building a new website – one that allows orders to be made online for its DENSO and Caltex products.
INSIDE THE WORKSHOP
The company’s workshop in Wellington specialises in fuel injection systems and its staff are experts in their field. Keith says finding highly qualified people when he has a vacancy can be difficult, and over the years he has hired people from all over the world. He invests heavily in ‘growing his own’ talent.
“Most of the training programmes are now Australian-based and so we send staff there on a regular basis.”
There’s a big emphasis on providing the right working and employment conditions to make sure everyone is happy and enjoying their jobs. The Wellington workshop claims to have the country’s first approved ‘clean room’ – a positive pressure room where fuel injection systems are reassembled, without any chance of dust or other fine particles getting into the works.
Technician Alex Gill says the tolerances on all the components of these systems are so fine you’re into microns of measurement. Any dust and the system is compromised.
As shown in this photo, the workshop also has separate rooms where all Bosch and Denso/Delphi pumps are put through the test bench, calibrated and tested to make sure they meet the manufacturers specifications after repair.