Orbit: Keeping the wheels rolling to the chequered flag

Tremendously proud and blessed. This is the reaction of Cornél Oelofse, Franchise Executive at Orbit Commercial Vehicles Cape Town, after the dealership took the top title as Daimler Truck Southern Africa’s (DTSA) Dealer of the Year.

23 Orbit Cornel1

What makes this such an impressive feat, is that this is the second consecutive year that the dealership has won the title as overall top performer, in addition to bagging some of the other big categories as well.

“It is an honour and it’s very special for our team of 122 employees that our teamwork and focus are being recognised at the highest level,” Cornél tells Dealerfloor.

“The award is also bitter-sweet for us. Our service manager, Johan Mostert, passed away three weeks before the awards function, and his hard work and dedication played an important part in what we offer customers in terms of after-sales support.”

Cornél Oelofse, Franchise Executive: Orbit Commercial Vehicles.

Super Group acquired Orbit seven years ago. According to Cornél, with any change in ownership comes new challenges and a new way of thinking about running the business. “It took time to get into a new rhythm and for staff to adapt to it. We saw our efforts come to fruition when we won the award last year and now once again this year,” he says.

But what is the philosophy driving the success of a huge business such as Orbit Commercial Vehicles?

“We try to keep it simple. We strive to attract as many customers to our business as possible and to then keep them as part of our ‘family’ forever. Our involvement stretches much further than just selling and servicing. We are a business working with businesses, and we make it our business to understand the needs of our customers.

Members of the Orbit team are (Back), Hilgardt van Nieuwenhuizen (Site Leader: Orbit CV Worcester), Danie Delport (Parts Manager: Orbit CV Worcester), Johan Theron (Parts Manager: Orbit CV Cape Town), Nicholas Mnyamana (Parts Key Account Manager: Orbit Commercial Vehicles), Morné Janse van Rensburg (Finance and Insurance Manager) and Morné Simon (Brand Sales Manager: FUSO). Seated are Lucy Garnett (Service Admin Supervisor: Orbit Commercial Vehicles), Danorah Maasz (Branch Accountant: Orbit Commercial Vehicles), Cornél Oelofse (Franchise Executive: Orbit Commercial Vehicles), Carla Swart (Financial Manager: Orbit Commercial Vehicles) and Johan Potgieter (Brand Sales Manager: Mercedes-Benz Trucks).

“Therefore, it is important for us to know what aspects of our products and services can influence the progress of a business. A close relationship between us and our clients is an essential part of the way we conduct our business operations. We understand that any downtime on a truck or bus means no income, as the vehicle is a tool to generate revenue.”

Orbit Commercial Vehicles is one of four dealerships in the DTSA dealer network classified as Large Volume Dealerships. Although the smallest of the four, it is currently the only one with a showroom designed to house all the products it sells. This includes Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Buses, FUSO Trucks, as well as the Mercedes-Benz Vans (Sprinter & Vito) division which is, like Mercedes-Benz Cars, a separate entity and not a part of DTSA as such.

“In 2019, Super Group invested in a brand-new state-of-the-art facility, built on 30 000 m² of land. The facility houses a 5 000 m² parts warehouse that stocks roughly R90m worth of Mercedes-Benz Truck, Bus, Vans and FUSO parts to support our Western Cape customers.

“This enormous, cutting-edge facility services a large area, and our bus division’s area of responsibility stretches even further into the Northern Cape,” says Cornél. The Mercedes-Benz Bus division became part of Orbit Commercial Vehicles about three years ago.

Orbit also has a second, smaller outlet in Worcester, which is franchised for the servicing and supply of parts to Daimler Trucks’ customers in the Breede Valley and surrounds.

What does the future hold for Orbit Commercial Vehicles?

“We are always on the look-out for opportunities within our brand and group to expand, to increase market share, and to find innovative ways to add value for our customers,” notes Cornél.

“In terms of our staff, we believe in the principle that we adapted from our Executive, Brett Rowlands, that our employees should be able, willing and most importantly ‘allowed’ to apply their knowledge and expertise. We are here for all who keep Africa moving,” Cornél concludes.

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