Drivetrain is the dependable ally OEMs dream of having

drivetrain, the venture magazineWhen heavy industry OEMs need the stars to align with superior distribution setups beneath the Southern Cross, they look to Drivetrain. With Centre of Excellence (COE) facilities in Thornton, NSW, and Perth, WA, along with many other workshops around Australia, Drivetrain serves some of the most lauded global OEMs in the mining, defence, marine, energy, and transport sectors, keeping valuable power and propulsion assets in tip-top shape no matter the application.

With a national footprint that spans the continent as well as New Zealand, Indonesia, and Singapore, the 30-year-old Engenco Limited (ASX:EGN) subsidiary is one of the most respected in the region. A-list brands partnering with Drivetrain include Dana Spicer, Kovatera, Axletech, Oilex, Windrock, Zahroof, Siemens, Kessler, Williams Controls, and Driveshaft — to name a few.

Meeting the asset management needs of these companies requires technical acuity, intense collaboration, a thorough understanding of customers’ expectations and timeframes, and an organisation designed with the agility required to meet a range of varied demands, from parts replacement and routine maintenance to complete overhauls. The markets Drivetrain serves are highly regulated, sophisticated, and are dependent upon responsive, mission-critical lifecycle asset management partners.

Drivetrain’s customised end-to-end solutions cover a wide scope of needs, such as engineering support, component repair and overhaul, asset and component monitoring, and on-site support for plants and equipment. “It’s a big promise,” admits company Executive GM Shane Stafford. “It's our job to link the key strategic brands, which best aligns with the customer’s asset, and if need be apply technical and engineering services to that product to make sure that we give that customer the best component or piece of equipment that will work for them in their application.”

drivetrain, the venture magazinePutting the right component in the right hands at the right time is just the beginning. Drivetrain also maintains and supports each product, supplying parts and services to the customer on site.

“When the major components are due for removal and overhaul, we offer support by removing and installing those components, whether it's an engine, axle, transmission, or other component. We bring it back to one of our many workshop facilities around the country, we strip it, assess it, repair it, and send it back to the customer as a new product for its next round of life,” he explained.

With a formidable slate of capabilities in its wheelhouse, one thing Drivetrain doesn’t have is a one-size-fits-all methodology. “We try to be flexible and easy to do business with as possible. Some customers may want a handful of parts replaced, whilst others may want a complete overhaul. We work with our customers to understand what is driving their decision when selecting a component repair or overhaul option (turnaround time, cost, life cycle strategy, etc.) and come up with a solution that meets and/or exceeds their expectations.

“Once we've understood the scope from the strip and assess criteria, we then overhaul the product using specialised tooling, which are uniquely designed tools that we have either purchased from our OEM partners, or engineered to improve our efficiencies and keep costs at a minimum.” Components are overhauled, reassembled, tested, and commissioned. “Once the component has met the criteria designed by the OEM, it's painted and sealed and delivered back to the customer or placed in our warehouse as a new product and supported by its warranty.”

Representation matters

drivetrain, the venture magazineOEMs don't give the agency agreements out to just anyone. Each manufacturer has strict criteria for brands, and demands that representation is on point, every time. “Some of our partners have told me that the Drivetrain business model is what they look for globally when they look for an agency or dealer to support them or represent them in another market,” Stafford revealed.

The reasons are many. “The national footprint, the engineering and application services, and the customer-facing resources that we supply, the support by Engenco ... we are transparent with our financial situations and our strategic brands. There’s a number of things we do, and we can demonstrate to these brands why they should partner with us to represent their product.”

An important differentiator for Drivetrain is their dedicated supply chain team, which interacts with key suppliers on a daily basis. “We have invested in specialised inventory management software system, developed an experienced supply chain team along with specific KPI and metrics to make sure that our suppliers are supporting us as much as we're supporting them, and we also have key relationship support through the supply chain with freight companies. Freight forwarding is critical to make sure that we understand time frames of delivery, availability, and understanding what needs to be ordered when and to make sure that it is delivered in full and on time.”

Drivetrain’s Through Life Support program, which covers assets through the entire life cycle, depends on flawless supply chain and inventory management. As Stafford put it, “We do that by having a high-performing team, good open communication with our brands and suppliers, a reliable IT system, and metrics that are frequently reviewed right up to senior management.”

People and Culture

drivetrain, the venture magazineFrom an organisational culture standpoint, Drivetrain is committed to its status as a top tier partner and is focused on building a high performing culture where employees are motivated to deliver outstanding results, while providing quality products in a safe workplace.

“We recognise the vital connection between leadership and our ability to lead, partner, and innovate with our clients to continuously improve our products and services,” Stafford said. “All leaders understand our vision and work together to coach, mentor, and encourage employees to work constructively with clients.

“We have a focussed and realistic People and Culture Plan, with five key messages that are communicated through-out the organisation so that everyone is clear about the journey we are on.”

Those key messages are:

  • “We must look forward with positivity and optimism. The past is history. Learn from it, but don’t let it define us.”
  • “It is in our power to create sustainable business if we live by our values and strive for excellence in everything we do.”
  • “It’s all about safety, quality, and value for our customers.”
  • “Our processes and systems are evolving. We must align them with our values.”
  • “Everyone’s effort, passion, and professionalism make a difference.”

“Good culture is wanting to come to work and do the best you can for the business, and when you’re driven to succeed because you believe in me and I believe in you,” Stafford said. “The way we do this is to remove bottlenecks and obstacles and enable our teams to get the best result.”

Stafford and the senior Drivetrain management team spend a great deal of time on the road, visiting every branch in the region every quarter. “From mechanics and warehouse personnel to the office staff to our customers and key brand suppliers, we work to understand what we can do to make our team better.”

In addition to a deep knowledge base and the expertise and leadership required to serve the best of the best in some of the most challenging environments and applications, Drivetrain is passionately connected to their customers. “Our aim is to get as close to our customers as possible, on as many fronts as possible. We’ve established an unrivalled service organisation with a high level of flexibility that few can match, and that makes us one of the best partners a customer and OEM can have.”