MEET LUCIAN JANTJIES; AXALTA REFINISH BUSINESS MANAGER SA
Automotive Refinisher took time out to catch up with Lucian Jantjies, Axalta Refinish Business Manager South Africa. The interview is an interesting read with a great guy.
Q: Tell us a bit about your paint refinish career in South Africa.
A: My paint career started in 1994 at Plascon Automotive and over the years I worked my way up to Brand Sales Manager. In 2016 I joined Axalta Refinish as Business Development Manager for the Sub Sahara region, I then became National Sales Manager followed by Strategic Sales and Key Accounts Manager.
Q: What is your new title and responsibility?
A: Today I am the Axalta Refinish Business Manager South Africa. My remit is to grow the overall Axalta Refinish market share and to leverage the strength of the Axalta Refinish paint brands in South Africa. I want the Axalta Refinish paint brands to be the first choice for South African body shops thanks to the quality of the products, the benefits available and the fact they are all backed up by superb technical support.
Q: How has the team been restructured?
A: As we are continuing to expand here in South Africa and to develop our local market share, we have reshaped the team to cater to these growing business demands. To this end and to best service our existing and our future customers, we have created dedicated channel partners coupled with strategic sales and account management teams.
Our headquarters can be found in Midrand where most of the local leadership and staff are located. In addition, we have a full team of back-office staff taking care of customer relations, supply chain and administrative requirements. Our regional training centre is managed by a dedicated training leader with support for the national network of technicians.
Q: Axalta has developed many high-performance coatings systems which cover OEMs and family-run body shops. How are you thinking of bolstering your customer relationships?
A: It is important that we understand the daily challenges our body shops face in a difficult economic climate. This helps us to deliver mutually beneficial and profitable business growth solutions. Without question our customers are at the heart of everything we do – and we work hard every day to ensure our customer relationships continue to be successful and harmonious. We constantly evaluate our progress and communicate openly and frequently about how best to continue to provide innovative solutions and products.
Q Providing an innovative colour back-up to collision repair centres has become a vital part of this business, how are you advancing to keep pace with this demand?
AThe key to our success is that at Axalta, we always strive to be at the forefront of innovation. But we don’t just innovate – we innovate with purpose. We constantly look for ways to do better business, to support our customers to work as cost-efficiently as possible and to maximise their profitability. We work non-stop to find new ways to boost body shops’ capacities and help them to work more efficiently, profitably and sustainably. Everything we do starts with us listening to and understanding the needs of our customers. This includes colour development. Our desire for innovation, coupled with our motivation to deliver accurate up-to-date colour solutions, is inextricably linked to our fully cloud-based digital solutions available to the end-users.
Q: Axalta has introduced Axalta Irus Mix to maximise spray painting cycle profitability in the repair side of things, has this been launched locally and will it be?
A: The design and development of Axalta Irus Mix was a natural progression for us. Axalta Irus Mix is the fastest fully automated, hands-free refinish mixing machine on the market. It’s game-changing technology three years in the making. We globally launched Axalta Irus Mix in May, in Amsterdam, in front of clients from all over Europe as well as international media. The event was a tremendous success and the interest in Axalta Irus Mix has been overwhelming. We are now in the process of installing the first Axalta Irus Mix machines around Europe and we look forward to rolling this out across the globe in due course.
Q: Sustaining relationships with your valued customers in such a volatile refinish market as South Africa has remained a key focus. How have you improved on these relationships with customers and distributors?
A: We work hard behind the scenes to provide our body shops with a range of products, tools and services to increase efficiency and to reduce costs, where possible.