By Francis Marcotte
Vice President of Parts, Eastern Canada
Girardin Blue Bird’s parts department is undergoing a transformation. While some organizations resist change, we welcome it and see it as an opportunity to improve and grow.
From personnel shortage, supply chain disruptions, rising prices and falling demand due to changes in consumer habits, it’s fair to say that the pandemic has forced businesses to think differently these past two years. For the Girardin’s parts department team, the pandemic gave way to a period of reassessing and revaluating our service offering and innovating our industry to meet our customers’ needs as best we can. As such, we’ve made significant investments in people and technology to ensure that the parts department is well-positioned to face any challenges that lie ahead.
Serving our clients better
The first of many advancements our team implemented was an e-commerce platform to serve the aftermarket better. Since going live, the platform means that Girardin is the sole bus parts distributor in the country. Clients now have access to products via an online catalogue and benefit from better rates and fast delivery. This e-commerce site also amounts to significant savings in time and money. Above all else, customers favour its easy “one-stop-shop” approach. Although the traditional way of ordering parts is still an option, this new online shopping system is in place to help time-strapped customers. Completely reorganizing our parts department was going to happen eventually, but the pandemic brought on these significant changes sooner rather than later.
The right piece at the right time
Girardin’s two warehouses total over 43,000 sq. ft., and the buildings are home to an inventory with an estimated worth of over $9M—suffice to say, whatever the part or accessory you’re looking for, we’re confident we’ll have it on hand. Quebec’s mandatory school bus electrification will likely affect the parts we carry; we intend to carry diesel bus parts for years to come. We are committed to taking steps to ensure our customers find the parts they need to run their bus routes as efficiently as possible.
If we don’t have the parts you need on hand, we’ll find them for you. That’s our guarantee.
A dedicated, growing team
Behind our massive parts supply is a team of experts and technical advisors dedicated to the satisfaction of our clients. Our team comprises more than forty employees, and each is working tirelessly to provide the best solutions possible. Our engineers, buyers, salespeople, and managers all share a common goal: a commitment to providing top-notch service to all clients, big and small. Electrifying future bus fleets is no small task and requires advanced technological skills. As a result, the Girardin team has consulted with experts in electric vehicles to understand the ins and outs of everything from electrical engines to charging stations. A comprehensive in-house training program is available, providing the team with the knowledge needed to guide customers in their decision. In some ways, our parts professionals are hybrid, too, not unlike the vehicles we manufacture! Their in-depth knowledge of both types of buses—diesel and electric—means they are well-equipped to provide the best.
Bus electrification is now mandatory in Quebec, and this trend is expected to accelerate over time and in other markets. As the demand for vehicles changes, so will our customers’ needs, which is why we’ve made sure to keep investing in and upgrading our parts and service departments. As always, no matter the type of bus you intend on operating, Girardin has the right features available at the right price.