Innovating is nice, making money is too Training provider TTA International enters phase 3.0 under the leadership of Simon Meintema.
TTA in Automobiel Management
Alex Swagemakers recently moved aside to make room for Simon Meintema at training institute TTA International. There is no lack of challenges in the knowledge market, says the new director. “We are moving from just in case to just in time.”
Technical developments in the car industry are evolving at an ever-increasing pace. They are also much more readily filtering down from the premium segment to the mass-produced models. New forms of drive gear; navigation screens that display a W as soon as Wikipedia can provide a tip on the way; driving by Google Streetview; keyless entry; DVD screens with applications for Facebook, Twitter and other social media; adaptive cruise control; lane departure warning; break assist. “The technical challenges at the workplace remain gigantic,” observes Simon Meintema. “Today's mechanics can no longer be expected to know a model from bumper to bumper as was the case in the eighties and nineties.” Diagnosis systems will also quickly become more and more intelligent and provide the right knowledge at the right time. “From ‘just in case’ (a wide range of general, school-acquired know-how) we are moving towards ‘just in time, exactly right and exactly enough’. He sees the recent agreement with MAN Trucks as a nice example. The German manufacturer will now be having electrical failures analysed with the ActiveSchematics AutoRendering software package developed by TTA. Within a few seconds the program converts the information in cable harnesses online to electrical diagrams that technicians can understand and quickly analyse. The diagrams also only show the part of the complex wiring diagram that is relevant to the problem. “I am convinced that this software that we will be offering worldwide will cause a revolution in repair diagnostics.” The Dordrecht based company has already received requests on behalf of the German Bundeswehr and GM to build comparable custom programming solutions for their products. Secondment
TTA International is a knowledge partner for many car manufacturers. Suppliers also form part of the clientele. The company set up in 1987 by Alex Swagemakers is particularly known for its wide range of training courses. A less known fact is that the training provider also offers secondment and software development services. Meintema (49) sums up this expansion in breadth and depth under the denominator TTA 3.0. From a company that started out as a one-man business and that was originally strongly allied with General Motors, the specialist has evolved to become a service provider with some hundred people on the payroll. Meintema calls the break from GM/OPEL Nederland in the mid-nineties phase 2.0. And after the economically turbulent years 2009/2010 in which major customers such as Kroymans and GM (temporarily) disappeared, TTA is now the organisation it should be, according to the new managing director. “We have made many internal gains by structuring things differently. Sales and Operations, for example, are more distinctly separate. Before, the person selling the training also often provided it. This set-up did not turn out to be ideal for us or the customer. First we need to focus a hundred per cent on the requirements of the customer. Only then do we move on to the actual provision of the training, in the best conditions imaginable, exactly in conformity with the arrangements and preferably such that we exceed the customer’s expectations.” TTA has also managed to win a number of new accounts in the recent difficult years. Cost-aware brand importers started looking at their contracts with external parties with a more critical eye. Prolonging agreements on automatic pilot fell from favour. Consequence: Mazda became a customer for the first time, just like the Pon car makes. “And not because we were a tad less expensive. No, for substantive reasons.” Efficiency
According to Meintema, the distinctive character difference with TTA founder Alex Swagemakers (from now on External Advisor) is his stronger focus on efficiency. “We are both innovative by nature, but Alex is more of a pioneer.” In the new constellation the two consult each other on Monday mornings. Even if an idea is really great, the new director does not immediately and unconditionally give it priority. “I closely monitor the feasibility and consequences for our company. It is often better to allow new ideas to germinate for a while alongside your daily operations instead of them going straight against the grain of your normal production process, disrupting existing operations. Everyone wants to do new, nice things at the expense of the core activity. Focus is important; we have seen this again in 2009 and 2010. Innovating is nice and absolutely necessary, but at the end of the day you just have to make money first.” TTA and ATG
In line with the separation of spirits in the automotive market, in Dordrecht the name TTA International is used for the brand manufacturers and their local importers only. The ATG label is aimed at the independent channel. In both cases the trainers all have a higher professional education background (car engineering at higher technical school) with a teaching certificate or training for motor vehicle technology instructor. The range of OEM clients served by TTA not only includes car manufacturers. There are also two-wheeler manufacturers such as Piaggio, Vespa and Harley Davidson. Another recent acquisition is Fisker. TTA is developing the European aftersales training for the electrically driven Karma. Source: Automobiel Management (12 aug 2011)
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites