Harley-Davidson S'pore's renovated workshop provides faster service

You catch the smell of fresh paint in the air as you enter the motorcycle workshop.

"Colour-coded" floor tiles demarcate where motorbikes are allowed to be ridden by service technicians.

Inside the L-shaped workshop, 12 new motorised bike lifts, capable of being operated via remote control, flank the central "driveway".

Welcome to Harley-Davidson Singapore's newly renovated motorcycle service and repair workshop on the fourth storey of the Komoco Motors building in Alexandra Road.

SHORTER WAIT

The renovation, which took two months, is the dealership's way of streamlining its servicing process and reducing "downtime" for customers, service manager Lee Su Hai tells The New Paper on Sunday during a tour.

"With more work bays, we're able to cut down waiting time," says Mr Lee, 57, who keeps track of Harleys being serviced.

"It's fast-in and fast-out. We aim to return customers' serviced motorcycles quicker."

Mr Lee Su Hai (in white shirt), Harley-Davidson of Singapore's service manager, says the newly-renovated workshop allows for a shorter down time for customers and a more efficient work flow. The black hoses in the background extracts exhaust fumes from the Harley motorbikes. Photo: The New Paper

Near the entrance of the workshop, a handful of motorcycles with brightly-coloured tags indicate they've been serviced or inspected before delivery.

A wall on the left with images of Big Twins is dedicated to the nine generations of Harley engines.

It used to take between 15 and 20 days for a Harley owner to get a slot to service a motorbike. Now, the waiting time has been cut to five days.

The new format allows the workshop to service about 10 motorcycles a day, says Mr Lee.

While the Harley dealership has declined to reveal the amount spent on the workshop renovation, TNPS understands its showroom would be undergoing a similar makeover.

Harley-Davidson Singapore sales manager Willy Low discloses that soon there will be a larger customer lounge, indoor delivery area and a more prominent Parts and Accessories section on its showroom floor.

Says Mr Low: "It's clearly a move to show our commitment to the business and our customers.

"We want to take care of our customers and give them the complete Harley experience."

From what we see, the changes to the 530 sq m workshop - roughly the size of four Housing Board executive flats - is not purely cosmetic. Workflow efficiency and enhanced safety are key priorities.

Adds Mr Lee: "Our proposed layout had to fit Harley's corporate identity and ensure safety for the technicians. Even the colours (in the workshop) had to be approved (by the head office)."

We are told that the motorised bike lifts came highly recommended as they are more reliable than the previous pneumatic ones.

Each technician has a work bay which allows free movement around a bike with personal tools at arm's length.

SAFER ENVIRONMENT

The workshop is air-conditioned and if a Harley needs to be fired up, special hoses - called exhaust fumes extractors - are connected to the motorcycle's exhaust pipes.

Harmful gases are then channelled into an overhead rail system and pumped out of the workshop.

For major repairs or troubleshooting, technicians simply need to "plug-in" and view the diagnostic error codes on specialised laptops.

Mr Lee says: "There's no guess work with technology. Our technicians can go straight to the source of a bike's problem. This way, we don't waste a customer's time and money."

Don't expect to see greasy floors or tools thrown into one big box. The floors are spotless and tools are kept in drawers. There is order and cleanliness at Harley's new workshop.

To instil a sense of pride, a small photograph of each technician is placed on a wall closest to that technician's work space.

At the end of the day, the technicians are required to keep their personal work bays clean, says foreman Abraham Muralli.

Mr Muralli, 41, says: "It's a welcome change and a morale booster for technicians. By utilising the space well, our work becomes more efficient and we don't get in each other's way."

zaihan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 30, 2016.
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