Building business with the bilstein group

June 10, 2024
Building business with the bilstein group bilstein group’s sales team in Ireland LtoR:John Cooney, Business Development Mgr, NI, Ronan Conneally, Business Development Manager & Colin Kennedy, National Sales Manager

With three high profile brands in febi, Blue Print and SWAG, bilstein group is one parts supplier that places a great emphasis on the support it can offer its customers in the Irish aftermarket. It not only has some of the very best digital support and information services available, including the highly thought of Partsfinder catalogue, but also has three of its own representatives based in and dedicated to the Irish market.

This means more regular and meaningful contact with both motor factor stockists and workshops, something that has seen its brands gain significantly in popularity. 

Ireland is somewhat unique in its distribution arrangements, with a tier of distribution companies between the factors and parts suppliers. Many parts suppliers therefore concentrate on dealings with their distributors and only have limited contact with factors, something that can restrict the flow of information and affect factor brand sales. 

bilstein group’s differing approach means that the sales team in Ireland not only works closely with its distributors, but also factor stockists right around the country. bilstein group National Sales Manager, Colin Kennedy explains, “We recognise that distributors have a wide portfolio of brands and products to take care of and cannot always devote the required time to specific brands. By having a team in the marketplace, we are able to better communicate with motor factors about the latest product developments, help them to identify new opportunities and ensure that they have the right stock profiles to meet changing demand.” 

Colin Kennedy has been with bilstein group for 11 years and has more than 20 years experience in the motor trade. He has excellent knowledge of the Irish market, as well as in depth expertise in the complete bilstein group brand range.  

Ronan Conneally is Business Development Manager and has some 27 years’ experience across the motor dealer and aftermarket distribution in Ireland. He is very well known in the industry and has an excellent working relationship with motor factors right across the county.  

Business Development manager for Northern Ireland is John Cooney. John has over 33 years experience in various roles in the automotive industry, including technical sales and workshop management. He is also trained in EV service and repair. 

It is rare for any parts supplier to have such an extensive and experienced team based in Ireland, with other suppliers often relying on sporadic visits from UK and European representative. With bilstein group, product experts are both local and extremely knowledgeable.  

John explains, “New to range product is a major focus of our brands. We are constantly adding new items, with many being “fast to market”, where we are first with aftermarket availability and in some cases we are the only aftermarket supplier for some considerable time. This means that by informing motor factors of what is being added to our range, we are presenting them with some unique sales opportunities, as well as offering garages a more economical alternative to dealer sourced parts.”

Indeed providing an alternative to dealer parts is also an important thrust of the offer from febi, Blue Print and SWAG. Ronan points out, “Often a garage will find a less common component needs replacing and assume that is only available from a dealer. We can often offer an easy and cost effective alternative. A garage or factor can simply check our Partsfinder online catalogue and will often find that part is not only available in one or more of our brands, but also in OE quality, at a far better price and with a shorter lead time.” Ronan adds, “Also, very often our product development team will look at an in-demand item, or common vehicle issue and come up with a more innovative solution. This might be, for example, supplying a part with all fittings to make the job and ordering simpler, or offering individual suspension components rather than complete units.”

Motor factors are also impressed by the fact that bilstein group brands have comprehensive all makes coverage and an up to the minute range, catering for some of the latest EV requirements. Colin comments, “With febi, Blue Print and SWAG we can effectively offer a one stop shop for the majority of parts needs. We are also consistently developing our range to provide even more coverage in areas such as drive shafts, rotating electrics and calipers. Single source supply saves time when it comes to ordering and admin and means a factor can have a more consistent and recognisable product offer, backed by our local team.” He adds, “We can also call on the support of our European manufacturing and distribution network, which includes fast access to parts at our huge UK distribution centre.”  

For more information on how bilstein group brands could benefit your business, please call your local representative.

Free access to the Partsfinder online catalogue HERE 

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