Pieter Niemand stepped in as Director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) this month (July).
Niemand has been involved in the motor industry for 10 years. “I was very fortunate to start my working career under the guidance of the late Dr Anton Rupert, an Industrialist and a phenomenal business personality. He believed in specific business principals and I took those and still to this day practice them which I believe has led to success,” he says.
He adds that although the motor industry is complex and demanding it is also rewarding working with honest hard-working families creating jobs and hope for thousands of South Africans. “I became involved in the industry from a more business than technical perception and have had the opportunity to grow over time to really love the industry. Historical and current responsibilities in an ever-changing environment have however forced me to be more involved in a practical manner. Fortunately, this has been made easier with the support and assistance of Retail Motor Industry (RMI) members serving in various structures.”
Over the years, Niemand says the most notable changes in the industry have come from developing technology. “The advent of CanBus information systems to transfer instructions from the driver to the various parts of the vehicle changed the industry.” Along with that the methods of induction that have evolved over the years to improve fuel efficiency and emission controls have allowed for increased performance from smaller and smaller engines, with the use of Turbochargers and Super-Chargers in various forms either individually or in combinations with each other.
“What all this means is that technicians that have to perform servicing and maintenance have to be well versed in the technologies employed in the vehicles of today, as opposed to the old-fashioned Points, Plugs and Condenser services. The increased efficiency of oil lubricants and filtration, the removal of leaded fuel, the increased ignition systems etc have all lead to another major change in the industry over the years relating to service intervals. Where in the past service intervals of 5000km needed to be adhered to we now see intervals exceeding 30 000km. This has impacted on the level of business to be had in the workshop environment.”
“With the rate of change having been so rapid in recent years one can but only wonder where the next 10 years will lead as far as the internal combustion driven vehicle is concerned and not forgetting electrically driven developments which are looming rapidly too,” he says.
As the Association Director of MIWA, Niemand’s responsibilities include elements of facilitation, management, investigation, development, sales, guidance, training and administration. “The industry demands continuous improvement, which demands guidance at all levels. As Director I am required to remain abreast of these demands and provide assistance to the association in navigating these demands.”
He says, as the biggest association within the RMI, MIWA certainly has a prominent role and responsibility to fulfil, creating structures to serve as references for members conducting business on a day-to-day basis. “The MIWA brand is now a recognised and trusted brand in both the eye of industry and certainly the consumer. We have gained tremendous respect as experts in the industry and it is of utmost importance to maintain the positive momentum. My aim is to focus on specific objectives and priorities to create a culture where MIWA members will want to be part of the inner circle of a well-informed and structured business unit. MIWA is its members and the members are MIWA. We need to stand together as a collective voice,” he says.