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DEALERSHIP service staff from Perth and Wollongong have emerged as the standout performers in Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited’s 20th annual National Skills Competition.

At the final held in Adelaide recently, Dylan Timms from Paceway Mitsubishi in Osborne Park, north of the Perth CBD, was crowned National Sales Skills Champion while James Tate from Southside Mitsubishi in Cannington, south of the Swan River, took out the Service Adviser of the Year award.

Ben Panetta from Gateway Mitsubishi in Wollongong, New South Wales, won the coveted Technician of the Year award.

Cream of the crop: Mitsubishi’s global aftersales training manager Tomoei Watanabe (left) and MMAL CEO John Signoriello (far right) with winners Ben Panetta (technician), James Tate (service adviser) and Dylan Timms (sales).

There were five finalists in each category, all of whom were among a pool of more than 2500 dealer employees across Australia – 1124 technicians, 730 sales representatives and 673 service advisers – who competed in the three-stage competition which involves preliminary testing and regional qualifying rounds before the final is staged.

Mr Timms won the sales skills category from Dale Timmins (Motorama Mitsubishi, Springwood, Qld), Jordan Merline (Suttons Mitsubishi, Arncliffe, NSW), Ben MacKenzie (Agostino Mitsubishi, Elizabeth, SA) and Blair McPherson (Devonport Mitsubishi, Tasmania).

Among the service advisers, Mr Tate finished ahead of Theo Barlabas (Brighton Mitsubishi, Vic), Danielle Richardson (Kloster Mitsubishi, Hamilton, NSW), Gary Wong (Australian Motors Mitsubishi, Morphett Vale, SA) and Kylie Graham (Zupps Mitsubishi, Mt Gravatt, Qld).

The technicians division was also keenly contested, with Mr Panetta taking the award from Phil Simon (Lilydale Mitsubishi, Vic), Matt Greet (North East Mitsubishi, Hillcrest, SA), Kannan Kumaravadivel (John Hughes Mitsubishi, Victoria Park, WA) and Wayne Harman, also from Motorama Mitsubishi in Brisbane.

As with most skills competitions run by the major car-makers, program participants are required to draw on their product knowledge, practical skills and ability to solve problems based on genuine customer scenarios.

MMAL product and sales training manager Lee Davey said the program was deliberately designed to be “robust” in order to ensure that Mitsubishi customers experience “a consistently high standard of customer service and expertise in our dealer network”.

“The program is one of the ways Mitsubishi acknowledges how important exceptional service is to our business,” he said.

Among the senior executives to attend the presentation ceremony was Mitsubishi Motors Corporation manager of aftersales training (service engineering department) Tomoei Watanabe and MMAL chief executive John Signoriello.

By Terry Martin