With dealerships and service centres across the country operating 7 days a week and representing nine vehicle brands, Andrew Simms is a busy man. We met Andrew at one of his Newmarket showrooms in Auckland to find out what matters most to his business when it comes to electricity and their supplier.
Tell us about how you got started?
“I literally started at the bottom. I took a job as a car groomer in the holidays during my first year at University in Dunedin and loved it. It gave me a great opportunity to observe from the periphery how the car business operated - and I asked lots of questions. Fast forward several holidays and arguments with my parents over my career choice, I took the plunge and joined the sales team. I wouldn’t say I am a natural born salesperson, but I believed if I took the time to talk to customers and really understand what they were looking for I would get the right outcome. 10 years later, with a Sales Manager and Dealer Principal role under my belt I saw an opportunity to purchase the Mitsubishi dealership I was working at in Christchurch. A colleague and I leveraged everything we had and bought it”
Two years later I bought my partner out and over the next few years my company took on more Mitsubishi dealerships in Dunedin and Auckland. We learned a lot but eventually needed to right size our operations and during the process separated the businesses. Today my company has four dealerships that sell around 550 new and used cars and service more than 5000 vehicles per annum.
What do you love about your business?
Last year we opened our new Botany experience centre. It is a fantastic and unique collaboration of vehicle brands under one roof in a very customer focused environment. Visitors are greeted by a concierge, offered superb customer lounge facilities and are invited to browse the eight vehicle ranges we represent at Botany or relax and enjoy the centre whilst their car is being serviced. We are really proud of our offering at Botany. It was great to be involved from its inception and exceed customers’ expectations by pushing the boundaries of the traditional car showroom.
What else do you love about the car industry Andrew?
I love working with people rather than working with cars. It remains an exciting and highly competitive business, but one that has been very good to me.
You operate 7 days a week from large premises in multiple locations with various operational functions. How does power supply impact your business every day?
Power is one of our largest operating costs. Our retail showrooms are expansive and have to be well lit day and night to showcase the brands we represent. They are fully temperature controlled for comfort and we run AV presentations, offer customer refreshment and workstation zones and house our sales, service and accounts support teams and essential IT and comms systems. Our service centre’s also rely heavily on power usage for every aspect of their delivery.
What are you looking for from your power supplier?
Every aspect of our business relies heavily on power so reliability of supply is of paramount importance. Because we have multiple locations and multiple business functions we wanted a power supplier who understood our needs, made it simple for us and delivered us savings.
What has Utilise done for you?
They spent time getting to know our business. They visited our locations and analysed the way and when we use power. They took this information and came up with a plan that has delivered us savings on our electricity bills across the board. With multiple sites our accounts team were keen to see one bill for admin simplicity which Utilise provides. The bill gives a location breakdown and usage summary which is helpful for us to keep track and be aware of any unexpected changes.
Some businesses fear switching suppliers will be a hassle. What was your experience?
The switch process itself was managed by Utilise so was no hassle at all. We spent a little time at the front end assisting their Team with the analysis of our power usage and spend, but it was exactly what we needed to give us a better understanding and its resulted in the savings Utilise are delivering us. Our savings began as soon as we switched, and the switch was seamless.
Do you have any advice for people considering switching to Utilise.
When you are busy running your business it is very easy to become complacent about essential operating costs such as power supply and assume you are getting a good deal. My advice would be to test it. Utilise services the business sector only so they take the time to get to know their customers and work out the best plan to deliver you savings.