Melett, which supplies the UK with turbochargers and parts, has expanded its partnership with Universal Turbos, who offer a complete turbo repair and replacement service. Here, in an exclusive interview, James Hard, Technical Director at Universal Turbos, explains how this partnership benefits independent garages.
What drove you to form Universal Turbos?
“We started in 1988, and when we began, we were targeting the automotive sector but due to our location in Hampshire, we began attracting marine and agricultural customers as well.
“At the time, there was a need for diversification but this has also proven to be a key instrument for business growth, as while the company is a dedicated specialist in turbochargers, our expertise is now translated into automotive, motorcycle, marine, off-highway and agricultural sectors. We now supply turbochargers to customers throughout the UK and overseas.”
How did your partnership with Melett transpire?
“The specialist turbo repair and remanufacturing market was undergoing a resurgence, and in 2007, around the time of the recession, we recognised the need to remanufacture more products to meet growing demand. This coincided with the rise of Melett, a specialist turbocharger and parts manufacturer. “Both companies sat down and looked at how we could do business together – and we’ve never looked back. For a remanufacturer / reconditioner like ourselves, we need to fit the finest quality parts and Melett excels in this area. We also have complete confidence in Melett parts and the information they provide, offering full traceability on all parts.”
What industry takeaways have you learnt from working with independent garages?
“Supplying independent garages teaches us alot, and this is a great testing ground for our knowledge and expertise. That’s because the selection of the correct turbo for a vehicle has become more complex and we have to take customers through a process of elimination to find the right product for them.
“Fault finding has become tougher because of diagnostics and the fact that the industry has been taught to trust the computer with all the answers. Vehicle manufacturers can change turbo suppliers and, as a result, we can have five different versions of a turbo for one vehicle make and model.”
What can Universal Turbos offer the industry?
“Our specialist expertise – and capacity to supply volume – has meant that Universal is able to reach and support different types of buyers such as independent garages, motor factors, buying groups, and warehouse distributors with complete new and exchange units.
“We look to change the perception of remanufacturing and we put a high level of investment in to servicing customers. Expenditure on new equipment, tooling and people are the three largest areas of investment for Universal.
“At Universal’s 8000sqft premises in the heart of Hampshire, there is a ‘call-centre’ like room where staff begin the process of diagnosing faults and processing orders before the production facility commences the rebuilding or remanufacture of the turbo, ahead of testing and putting it into service.”
Does the automotive industry have the right level of appreciation on the expertise that goes into remanufacturing a turbocharger?
“For Universal, it’s all part of the process. We train people from scratch and teach them the ‘Universal’ way. The process is what is needed to arrive at the highest quality repair. There are companies who compete on price alone, whereas Universal’s focus is on quality and service, hence why working with quality parts such as Melett is integral to our business.
“As a leader in the market, it’s clear why a company like Melett is ‘essential’ to Universal Turbos; our product relies on Melett products. The service, technical support, stock, next-day delivery and information shared shows us that Melett is a company with the same values as our own.”
What does the future look like for both turbo chargers and Universal?
“Looking forward, we believe there is a bright future for the turbocharger in an electric environment, thanks largely to the efficiencies it brings. Smaller capacity engines are more powerful than ever before and, thanks to turbochargers, more economical.
“As for Universal’s growth, we like to explore user habits and the common problems of oil starvation and lack of servicing. While our team of experts may have already identified a problem with a customer’s turbocharger from previous experience, it still undertakes the same process of diagnosing the problem to arrive at a solution for the customer.
“Thanks to our infrastructure, capacity, and support from Melett, we are ideally positioned to work with likeminded companies who care about quality and service and, as a result, can provide a solution across multiple industries and applications.”