Wilcomatic is one of the longest-established names in the UK car wash business, and last October it ensured its future as the UK’s sole ’independent’ wash company following a management buyout from major motor retailer Inchcape.
Wilcomatic is now wholly owned by the management, with Kevin Pay as managing director. "We believe the management buyout will allow the company to be far more flexible, innovative and customer centric, free from being a non-core subsidiary of a major motor retail company," he says.
"We now have the ability to invest in products and services that will best serve and benefit the varied customer requirements of our market."
The management team has also purchased J and S Components, a small manufacturing company based in Rainham, Essex, which should allow the future design and build of own-brand ancillary valeting equipment such as power washes and vacuums.
"Our vision and goals for Wilcomatic are very clear with five key pillars to our strategy going forward," explains Pay. "We want to concentrate on further developing our broad appeal as a one-stop-shop. Our service is our strength, particularly through our third-party maintenance offer, our diverse equipment offer and our customer-specific service initiatives.
"We are also working hard developing the core skills and safety of our technicians through a rigorous training regime and the development of the industry’s only apprenticeship scheme to grow qualified electrical technicians for the future."
The development of a close business relationship with customers - from large supermarket groups to individual operators - is another core objective.
"Dedicated account managers act as single points of contact for all the valeting needs of our customers and, through offering a suite of customer-specific performance reports, help manage their business, grow sales and reduce downtime.
"We pride ourselves in our ability to be industry leaders in innovation ensuring we either develop or procure the right products or services to match each customer’s individual requirements. This is demonstrated in our industry-leading internet-based remote diagnostics and site-management system known as web 300," stresses Pay.
The company’s final key pillar is that it is passionate about developing a strong environmental awareness through supporting the Car Wash Campaign Group and promoting and developing sustainable principles of vehicle valeting.
Independent dealers are also a target, and a dedicated director - Paul Bruen - has been appointed to champion their cause and to develop the customer offer, from equipment sales through to service, chemical supply and bespoke customer/management reporting.
"Our offer to retailers is 79 field-based engineers; in excess of £1m of spare parts across a whole range of manufacturers; and a sophisticated service management system," says Pay. "We can produce a host of different performance reports and support a broad range of strategic partners to allow branding opportunities for retailers. In essence, I believe we are uniquely placed to offer the best solution for supporting the independent retailer in developing and growing their valeting businesses. We are now focused and structured to achieve this."
Meanwhile Wilcomatic is proud of a recently signed exclusive tie-up with Autoglym that gives it the sole UK rights to the brand.
"The tie-up with Autoglym offers us a fantastic opportunity to really improve the quality of any forecourt owners’ wash offer, at a reasonable price and with strong on-site branding opportunities.
"In addition Autoglym has helped us launch our chemical top-up service whereby we now provide 10 chemical top-up engineers across the country who visit sites and replenish chemicals on a pay-as-you-go basis. The pumps are calibrated to maximise performance and the valeting equipment cleaned down at each visit to enhance and promote the offer. Effectively we take away all the hassle associated with caring for the wash and report any problems from an equipment performance check."
Apart from 1,600 rollovers on service contract, Pay says the company also maintains more than 2,500 jet washes, vacuums, air towers and reclaim systems, with a division of engineers.
"We are keen to focus our offer across the entire valeting range and recognise that from a customer perspective it is just as important to have a well-maintained air tower as it can be for an efficient rollover."