Temsa recently told its North American workforce there are no immediate plans to put them on furlough during the COVID-19 economic crisis.
The bus manufacturer’s decision comes as efforts to contain the spread of the disease through mass closures continue to drive layoffs to record levels nationwide.
‘We are dedicated to staying open and supporting our customers because they are essential businesses as part of the transportation industry,” said Deniz Cetin, who oversees Temsa operations in North and South America. “We are going to keep our facilities open as long as we are legally allowed. “
Calling the COVID-19 economic crisis unlike anything the company has seen, Cetin remains optimistic the bus and motorcoach industry will be back on its feet by the end of the year.
In the meantime, the company is focused on tackling projects that will ultimately improve the consumer experience.
“This will give us a good opportunity to work on some of the things we really haven’t had the time to do because we have been so busy,” he said.
There are two reasons Temsa is keeping staff busy, even as most of its business has ground to a halt. First, the 40-person staff is a relatively small part of the global giant’s operation. Second, the slowdown is providing an opportunity to finish some back-burner projects that can set the North American operation up for future growth.
“Our people are busy, and Temsa finds that to be productive enough so we don’t need to lay anybody off,” explained National Sales Director Randy Angell.
Online parts store
One of the major projects in the works is building out the company’s online parts store, which is being overseen by Neil Wells, the national parts sales manager. Marvin Borntrager, the service manager, is making sure the company’s inventory of pre-owned buses is being thoroughly inspected.
Angell’s sales team is checking with customers to see if they need anything during this time.
“We’re just trying to lend a helping hand right now through these troubled times. We want our customers to know we’re all going through this together and will come out of this together as well,” Angell said.
One way the company is supporting its customer base is by offering a 20% discount on all parts ordered through May 1.
“It’s just a way to try and soften the blow to what we’re dealing with, and to try to assist in any way we can in this time of need,” Angell said.
Entering the U.S. market
Temsa entered the U.S. market about a decade ago. CH Bus Sales represented the Turkish manufacturer as its Northern American distributor from 2011-2017 until the partners had a falling out that led to lawsuits.
In the past two years, the company has been building up its direct sales distribution operation in the U.S. and Canada and kept continuing to the operation.
“We’ve had most of our TNA team with Temsa for almost 10 years,” said Angell, who’s been with Temsa since 2011. Before that, he worked for ABC Companies.
The Turkish bus manufacturer is working to establish its presence in a market with established competitors by highlighting a diverse product line. It builds coaches in three different sizes: 30-, 35- and 45-foot models.
Angell reports that Andy Byars, Temsa’s pre-owned sales manager, has been busy making sales in the past few weeks, despite the slowdown.
“There are good deals right now, and people are finding significant savings. They have an opportunity to buy a pretty good vehicle at an affordable price,” Angell said.
Facilities remain open
The company’s three U.S. facilities — in Florida, California and New Jersey — remain open and are fielding calls 24/7. While service techs aren’t flying, they are willing to drive out to help clients who need emergency assistance.
Frank Cantwell, the West Coast service manager overseeing the company’s Northern California service facility in Burlingame, California, near the San Francisco International Airport, says he has been able to keep his team of two mechanics and a parts distributor busy.
“They want us to be properly staffed so we can service our customers properly, and then when things start back up, we don’t have to hire back employees,” said Cantwell, who has been with the company for about a year.
In the meantime, he has procedures in place to protect his employees. Deliveries and pick-ups are being made outside the building in the loading dock.
Temsa is using this time to become organized and ready to serve clients, Angell added.
“We know it’s going to take time to come out of this, but we will be there to support our customers. We’ve got to come out of this all together, and figure out a way that we can start making this happen,” he said.