We took some time out to get in touch with Eng. Mohammad Ghnemat, Body Workshop Manager, Arab Motor Trade, Palestine. He discusses his responsibilities and how the R-M distributor Al Shurafa paint in Palestine supports his business in the region. Established in 2008, Arab Motor Trade Company is the authorized distributor of Kia, SsangYong and Iveco brands in Palestine.
Question 1: Mr Mohammad Ghnemat, give us a brief history of your career and your key responsibilities within your organisation?
I am pleased to have this opportunity to introduce our company as a new member of the R-M family. In summer 2013, I graduated from the college of engineering and joined Arab Motor Trade Company (importers of KIA, SSANGYONG and IVECO to Palestine) by the end of the same year, in the role of a service advisor. Several months later, my role expanded to include follow up work with insurance companies and with an external workshop. This workshop was contracted to fix cars damaged in accidents, and my work with them gave me a comprehensive knowledge about vehicle body, works and paint.
In 2016, we opened our own body workshop of which I am the manager. Since then, our business has grown and continues to grow and develop, especially in our ability to meet our customers’ requirements and the quality of our services in order to meet our customers’ ambitions. Consequently, we, as a team, are always looking to the future to develop what we do ‑ one instance of which is using new technologies and certified materials to benefit of our customers.
Question 2: What is your approach to training, and how does it keep you ahead of your competitors?
In order to produce the best quality of work, our staff are well-trained and are able to deal with various working conditions. We also continuously update their knowledge, providing them with all the latest information with regard to paint, its various techniques, new materials, and how to use these in cooperation with our local colleagues. On top of this, we used to invite speakers and trainers from other countries to give lectures and practical training to our technicians, but this was forced to stop due to the global pandemic.
Other members of the team, such as the service advisor, team leader and workshop manager participate in special training courses provided by KIA Motors Corporation, in addition to their attending training sessions alongside the technicians.
As such, we provide structured training and development programs to ensure that all employees have consistent experience within their field and relevant background knowledge. Whether they are technicians, painters, service advisors, team leaders, or managers, everyone undergoes regular training to ensure that they are all kept up to date with the latest technologies in line with our OEM standards. This gives us a competitive advantage.
Question 3: Can you tell us something about your relationship with R-M paint and how Shurafa and Company supports your business as a distributor?
Being the distributor of Kia, SsangYong, and IVECO trucks in the region, we maintain our outstanding reputation for the highest level of service. During the past year, we have met with Al-Shurafa Paints Company and discussed the possibility of working together. They are very cooperative and love their work so we were delighted to have them on board. After finalizing the arrangement, we started working together using the R-M line. Immediately, we were impressed by the quality of the materials and the final result produced and we have seen significant improvements in paint shop performance. Moreover, the use of tools such as the Colortronic 12/6 spectrophotometer (a state-of-the-art device which enables us to take colour measurements anywhere) helps improve the work and produces results that customers are satisfied with. Another advantage is speed; we can finish our painting faster which has been reflected in the productivity of our workshop and has also increased the level of customer satisfaction. This all results in the painters achieving consistently high standards of finish quality with less consumption of paint. R-M paint is recognized internationally for its innovative premium refinish products and its extensive portfolio of services. Everyone associated with R-M that I have interacted with has been fully supportive. I have to admit that the products and technology fitted into our bodyshop so well that it felt like we’ve been using R-M products since the beginning. R-M met all of our color requirements because of the extensive database of mixing formulas. Their team of experts regularly visited our premises to ensure application standards.
Nevertheless, as with any changes on this scale, there have been some difficulties. We are working together to improve this.
Question 4: How do you feel the automotive technician’s main responsibilities have changed in recent years?
Vehicles are an integral part of many peoples’ lives, and it is difficult to manage without them. Therefore, when things go wrong, customers choose a workshop to repair their vehicles; accurate and fast maintenance constitutes an incentive for this choice. Yet, innovations in the automotive industry have also transformed what it means to be an automotive technician. Cars on the road today are now more computerised than ever before, as is the job of maintaining and fixing these vehicles. Instead of taking several hours to diagnose what needs to be fixed, it can take as little as 30 minutes, allowing us more time to spend on repairs. The technician’s trade used to be mostly mechanical but is nowadays primarily technical, requiring employees to be skilled in using the latest computer diagnostic equipment. These technological changes continuously reshape the duties of technicians and so they must be able to deal with the incessant development of the automotive industry. As vehicles become more complex and sensitive, this requires special skills, not only in the mechanical and the electrical areas, but also in body works and paints. In addition to the practical skills required, we think that every technician should have a basic knowledge of the composition of the materials they use and how they interact. This helps to avoid any mistakes and, through understanding the theory, technicians can correct any mistakes that do occur and find out what exactly happened in order to prevent them from reoccurring.
Arab Motor Trade Company (AMTPAL) was established as an agency in 2008 to import and sell the vehicles of Kia, SsangYong and Iveco in Palestine. The company has since developed and now also works in the field of vehicle service and in the spare parts trade. When the company was first launched in the Palestinian market, the number of Kia cars was extremely limited here. Over the past thirteen years, AMTPAL has become the number one vehicle seller in Palestine. The company now has six branches, multiple dealerships, and many showrooms distributed across the country.