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Sold on service.

Sold On Service

Dee Fiser can do it all. He'll rebuild the engine, call when the oil needs to be changed, and if it's beyond repair, he'll even sell you a new one.

In fact, you could say that Fiser is running the supershop of fleet maintenance and management companies.

"You can place one phone call and it's a rolling machine," he explains. "If we don't do it, we'll know who does and we'll get it happening."

Making it happen is what Dee Fiser and his wife, Masami, are all about. The company, which plans to gross $1 million this year, has seen a 500 percent financial growth since 1981 when Fiser took over as general manager and gross earnings were only $100,000. Fiser's father owned the company at that time and Fiser and Masami bought him out in 1984. Since then, continued growth has led to an expansion into truck sales as well as service. Fiser emphasizes service, however, and points out that his business cards read "service and sales."

"I'll take care of your Ford and your Chevy and Dodge and be proud to change the oil on them and build the engine. If you want to buy something else and you've had repeated problems, I'll be proud to sell you a truck, but I'll service whatever you have. Kind of a backdoor philosophy, but we're kind of backward anyway," Fiser explains.

He believes his philosophy is one reason Nissan chose his company to be a sales and service center for its UD Trucks, which run from one ton trucks to fifth wheel tractors. He's got the first five in right now.

"They came to us and I checked them out very closely," Fiser relates. "I was a hard sell. I hated to admit the Japanese could build something better, but it's hard to argue with facts."

Fiser's thoroughness in checking out Nissan is evident in his business practices. On a bulletin board in the workshop a sign reads, "Our customers deserve the very best quality in parts and service. See that they get it every time they're here."

"I'm willing to go out there and tell people, `I'm not going to rip you off, my books are always open to you. I've got to make a profit, but I'll be honest with you,'" Fiser says. "I will lose money on a job before I will have a customer leave here and say they've been ripped off."

Fiser isn't just blowing hot air when he says that, either. Walter James, supervisor of construction and maintenance support for AP&L, has been doing business with Fiser for nine years.

"We've never had a problem that we haven't been able to resolve to our mutual satisfaction," James says. "He's not infallible, and they do blow it occasionally, but it doesn't bother him to eat crow when he has to."

Business Bucks

Because many people in the general public think mechanics are out to rip them off, Fiser has focused on the business community. He says business people expect to spend money to maintain a vehicle and feels his company fills a special niche.

Since that niche is so specialized, Fiser says competition is scarce. One of his few competitors agrees that they are unique and says that he and Fiser are "friendly competitors."

"He has a good business and I have a good business, and he doesn't go out of his way to aggravate me and I don't go out of my way to aggravate him," Lloyd White, owner of Whitey's Truck Center, explains.

Fiser says he had more competition when the company was a standard repair shop, but now they've launched themselves into a new area.

"We found that small business America are the people who run the two-ton trucks, the little one tons and delivery trucks, and everything stops without them, but no one really concentrates on them," he explains.

In return for the money they spend, Fiser keeps track of every vehicle in a company's fleet, from the biggest truck to the smallest car. He estimates 20 cars come through his shop on an average day.

"The customer doesn't have to do anything but get in the vehicle and drive it because we're going to keep up with all of its maintenance records and do everything for it, and a lot of business people are liking that," he explains. "We'll keep you posted when it's time to change the oil and we'll tell you when it's time to do the brakes. All you have to do is work with us and provide us with some information.

"We try to go that extra step and say we work for you, we want to be part of your business, and if you let us do that then it'll hopefully keep you from breaking down and make more dollars on the bottom line."

Fiser and his 14 employees are already a part of many businesses in the central Arkansas area, including AP&L, Borden's Dairy, the city of Little Rock, Southwestern Bell, Baptist Medical System and, of course, "the guy who has one or two trucks, because that's important."

AP&L's James says, "We have all types of trucks from cranes to pick ups and he's worked on some of all of them for us."

Staying On Track

With over 200 businesses' vehicles to keep track of, Fiser had the good fortune to be chosen by IBM as a pilot project for the Napa Total Repair Automotive Computer System.

The TRACS System, a $25,000 investment, catalogues every vehicle a customer owns, the life history of each vehicle and every part ever put on it. The report also tracks the average invoice cost, average monthly cost and the average cost per mile.

"When a customer comes in and you can tell him everything you've ever done to that vehicle for him, he's amazed. And then when you can show him on paper how to save money, he's really impressed," Fiser says.

The company was one of two facilities that got the system last March. Although he still has the only system in the state, he believes there are a total of 100 now nationwide.

"In the 90s, this will become a standard. This seems to be the way the repair industry is going now."

Although he gladly brags on his company, Fiser is very modest about himself. Masami, who Fiser credits as being the brains behind the business (and who also owns 51 percent), confides that he convinced IBM to include the vehicle history in their computer system, a feature which is now one of their strongest selling points.

"From my complaining, they got it," he grudgingly explains. "It made me feel good somebody listened."

And Fiser hopes business will continue to listen, as the self-proclaimed company cheerleader continues to root for his home team.

PHOTO : CHECKING IT OUT: Dee Fiser is as thorough in his business practices as he was when checking out Nissan. Although he now sells Nissan UD Trucks, he emphasizes the service aspect of his business.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Dee Fiser of Fiser Trucks
Author:Garner, Jennifer
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Apr 23, 1990
Words:1181
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