Mexico, Australia, Vietnam . . . the list goes on. It includes approximately 35 countries and just as many export markets for Gamex, a subsidiary of Gamache Group, to serve.
The adventure began when Richard Gamache turned to Yvon Vallières, now director of sales, more than 15 years ago. “In fact, SEVENteen,” Yvon states with pride, as if to increase the weight of all those years’ experience. It was that era when calling a client in Colombia took an entire afternoon. It was also, after-sales service demanded, recording assembly instructions on videotape cassettes and sending everything by mail or courier. And waiting. “Technology has, of course, accelerated everything, but above all, it has simplified everything,” explains Yvon.
A truck for sale can be found on the other side of the planet the instant it’s posted on line. Team Gamex can remotely help a customer in real-time install a part or get a vehicle running. Exporting heavy trucks or tractors to Latin America presents fewer logistical complexities than before. Today’s interconnected world has standardized the demand. Customers keep up to date on changing models and mechanical technology and require newer vehicles. “One example,” says Yvon, “is Vietnam, which now only buys vehicles 3 to 5 years old.” And the trend extends to all markets where now “our foreign customers are 8 years behind instead of 15.”
The export of trucks and spare parts to a broad and very diverse customer base requires some flexibility on Gamex’s part, especially as each country has its own criteria. So it’s parts only for Australia, which can do nothing with our trucks—LHD—while for others, we can go far in the solutions we suggest. In some cases, transportation costs for trucks being sent to Africa are reduced by completely dismantling the vehicles and shipping them in suitable containers. They are later reassembled by the client at their destination, where labour is cheaper.
To supply all these markets and sell its 1,500 trucks per year, Gamex counts on multiple supply sources: transport companies and particularly auctions for whole vehicles and, for example, insurance companies for parts. “We have agreements with these companies to sell us damaged vehicles for their parts,” says Vallières. And these parts are not all sold abroad. Some do not go any further. They are carefully modified and sold to trade schools in Quebec.
Gamex, parts for our new generation
Bruno Sauriol, from Montreal’s motorized equipment trade school (ÉMEMM) claims: “What’s nice with Gamex is that you can alter parts and get exactly what you need.” The teacher, who oversees the ÉMÉMM shops, does not hesitate to visit Gamex to monitor the modification work and make sure they see eye-to-eye on the operation’s objectives. There are, after all, specific skills to be transmitted. So in cahoots with his accomplices at Gamex, he introduces variances and mechanical defects into the parts. Some 250 students enrolled in the heavy road vehicle mechanics program in the almost 100-year-old school will have to detect and correct the problems.
Transmissions, engines, differentials, truck sections, everything is specially assembled and adapted to training the next generation of mechanics, a generation that can be impatient and rough, putting a strain on the components: “With all the taking apart, putting back together, adjusting, verifying and repairing, you just have to look at the parts and they break apart!” says Bruno, himself a mechanic, just like all the school’s teachers. We often have to replace components that are worn or downright broken. We must also maintain and work on vehicles similar to those on our roads.
And to think that this relationship between Gamex and ÉMÉMM began with a simple parts purchase. With each purchase, a partnership was born that has solidified over the years and gives trade school students concrete learning tools tailored to their needs and abilities.