Hino Knights are an elite group within the dealer sales force who are not only excellent salespeople but are also those who make a meaningful contribution to the community as well as to the dealer for whom they work. The Knights’ programme for Hino dealers was launched in 2011 and there are currently 10 Hino Knights – three sales managers and seven sales executives.

Last year there were four new additions to the ranks of Hino Sales Executive Knights. They are Jaco Uys, of Hino Middelburg; Cecil Pillay, of Hino Pinetown; Marlan Chetty and Verneshen Naidoo both of Hino Shelly Beach.

Hino South Africa recently announced the Hino Knight of the Year and the runner-up, known as the Robin Hood Knight of the Year. The first award went to Faan van der Westhuizen, of Hino Limpopo in Polokwane, while the Robin Hood Knight for 2016 is Francois Drury, of Hino Kuilsrivier in the Western Cape.

This was the second time Faan van der Westhuizen has collected this coveted trophy, having won it in 2013. He has been involved directly and indirectly with the trucking business since he started working with his father in 1972. After a spell of 20 years selling agricultural and related equipment, he joined Hino Polokwane in 2006 and has been there ever since. He says he sells between 80 and 100 trucks a year and has a customer satisfaction rating of over 98%.

His focus on the community front is the provision of housing at shelters for the very poor and is involved in several of these projects in Limpopo. “Many of these people have had to go as far as to send their children away as they cannot afford to care for them,” explained Van der Westhuizen. “It is an emotional calling and providing a reasonable form of shelter for these people is very rewarding.”

Robin Hood Knight of the Year for 2016, Francois Drury, has been a truck sales executive for the past 14 years, spending four years at Hino Parow and 10 years at Hino Kuilsrivier. He sells between 46 and 70 trucks a year and was Hino Knight of the Year in 2012 and each year since then he has been the Robin Hood Knight of the Year.

Being a Hino Knight goes much further than just being a good salesman. Another important aspect is ensuring customers are given exceptional service, with the cut-off being a minimum of 96.5%. Drury has had his personal Customer Satisfaction Index running at 100% for the past two years.

Francois, who lives in Durbanville and is married with a nine-year-old daughter, Moija, is also very community-minded and says this has been the case for more than 10 years. He involves his family and says this is now very much a “way of life”. His involvement with the community extends from helping the poor, elderly and ill in areas where he lives and works to assisting an Aids orphanage in Vredenburg.

These Hino Knights are certainly people who make a difference in the lives of others besides being top class salespeople.