Ahead of the Curve: Is our sector of the industry in denial? Don’t be ‘the problem’

Bob Greenwood

Watching, listening and examining how our sector is moving forward, one has to ask if we are truly in denial.

It appears at times that all levels of the Aftermarket are like deer staring into the headlights and commenting, “What’s that?”

Not enough is changing at the grassroots level of the service provider shop or, for that matter, at the parts distributor and warehouse level, as everyone is doing the same old thing and expecting different results.

As you may be aware, that is the definition of insanity!

Let’s wake up!!

We totally need to address reality. That means openly addressing “change.” It must include a total review of “how” we do things to ultimately service the consumer at the absolute professional level required to capture all their business and trust. Yes it can be painful, but this is our livelihood. True positive change is painful, but it has so many rewards in the end.

Consider the following facts:

  • Shop management and their staff must learn a new paradigm in “how” to measure and execute internal processes within their business clearly and as professionals, which in turn leads to understanding their responsibilities. We are now going to be transitioning from a “preventative maintenance” world to a “service on need” world. Telematics has entered the aftermarket and we have to change the way we think about the business. Shops must learn to  conduct their day-to-day affairs as a complete team. How do they now conduct their day-to-day business to build trust with their clients, their customers?
  • Parts suppliers must understand it’s just not about selling parts 100 percent of their time, but that it truly is about survival and growth of their shop client base so they have someone to sell parts to in their future. They should honestly ask themselves: “How can we help to secure our future. What processes do we have to now learn to engage today to secure our prosperity for tomorrow? What do we have to do and what do we invest in to make this work? Does 100 percent of our staff understand what we should be doing together each day to secure our future?”
  • Is every level of the Aftermarket prepared to commit and invest into our future? Or are we living for this day, this month, this quarter and consider every dollar leaving the company as an expense? It is imperative that everyone readjust our thinking to the reality of our regional, national and global economics we are confronted with today. We must ask and examine “based on our actions today and our current philosophy, what will our business/our industry look like five years from now? Which is really ‘our tomorrow?'”

I submit to everyone that we have reached the crossroads of moving from a “trade” to a true “profession” at ALL levels. Now perhaps the aging people in the sector can’t grasp that and will grumpily rebut this statement. However, the next generation of the aftermarket clearly now see the difference.

Thank you vehicle technology.

Thank you challenging economy.

Our opportunity to make this transition over the next three years is here. Every level must believe in the opportunity if the Aftermarket wants to be a dominant player in the national economy.

This is no time to doze off or fall asleep. Opportunity is pounding at the door. Are you ignoring it or too old to hear it?

Are you up to it? If you don’t understand it, then I recommend entering the necessary business courses available so you can learn about it, understand it and “get it.”

If you don’t believe this, then respond to this article and let me know how you see the future unfolding. However, I must warn you of one thing that all of us fail to mention in ANY presentation made within the industry. Ultimately, remember “it’s all about the client/consumer EXPERIENCE.” Are we providing a great experience for such a grudge purchase?

So make a defined list as to “HOW” you are addressing this issue to ensure you are perceived as being “UNIQUE.”

Don’t talk to me about “added value” anymore. That is just another form of discounting… in essence providing more for the same price. It’s time to truly get past this and address the real question:  “What makes us unique?”

The opportunity for the Aftermarket is huge. It is so positive. But I submit it will take vision, dedication, investment, and an unheard of amount of self-discipline to realize the incredible financial opportunity in front of all of us.

If you don’t see this, then either get up to date with your education, or… hey someone has to say it… please leave the industry as YOU are part of the problem.