ORLANDO, Fla. — The 29th annual Automotive Parts Associates (APA) Shareholders’ & Manufacturers’ Conference, held March 18-20 in Orlando, Fla., boasted record attendance with 77 shareholder companies and 77 manufacturers’ reps attending. The event, which took place at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes Resort, gave APA management the opportunity to recap a year’s worth of successes and accomplishments, and outline goals and objectives for 2010 and beyond. And, with solid attendance year after year, it confirms that the principles of strength in numbers, networking and camaraderie can pay big dividends in boosting profitability and business success.
There was plenty of networking going on at the Manufacturer One-on-Ones held on Friday, where APA vendor representatives met with several customers and prospects all at one time, all in one place to cement existing business relationships and forge new ones.
The almost six-hour timeframe also gave APA shareholders the opportunity to discuss any business-related issues/concerns with APA vendors, hear about new products and promotions and learn about expanded application coverage on existing or new product lines carried by the vendors. They also had the chance to win thousands in cash and gift card prize giveaways throughout the day.
The Manufacturer One-on-Ones also included an Awards Presentation that acknowledged:
– Vendor of the Year MAS Industries (award accepted by Mark Stremer);
– Branded Vendor of the Year Centric Parts (award accepted by Michael Musso).
Dan Freeman, APA president and CEO, also recognized Bill Cook, VP of program development, for his 10th anniversary with the group, and his loyalty and service to its shareholders.
There were plenty of announcements and awards recognition at the General session on Saturday morning.
New APA officers for 2010 were announced:
– Chairman, Jose Meyer, Meyers Auto Parts, Las Vegas;
– Vice Chair, Bob Duxler, Automotive Inventory Management Systems, Simi Valley, Calif.;
– Treasurer, Ben Yelowitz, POJA Warehouse, Philadelphia; and
– Secretary, Clay Johnson Factory Motor Parts, Eagan, Minn.
Also recognized were 12 members that joined APA since the last meeting: Total Automotive Imports Inc., Yonkers, N.Y.; T & L Distributing Inc., Temecula, Calif.; The Finish Line, Hialeah, Fla.; Auto Tech Warehouse Corp., Baldwin Park, Calif.; Parts Value, Corona, Calif.; Daniels Motor Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo.; Just Suspension, Denver, N.C.; Farwest Auto Parts Warehouse, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Allied Auto Stores, Fremont, Calif.; IMS, North Hollywood, Calif.; eEuroparts.com, Putnam, Conn.; and S&J Industries Inc., North Hollywood, Calif.
The following APA members were also applauded for milestone achievements: Kelley’s Service Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif. 61 years in business; Wheeler Bros, Somerset, Pa., 50 years in business; Parts Inc., Brentwood, Md., 50 years in business; Daniels Motors Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., 81 years in business.
It was also announced during the General Session that Jim Donohue joined APA as the new Professionals’ Choice national sales manager. He will be responsible for training assistance, national accounts programs and administering the roll out of the Professionals’ Choice data warehouse, which was the featured topic after the award presentations.
Data Warehouse Project
Tom Hager from WHI Solutions, Inc. provided an overview of the proposed APA data warehouse that would be designed to increase profits and inventory turns for participating group members. Hager explained: “It’s a tool for the parts buyer, which would increase intelligence to make better stocking decisions, and increase the visibility of parts activity that extends well beyond the walls of one’s own system.”
The features of the data warehouse includes the ability to:
Compare a member’s sales against other members’ sales and leverage the Nexpart network (considered the number one B2B trading tool in the automotive aftermarket with $1.2 billion in sales volume) to stock the right parts;
Identify slow-moving or stagnant parts to reduce excess/obsolete inventory;
Track regional and national trends, and parts failure rates, to ensure you stock the parts that are growing in popularity.
The data warehouse system would provide a variety of reports/analyses such as inventory turns by manufacturer line, inventory turns by part number, returns analysis (percent by manufacturer line and by part number), gross profit analysis by manufacturer, and part type gross profit comparison (vs. the group). Feasibility of the project will be based on member interest; a survey form was distributed to get member input.
Next year’s conference will be held Mar. 10-12, 2011, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif.