Steve Handschuh is the president and chief operating officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and vice president of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). AASA, a market segment association of MEMA, exclusively serves and represents North American aftermarket product manufacturers.
As AASA president, Handschuh provides general oversight of all the association’s organizational management. He represents its members on critical business issues by generating dialogue, education and action, which helps provide a stronger, unified voice for aftermarket suppliers. Additionally, Handschuh provides leadership, direction and administration for all aspects of AASA activities and works closely with the AASA Board of Governors to maintain a strong focus on providing services and programs that address industry issues and offer members opportunities to advance their business.
An automotive aftermarket industry veteran of more than 30 years, Handschuh served as senior vice president, commercial, at AutoZone. In that position, he was responsible for more than $700 million in sales through more than 3,500 stores. Prior to AutoZone, he worked for NAPA AUTO PARTS/Genuine Parts Co. for 18 years, including serving as NAPA president from 1998-2004. Handschuh began his career as an outside salesman at Mighty Auto Parts where he rose to the position of vice president of sales and marketing.
This week we talk with Steve Handschuh about AASA’s involvement at AAPEX as well as the changes the association has gone through this year including the creation of its first-ever members-only event, the AASA Vision Conference.
This time of year, we are all getting ready for the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX). What does AASA have planned for AAPEX?
AASA will offer its member companies the services and networking opportunities to make AAPEX 2007 the most successful aftermarket event of the year. We are looking forward to an exciting show this year.
We’re very pleased to have Ted Wise, co-president and COO of O’Reilly Automotive Inc., joining us for the AASA Executive Breakfast at AAPEX, which will be held from 7-8:45 am on Tuesday, Oct. 30., in the Lido Ballroom of The Venetian.
Ted’s insights will be particularly timely since O’Reilly’s withdrawal from the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance and the launch of its Parts City Auto Parts in June. Our aftermarket supplier members and other aftermarket leaders will be interested to hear Ted’s comments about the break with the Alliance after 30 years and this new marketing and advertising program for O’Reilly’s independent jobber customers.
AASA will host a seminar to examine the critical issue of safety and quality of globally sourced products, “Ensuring the Quality and Safety of Imported Aftermarket Products.” This event features Dan Smith, associate administrator for enforcement of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1-2:30 pm on Monday, Oct. 29., in Room 202 at The Sands. The seminar will cover the expertise and competencies required to successfully and legally source from China and other countries. Potential liabilities imposed on the importer or manufacturer of record by the U.S. government also will be addressed. All manufacturers, distributors and retailers participating in AAPEX are urged to attend the AASA seminar and learn more about this issue.
Also, the Green Zone is a great new feature at AAPEX this year, spotlighting products that service providers and retailers can sell to consumers to help make their vehicles more efficient and environmentally friendly. It also will have tools and diagnostic equipment used to repair new green cars, as well as suppliers that recycle waste or remanufacture parts or that have environmentally friendly aftermarket parts.
As part of the first-ever Green Zone activities at AAPEX 2007, AASA will recognize its member exhibitors that are compliant with the ISO 14000 environmental management standard. Members are urged to contact Jack Cameron at AASA for more details.
We also urge members to check our web portal, http://www.aftermarketsuppliers.org/aapexportal/index.html, for information on the AASA Member Center at AAPEX, the AAPEX Executive Reception, AASA Executive Breakfast and other important information on AAPEX activities and events.
This has been a busy year for AASA. Tell us about the changes the association has experienced this year.
We were pleased to welcome Jack Cameron, formerly of The Timken Co., as vice president, programs and member services, in August.
The whole AASA staff recently reviewed plans for 2008 and has developed these key areas of focus for the coming year: government affairs; image of suppliers in the automotive aftermarket industry; market research, industry analysis, benchmarking and best practices; manufacturing standards; industry collaboration; brand protection and intellectual property rights; global opportunities and challenges; and education and training.
We have also developed a new slogan for the association which reflects our new focus: “AASA: Leadership in the Global Automotive Aftermarket.”
Of course, we also are busy planning our first-ever members-only event, the AASA Vision Conference, slated for Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 1, 2008, at The Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL.
What details can you give us about the Vision Conference now?
The AASA Vision Conference is the result of feedback from countless members who expressed their desire for a forum to discuss industry issues exclusively from the aftermarket supplier’s perspective. Our program will focus on the important issues of the North American aftermarket supplier industry.
AASA Vision Conference 2008 will address key topics through a combination of general sessions and breakouts. The general sessions will feature experts and leaders from other industries which have experienced growth and globalization similar to the automotive aftermarket. Presentations also will include supplier case studies and a look at the trends that will drive the economy and the aftermarket industry in the years to come.
The breakout sessions will examine the most important issues to the aftermarket supplier community, such as: selling and sourcing globally; enhancing the North American supplier image; supplier collaboration; and education and training.
More details of the AASA Vision Conference 2008 program will be announced in the coming months in the association’s e-newsletters, “News @ AASA,” “ToplineNews” and at the AASA website: www.aftermarketsuppliers.org.