Mac McGovern, Director of Training, KYB America
Posted October 3, 2005, 10:30 a.m. EST
Every other week, aftermarketNews.com offers an interview with high-profile individuals in the automotive aftermarket. We give executives free reign to express their views on anything from the state of their corporations to recent legislative news to future trends in their niche markets. Here you see what matters to the newsmakers themselves.
A successful independent shop owner for more than 30 years, Mac McGovern joined KYB as director of training in August of this year. Considered one of the aftermarket’s leading trainers and advisors, McGovern is implementing KYB’s innovative Ride Control Solutions from KYB program, which is helping to develop the understanding and co-operation between manufacturers, distributors and service centers in order to improve business practices and better take care of motorists’ needs.
While a shop owner, McGovern also served as secretary for the Automotive Service Association of Illinois and as a member of the AMRA/MAP Uniform Inspection & Communication Standards Committees.
aftermarketNews.com spoke with MacGovern about making the switch from the service segment to manufacturing and about the programs he’s working on at KYB.
Tell us about your background in the aftermarket?
I grew up in the aftermarket. I first worked as a service technician and then owned an independent service dealer business for 30 years. But after earning my AAM and becoming an automotive management instructor, I helped form one of the first service dealer networking councils that partnered with parts distributors and program distribution groups. As president of the local council, national advisory board member and national service center mentor, I acquired an inside look at the aftermarket’s parts distribution industry and developed programs to help the parts and service segments work together. I’ve contributed efforts to MAP (Motorist Assistance Program) and the Illinois chapters of the Automotive Service Association and the Environmental Protection Agency. I then brought that insight as a consultant to the aftermarket vendors and associations.
Why did you decide to go to work for KYB after so many years owning your own repair facility?
I initially thought my background and experiences would lead me to working as a consultant, but then I found a company that shared my vision and mission, which is to enlighten and strengthen the aftermarket by helping service centers prosper with the help of our industry’s resources. KYB’s clear objective is to earn sales by enlightening and supporting technicians and service centers. Together, we have the knowledge, commitment and resources needed to achieve our goals.
What are your responsibilities in your new role at KYB?
Mainly to help develop and implement programs, training and materials that help service centers sell ride control products, specifically KYB shocks and struts. As the world’s largest supplier to the OEMs, I think KYB product quality, performance and full coverage are not widely known in the aftermarket but that’s going to change.
What attracted you to KYB?
My initial role was to help them as a consultant, but during the nine months it took us to create Ride Control Solutions from KYB, I discovered a very proactive company and management with a clear vision, and one that respects and supports their team. It is certainly one of my aims to reduce the [estimated] $60 billion figure of unperformed maintenance and repair by assisting technicians with identifying and selling worn parts. Ride control is perhaps the best example of this, so I thought that working with a shock and strut manufacturer such as KYB would be a great opportunity for me to help accomplish that.
Explain what “Ride Control Solutions from KYB” is?
We began by identifying the true problems associated with selling ride control products, specifically shocks and struts. This has been a longtime issue evidenced by the fact that around 85 percent of junkyard vehicles still have their original parts. “Ride Control Solutions from KYB” is actually a company-wide initiative. It’s a partnership with our distributors that offers service centers the training, methods and materials they lack to identify and communicate the condition of worn parts in a manner that leads to a sale, in the right way.
How is this different than other training programs?
Certainly training is involved, but the main difference between Ride Control Solutions from KYB and other traditional marketing programs is that it addresses an industry-wide issue. We feel the aftermarket should be responsible for providing our technicians and service centers with the systems and procedures needed to identify and justify worn component replacements, but we [the aftermarket] rarely do. This lack of support often leaves them accused of being incompetent or dishonest, so they became afraid to sell, and the result is more than $60 billion worth of unsold repairs and services annually. This is not just about ride control, it’s a much wider and deeper aftermarket problem.
How will “Ride Control Solutions from KYB” help KYB and its customers?
I’ve always believed that when you accurately identify a need, you have started the process of finding a solution. The fact that 85 percent of junkyard vehicles have their original shocks and struts tells us that there is a huge opportunity to address lost sale opportunities. If we support the technician, where the sale should begin, and it results in restoring more vehicles to their designed capabilities; sales increase, vehicles operate better, last longer and reduce the total cost of vehicle ownership. It’s a winning proposition for us all.
What has been the response so far to the program?
Overwhelming. Both distributors and service centers see this as providing the answers they’ve been waiting for. Already, we have a waiting list for distributor presentations and “Ride Control Solutions from KYB” Training Clinics. We are also in discussions with other leading, non-conflicting manufacturers of ride control products, and exploring the possibility of partnerships with our program. We see it as increasing sales of not just shocks and struts, but also brakes, chassis, tires, etc. We really believe our efforts are going to make a difference!