lowing a successful, record-breaking conference last year, Automotive Parts Associates’ (APA) 30th annual Shareholders’ & Manufacturers’ Conference, held March 10-12 in San Diego, Calif., was a great example of history repeating itself. With 67 shareholder WDs and 76 vendor manufacturers’ reps in attendance, the event delivered on a number of accounts.
The event, which took place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt resort, provided plenty of time for networking opportunities between APA shareholders and vendors, several chances for those buyers and sellers to forge business relationships or strengthen existing ones, and discuss new products and programs, and the opportunity for industry friends and acquaintances to relax, have fun and celebrate all of the past year’s successes.
Attendees also enjoyed a golf tournament, welcome reception, provided breakfasts, lunches and a unique dinner party at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, the only fully functional Marine Air Station that provides a glimpse into the lives of marines.
Several recognitions were made during the Manufacturer One-on-Ones, where APA vendors met during a six-hour timeframe with APA shareholder customers and prospects — many of whom won thousands in cash and gift card prize giveaways throughout the day.
Two APA members were also recognized for anniversaries in excess of 50 years. Engler Bros. based in Santa Monica, Calif., is celebrating its 64th anniversary, while Royal Auto Parts, Paterson, N.J. is celebrating its 53rd anniversary.
Eight Vendor Awards were also distributed during the One-on-Ones. (Listed below the award winning companies and their recipients, as well as the criteria used to choose the winners.)
|Professionals’ Choice Vendor of the Year: PTC — Powertrain Components, Inc. — Jack Nihart, president (Quality products, low defect rates, availability of new numbers, long-term commitment to APA);
||Branded Supplier of the Year: Centric Parts — Dan Lelchuk, president (First-to-market new model year parts, quick turnaround time and high fill rates on replenishment orders, superior cataloging);
|Marketing Partner: Robert Bosch LLC — Tim Bruin, director of sales PDG/Traditional Channel (Supports and sponsors the APA promotions, Bosch Service Center network, technical training, diagnostic test equipment and wheel and brake repair equipment);
||Headquarters’ Manufacturer of Choice: MAS Industries — Mark Stermer, president (Fastest turnaround time from application of parts to product availability, ease of doing business, responds quickly and effectively to all member and headquarter issues);
|Outstanding APA Member by Headquarters: Bestbuy Distributors LTD — Dale Devlin, chairman and CEO (supports and promotes Professionals’ Choice products, APA promotions and incentive trip pull-through success, participates and is active on all APA committees, member of the APA Board of Directors);
||Largest Total Manufacturers’ Orders at the 2010 One-on-Ones: SKF — Jeff Guempel, automotive program group sales director;
|Exemplary Service Award for a New Vendor: General Cable — Ryan Kiefer, regional sales manager automotive products (Quick, accurate line changeover and conversion, field support and training, meets and exceeds headquarter program requirements), and;
||Outstanding Partner Award: WHI Solutions Inc., — Glenn Salberg, business intelligence (Concept-to-Completion data warehouse and vendor portal, exceeded APA’s expectation and delivered the product on time).
General Session, Saturday Morning
The well-attended general session kicked off with opening comments by Dan Freeman, APA president and CEO, who announced new APA officers for 2011 (Jose Meyer, Meyers Auto Parts, Las Vegas, is chairman) and a presentation by Rob Jacobs, Automotive Warehouse, Wichita, Kan., that provided an overview and timeline of APA’s Data Solutions/Data Content Strategy.
Next up was Tom Hager, WHI Solutions Inc., who discussed the benefits of using Nexpart’s eBay Motors link to increase parts sales in the B2C space.
The general session concluded with a very resourceful panel discussion on how to leverage social networking (complemented by mobile applications on smart phones) to not only drive traffic to your company websites, but, just as importantly, to build your brand, tout the features and benefits of your product lines and detail the many value-added offerings associated with your company. Panelists were: Jeff Levine, Levine Automotive; Harris Steinberg, POJA Warehouse; Dan Lelchuk, Centric Parts; and Cheri Reith, Federal-Mogul Corp.
The panel also discussed the value of a company website and the importance of keeping it current and fresh (a dedicated web staff works best), using photos and videos to help create a “buzz” and engage customers and providing a call to action for visitors.
Next year’s conference is slated for March 15-17, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Phoenix.