ORLANDO, Fla. — Continuing its tradition of bringing high-quality, innovative products and services to the import marketplace, WORLDPAC held its first-ever Supplier & Training Expo, Oct. 23-25 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla.
More than 500 shop owners and technicians, representing 423 shops from 43 states and Canada, attended the three-day event that provided a customized lineup of technical and business training, conducted by the industry’s most respected training instructors, including some from the WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI).
Acknowledging the important link between training and education, and shop productivity and profitability, WORLDPAC demonstrated this commitment to support its customers through education, and help them better succeed in a service arena where the complexity of vehicle repair accelerates with each new model introduction.
“Without question, WORLDPAC has raised the bar with our Training Expo. Technology is accelerating at a faster pace and therefore warrants advanced technical training so our customers can meet the challenges of tomorrow’s repairs and maintenance,” said Bob Cushing, WORLDPAC’s president and CEO. “The import aftermarket repair market is stronger than ever, with tremendous opportunities, provided we are well equipped with the repair knowledge, tools and parts to capture those opportunities,” he continued.
Considered a success from a number of vantage points, the core of the program was technical training detailed, vehicle-specific repair information to help techs better diagnose and service late-model imports. The WORLDPAC Supplier & Training Expo earned high marks from import repair specialist participants, who realize that increased knowledge of vehicle systems and diagnostic acumen will help ensure the continued success of their independent repair shops.
“Our theme, ‘An Educated Customer is a Successful Customer’ is something we are passionate about. We conducted more than 50 classes to more than 500 customers and the response was just outstanding,” said Mario Recchia, WORLDPAC’s senior vice president marketing. “Many customers mentioned how difficult it is to get current training information that they could use in their daily activities. The all-inclusive Expo accomplished this but it is just the beginning of a journey that includes ongoing education and training to remain competitive in today’s market.
“I believe that everyone came away from the Expo with optimism that the industry is still robust and full of opportunities for those who seize it,” Recchia added.
Technical topics ran the gamut from Toyota/Lexus/Scion Engine Performance to Bosch Safety Systems to Nissan Driveability to Fuel Trim Diagnostics to Advanced Misfire Diagnostics to Hybrid Vehicle Service. A handful of business-management courses were also available, including Increasing Gross Profit, Marketing That Works and How to Succeed in a Down Economy.
The training component of the event was complemented by a heavily trafficked Supplier Expo, featuring 50 of WORLDPAC’s suppliers.
“Owners told me that this weekend’s training and conversations with our suppliers have opened their eyes to many new opportunities, from improving their business skills to servicing new car lines,” commented Dave Heine, WORLDPAC’s senior vice president sales. “The recurring message was that they are leaving this event with knowledge that will have a positive impact on the success of their business.”
The Supplier & Training Expo also offered a great opportunity for WORLDPAC suppliers to get one-on-one feedback from customers.
“Manufacturers simply do not have many opportunities to receive unfiltered information regarding the quality of their products, specific form, fit and function issues, as well as potential opportunities for improvement,” explained WORLDPAC’s EVP Brand Management Steve Sharp. “Overall, the feedback from the participating suppliers was extremely positive. Throughout the event, I consistently received comments that centered on the quality of our customers and the power of receiving both positive and negative feedback directly from the people who are using their products. Our first Expo has been a huge success and has created a vehicle in which information can find its way up and down the supply chain.”
The event’s schedule of activities also included a tool and equipment show, extensive networking opportunities and an entertaining 1920s-themed casino night complete with a live, prize-filled auction.
Event Platinum sponsors were: Bosch, Continental/ATE, Delphi, Denso, TRW and ZF Group.
Gold sponsors were: Akebono, Bosal, CSF, Dorman, Federal-Mogul, Gates, Gearwrench, Scantech and ZF Steering.
Silver sponsors were: ANSA, Autologic, Automotive Test Solutions/ATS, Bando, Bentley, Bilstein, East-Penn, Exedy, Identifix, K&N, KYB, MANN, Maval, MechanicNet, Nissens, NTN, NGK, Pagid, Permatex, Pilenga, Programa, Rich Porter, R.O. Writer, Schaeffler Group, WORLDPAC and VAD.