NovaPacific, based in Toledo, Ohio, was formed in February 2016. In April, industry veteran John Casanova was named president of the new business. NovaPacific manufactures an extensive range of water pump SKUs under TS16949, covering nearly every automotive aftermarket vehicle model. The company also implements enterprise-wide Kaizen-driven continuous improvement processes in an effort to deliver “zero defect” products and 99 percent fill rates. Casanova is an accomplished 30-year veteran of the automotive aftermarket industry. Prior to being appointed president of NovaPacific, he served in senior executive sales, marketing and operational roles for such industry brands as Visteon, Fram Filtration, Carter and Trico. In today’s AMN Executive Interview, he talks about his background in the automotive aftermarket and how things are looking with this first year in the books.
Tell us about NovaPacific. What products do you offer the aftermarket industry?
NovaPacific is a startup company that focuses only on water pumps. We felt the water pump market is very fragmented and has the ability to add a dedicated supplier that is driven by complete customer satisfaction, quality and service. Our vision is 100 percent geared toward our customer. We do not intend to displace major brands in the marketplace but to complement them and provide an alternative.
We currently have one main supplier in China that supplies the majority of our pumps. They are a company with very high quality standards and are TUV and ISO certified.
NovaPacific just celebrated its 1-year anniversary. What are some of the biggest challenges for a new company in this industry?
Some of the biggest challenges a new company faces are the ability to break into a new market while being frugal in your spending. The goal for any new brand is to reach as much of the customer base as possible, but we are doing this while also competing with companies with years of established brand equity. With that, you have to form a business model that is very precise in its direction and targets.
Also, what are some of the benefits of being a new company?
I had the ability to draw up a business plan based on what I know about the market, using my 30-plus years of experience in the industry. It’s very gratifying to grow a company from nothing and see the various different stages of development that it goes through. The first phase of being the only employee (literally) and then building a team that consists of accounting, marketing, sales, distribution and logistics.
You basically get to start from scratch. We developed the company name and defined our vision with a mission statement and value proposition. From there, being able to take your message to the customers promoting what makes you different. It’s very exciting and gratifying all at the same time.
NovaPacific just increased its number of SKUs. Can you expand on what was added and why?
We have added approximately 100 SKUs and they consist of later model and some heavy-duty vehicles. We will continue to add and delete products as the market demands.
I understand NovaPacific just made some upgrades to its OE-grade water pumps. Can you tell us about the upgrades?
Without getting into the details of the upgrades, I will tell you that the manufacturer we use is staffed with an abundance of engineers. Our objective was to look at how to enhance the products being sold in the aftermarket and make them more efficient. As an example, there have been a few SKUs that the OE may have had difficulties with and stopped selling.
We have upgraded some of those specific SKUs to become more efficient and lighter than the OE products. We have taken high-performance units that were originally built with cast iron and redesigned them with aluminum to make them lighter and added a special finish that looks very similar to a chrome plated unit. Since chrome is very hazardous to the environment, we wanted to come up with a solution that gives the product a chrome appearance but is a very environmentally safe alternative.
If someone wants to start doing business with NovaPacific, can you tell us what your unique value proposition is for new customers?
Our value proposition is driven off of four things:
1) Service to our customers – we are 100 percent focused on and driven by the success of our customers.
2) High quality of our products – with our engineering capabilities we strive to build our products to exceed OE specifications and are TUV and ISO certified
3) Competitive pricing – it’s a competitive market and we are able to provide a quality product at a reasonable price point
4) Safety of our employees – safety is paramount for any company and that is certainly true for NovaPacific as well
Many companies have similar goals but are very limited in keeping the customer in the forefront of their goals. With our product being limited to one category, today it is very easy to keep our customers first and foremost.
NovaPacific just recently exhibited at AAPEX. What kind of feedback are you receiving so far in the marketplace and how/what else are you doing to get the NovaPacific name out into the marketplace?
AAPEX provided us our first major venue to advertise our product and be in front of customers. The show for NovaPacific was phenomenal. In my 30-plus years in this industry, I have never left that show so enthused about the opportunities in front of us. There are numerous customers that came by our booth wanting to make a change and understand more about our program. It was truly invigorating.
WillNovaPacific focus only on water pumps or are their plans to expand into other related product categories?
Currently, and for the foreseeable future, our focus is water pumps. That is not to say that at some point we may add additional product offerings. However, our number one focus is water pumps and we want to make sure that we do this correctly and do not want to be sidetracked by other distractions.
Tell us a little about your background and plans/goals for NovaPacific over the next few years.
I have spent 30-plus years in the Automotive Aftermarket and started out at Monroe Shock Absorbers. I feel very privileged to have been in executive roles in companies such as Visteon, Remy, Rank and Crowne, to name a few. During my time with these companies, I do feel fortunate that I was able to learn what made these companies succeed and what they needed to improve upon. I have molded my vision based on these experiences, all in an effort to enhance the customers’ experience. My goal is to grow this business to be a valued supplier in the industry and ensure that our customers succeed.