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Executive Interview

AMN Q&A With Dana’s Dan Griffin

Griffin was recently appointed to an expanded role in May, and talks to us about new digital initiatives.

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Amy Antenora has served as editor of aftermarketNews since 2002 and has worked in the field of journalism for two decades. A graduate of Kent State University, Amy also earned her AAP designation from Northwood University's University of the Aftermarket in 2009.

Longtime Dana executive Dan Griffin was recently appointed to an expanded role in May, now serving as senior director, Aftermarket and Digital Solutions for the Toledo, Ohio-based aftermarket supplier. Griffin brings us up to speed on his newly expanded role and the areas of innovation Dana will be focusing on over the next few years.

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You were appointed to an expanded role at Dana in May. Tell us about this new position and what you will be responsible for as Senior Director, Aftermarket and Digital Solutions.

In my expanded role, I am responsible for ensuring that all aftermarket functions from sales and marketing to operations and distribution, and everything in between, are aligned to deliver the value that our customers expect each and every day.  The global focus of my role provides an opportunity to leverage synergies around the world for greater speed-to-market based on local market requirements.  Our 14 distribution centers around the globe demonstrate our desire to be local and effectively serve our customers as their supplier of choice, providing them with product offerings and timely delivery that enable them to quickly service vehicles and reduce downtime situations.

I am also responsible for creating value for customers through digital solutions and understanding how digital transformation can impact Dana’s operations.  By leveraging data analytics, we are able to provide enhanced category awareness to channel partners so they can optimize their product mix, understand market position, and have a competitive advantage.  

Data enables a personalized customer journey activated through our distribution partners as well as our world-class e-commerce platform, DanaAftermarket.com, which provides a no-hassle path to purchase.  DanaAftermarket.com has an alternative ordering platform for those distributors who prefer to place orders using a non-EDI service.  Public users can access the site to look up product specifications, part numbers, live inventory availability, and create a “wish list” for distributors to fulfill.

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One of the areas you will be focused on is vehicle electrification. What are some of the trends you are seeing within this area of innovation? What should the aftermarket keep tabs on so to speak?

As an original-equipment partner, Dana is deeply invested in supporting our customers with Spicer Electrified solutions.  Accordingly, we have a parallel strategy of ensuring that after sales and service supports the needs of our original-equipment and distribution channel partners as their business models evolve to service hybrid and battery electric vehicle (BEV) systems.   

Training at all touch points within our industry will be critical to building the confidence of industry partners, vehicle owners, and the service support segments.  Our robust online training portal, Dana Training Academy, is open to anyone in the industry interested in training on Spicer® and Spicer Electrified driveline or Victor Reinz gasket products.  We anticipate this platform will also deliver further training on Dana’s electrified driveline systems.

You also will be responsible for Dana’s e-commerce platform DanaAftermarket.com. With everything going on in the world today, e-commerce is one segment within the aftermarket that has fared well. What are your expectations for e-commerce in the next 12 months or so?

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DanaAftermarket.com provides customers with up-to-the-minute data related to inventory, processing, and shipping.  With access to Dana’s global network, customers can easily place orders and monitor them in real time, dramatically decreasing time spent tracking and receiving orders.  The site is also fully integrated with delivery services, enabling customers to track the shipping of their orders in real time through arrival. 

Going forward, I expect even more convergence in the customer experience and e-commerce environment as Dana builds on its capability in data analytics in order to deliver an efficient path to purchase and reduce the complexity of doing business. It is imperative for our global aftermarket customers to have desktop, tablet, and mobile device access to product specifications and order information around the clock.

The DanaAftermarket.com platform APIs allow for direct integration with distributor e-commerce sites, enabling an affordable transfer of data combined with the benefit of real-time data feeds to service their customers with the latest in Dana’s inventory status and part number specifications. 

Do you think the increased adoption we are seeing right now with e-commerce will continue?

Many procurement professionals have had to leverage e-commerce methods with stay-at-home restrictions in place, which has driven some of the increase in adoption. In fact, Dana has seen more than a 20 percent increase in online research activity compared to pre-COVID trends. If this is any indication of the future, I would expect to see adoption increase at varying paces dependent on the distribution partner.  

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How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Dana and the way you do business currently?

We have really come together as a team to help our customers get through these uncertain times. I could not be prouder of the Dana Aftermarket team and how they have adapted to the situation, focusing on our customers’ needs while ensuring safety throughout our operations.  Our disaster recovery plan, tested annually, allowed the customer operations team to continue their work without any disruption to our customers.  They were supplied equipment that replicated their workstation, as if they were working in their office, ensuring that our customers receive the prompt service they have come to expect from Dana Aftermarket.

The team has leveraged remote working over the last 90 days and will continue to do so in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local government agencies.  Our team has learned how to collaborate online using Microsoft® Teams and other tools with minimal impact to productivity.  We have proven that we haven’t missed a beat working remotely as a team. I expect the benefit of these collaboration experiences will have a lasting effect as we return to an office-based arrangement.  

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What are some of the initiatives Dana is focusing on at the moment?

Dana is fully committed to delivering the leading Spicer electrification program to each of our customer segments and continuing to develop top talent in key areas like engineering, software, and systems integration, which are the enablers for Dana to deliver efficient and valuable e-Powertrain solutions.

In addition, the Dana Aftermarket team has re-launched the Victor Reinz sealing product line in North America.  Victor Reinz offers full-line coverage for domestic and foreign applications backed by a significant investment in product management resources and inventory, coupled with a global manufacturing and distribution network.  A focused marketing campaign and light vehicle aftermarket sales team have also contributed to the success of the relaunch. Victor Reinz sealing products are available through the traditional warehouse distributor, retail, ecommerce, and production engine remanufacturer channels. 

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