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Executive Interview

Executive Interview With Matt Barton, CEO And President, Dorman Products

Barton is a member of the board of directors of Dorman Products Inc. and has been its CEO and president since September 2015. In today’s AMN Executive Interview, Barton provides an update on Dorman’s 2017 acquisition of MAS Industries, and also talks about the singular focus that is the secret to Dorman’s success with its customers.

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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.

Matt Barton is a member of the board of directors of Dorman Products Inc. and has been its CEO and president since September 2015. Barton joined Dorman in November of 1999 as chief financial officer and served in that capacity until February of 2011 when he was named co-president of the business.

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From 1989 to 1999, Barton served as chief financial officer of Central Sprinkler Corp. and, prior to that, Rapidforms Inc. Barton spent the first eight years of his career in public accounting. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from TempleUniversity.

In today’s AMN Executive Interview, Barton provides an update on Dorman’s 2017 acquisition of MAS Industries, and also talks about the singular focus that is the secret to Dorman’s success with its customers.

Dorman announced its acquisition of MAS Industries in October 2017. Can you bring us up to speed on the transition, and what this acquisition provides for Dorman and its customers?

Absolutely. It’s been a busy six months! Let me first say that the great people at MAS are already part of the Dorman family, and we’re sure that by bringing our teams together the whole is greater than the sum of our parts.

From a business perspective, we’re already seeing the things we were excited about back when we announced the deal. We will now offer customers the most comprehensive chassis offering in today’s aftermarket including Dorman Premium Chassis for extended life maintenance-free driving, Premium RD, extreme-duty parts for fleets and our MAS line for value conscious customers.

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Overall, we have had a seamless integration so far and we are very excited about what this means for our customers going forward.

Dorman has been honored with a number of vendor awards in recent months – including those from O’Reilly, Motown Automotive and XL Parts. What, in your opinion, is key to Dorman leading with excellence? What is it that makes you stand out from your competitors?

We’re always honored to win these awards, as we aspire to be more than just a vendor to our customers. We’re obviously very proud of all the innovative products we release every month and our industry-leading catalogs, but we also aim to provide the best possible service and support to our customers, and treat our customers as partners.

I can’t speak to what our competitors do, but I know that all we do all day – from our engineers to our warehouse teams to our sales and marketing department up to our executive team – is think about parts and other solutions that will solve problems for our customers. Our OE FIX line is a great example of what we bring to the aftermarket. Some OE FIX parts replace only the failed component, not the entire assembly, saving the customer money. Other OE FIX parts are designed to save installation time.

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We work hard every day to grow the aftermarket. Our Dorman contributors appreciate when our partners recognize that hard work.

Telematics is a subject that is top of mind with many aftermarket suppliers. Is this an area that Dorman is focused on today – if so, in what ways?

We’re very concerned with telematics in that we believe vehicle owners should control their own data. It’s as simple as that. At this point, most people know that many websites, such as social media websites, gather and use our personal information on a regular basis. Many of us take steps to limit the amount and type of information that these sites collect. However, few people understand that automakers are also collecting data, not making it easy for vehicle owners to access their own data, and in some cases sharing it with other companies. These automakers can pick and choose who they share this information with and at times, steer vehicle owners toward more expensive repairs that require OE replacement components.

In other words, it’s a situation where the OEs are solely focused on their own bottom line, at the expense of their own customers. We stand with our industry partners in saying that eliminating choice and stifling competition isn’t good for anyone.

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Dorman covers a wide breadth of product categories, bringing previously dealer-only parts to the aftermarket. What product categories do you feel will offer the most opportunity with the evolution of vehicles taking place today?

I would say that wherever distributors, retailers, service technicians and even vehicle owners see a need, Dorman will be there and explore the opportunity to fulfill that need.

Just to give you an idea of what that means, we recently launched a full active air suspension line. As more and more cars feature this technology, more and more of these systems will fail and need to be repaired. So, we stepped in and offered reliable, affordable solutions, even solving some problems with original manufacturer designs.

Our mission of growing the aftermarket, one innovation at a time, is behind all our recent product launches – whether it’s our new full line chassis program borne out of the MAS acquisition, our growing catalog of heavy-duty solutions, or other labor-saving ideas like our OE FIX pre-pressed, complete Loaded Knuckles assemblies. You’ll find Dorman anywhere we can add value and solve problems in the aftermarket.

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