This year’s Leadership 2.0 class, which began last August, reconvenes this week in North Carolina (Correction: we mistakenly said in previous posts, that this was taking place in Midland, Michigan). The second session continues through March 16. All this week, we are bringing you exclusive blog posts from a range of aftermarket professionals participating in this week’s Leadership 2.0 program, hosted by the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University.
Leadership 2.0 is a post-graduate style leadership and business skills education program designed to promote the development of the next generation of aftermarket leaders. In addition to the two week-long classroom segments – which feature lectures, roundtable discussions, networking sessions and team research and problem-solving activities – participants work off-site to develop and present team research projects covering key industry challenges. Featured presenters include leading aftermarket executives and faculty from Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management. (Click here for more info on Leadership 2.0.)
Today, we hear from Dave Shapiro, automotive and heavy-duty sales representative, SRS Marketing Co.
Today’s class opened with a discussion about advantages that we see with the OE dealerships over the aftermarket, and some of the tactics they are employing to steal market share of the parts and service business. There were three advantages that stuck out to the class more than others. The first is public perception of the technicians who work in the dealers’ service bays. It is hard to combat the notion that their technicians are more qualified than others because of the factory-specific training that they receive. The second advantage is the dealers’ immediate access to parts because the No. 1 delay on repairs by an independent technician is waiting for the parts they need to service the vehicle. The final advantage we discussed was brand value. This is where the conversation took off in several different directions, including OE versus aftermarket brands and the effect of private labeling. Some people are of the belief that private labeling can erode brand awareness.
Following our morning discussion, we were greeted by Rick Gurlinger of Bourke Services and began a deep dive into financial reports for Tenneco, Dorman Products, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Monro Muffler/Brake & Service. Rick was showing us how to use financials in order to guide decision-making. This included a breakdown of KPIs, KSIs and other metrics used to gain competitive advantages both internally within an organization and externally with customers.
After lunch it was time for our presentation groups to get together for practice and final edits. Our presentation is on vertical integration and its effect on the auto care industry. Big shout-out to my group members: Brian Ponder with Ponder Auto Repair, Travis McGuire with K&N Engineering, Chuck Rogers with O’Reilly Auto Parts and BJ Tervo with Auto Value of Houghton. The best part about this group is that we are a microcosm of the industry because each channel is represented by a group member. We know our presentation is strong, but now we have to execute. Everyone is looking forward to hearing what the other groups came up with on their respective topics.
As day 4 of our week in North Carolina comes to a close, I’m left questioning so many critical issues that our industry faces in the short and long-term future. I can’t seem to escape this feeling of anxiety and uncertainty.
One of the most interesting aspects of this program is hearing the different opinions from every automotive channel on how they are affected by, and what should be done, to address each issue. It’s clear that our industry needs to come together quickly and fight for our position on these matters by any means possible, i.e. educating consumers, contributing to ACPAC, working with state and federal representatives, etc.