This week, in partnership with the University of the Aftermarket, we offer you a front row seat into the Leadership 2.0 experience thanks to participants in this year’s session. Leadership 2.0 is a two-week, residential aftermarket-focused education program hosted by The University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University. Today we hear from Brittani McClain, director of customer service, Auto-Wares Group of Companies.
Today’s class began with our daily roundtable discussion. The first part of the conversation was surrounding CEUs and how to further our education in the automotive aftermarket and obtain the Aftermarket Automotive Professional (AAP) designation. It was a motivating call-to-action for a room full of aspiring leaders in the industry. The conversation then shifted towards the control OEs have over parts availability in the aftermarket.
A question was posed to the service professionals in the room as to whether there has been an increased need to purchase parts from the dealer. We heard a testimonial from Bumper to Bumper (BTB) and Auto-Wares CSC member, Susan Dickson of Closs Tire (Waukegan, IL) on the impact her relationship with her BTB salesperson had on sourcing parts, and how you can’t beat the relationship you develop face-to-face. As customer service is close to my core, I felt an immense amount of pride hearing how service and people matter, and through the years we’ve been getting it right. Throughout our entire journey in Leadership 2.0, we’ve heard how culture can be the element that makes or breaks your company. To hear one of our loyal customers since 2014 say she feels the strong relationship culture we’ve set out to create felt deeply humbling. The industry – especially at Auto-Wares – is thankful for customers like Susan Dickson.
Next, we heard from Rick Guirlinger about aftermarket financial analysis. We covered how to look at financial reports and use KPIs/metrics to gage performance over time. He explained how to look internally as leaders to evaluate if our processes create and deliver the customer value proposition. Guirlinger also explained how to assess whether we are focused on activities required for our company to excel at providing the value expected by our customers both productively and efficiently. It brought leadership development and evaluation full circle. Over the course of our session, we’ve talked about a wide range of topics to keep in mind as we move forward: values, personalities, culture, customers and communication. Rick’s presentation put the bow on top for the role financial responsibility and performance plays as organizations set out to put together the perfect formula for a successful future.
The last portion of our day was spent working with our groups to finalize our presentations. It was a culmination of the group dynamics we learned since August and putting them to practice over the past eight months as we collaborated. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with a remarkable team of industry professionals. Our group is comprised of Andy Jados (MotoRad), Francisco Moreno (ZF Group), and Patrick Verriet (Mann + Hummel). We leaned on each other’s strengths and passions within the industry to develop a presentation that highlights untapped opportunities for brand awareness within the aftermarket.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance for sponsoring my scholarship to attend; for those at Auto-Wares who encouraged my participation; for my team members and classmates for sharing their knowledge and perspective that helped me grow; and to all the presenters and organizers of Leadership 2.0 who fostered a learning environment for us all.