Luckett: Reflections from a Career in the Aftermarket   

Luckett: Reflections from a Career in the Aftermarket   

Upon his retirement, Scott Luckett shares his career highlights and what he feels will be the biggest issues the aftermarket will face in the next 10 years.

After a 45-year career in the automotive aftermarket, Scott Luckett, MAAP/ACP, a contributor to aftermarketNews, retired Jan. 1. Luckett most recently served as a strategic account executive with SPS Commerce, where he worked a combined 10 years at SPS Commerce and GCommerce. Previously, Luckett served as CIO for the Auto Care Association, where he spent over 17 years.

Under his tutelage, Luckett was responsible for the association’s Technology Standards Committee, the Aftermarket eForum, the Telematics Task Force and the National Catalog Managers Association (now the Automotive Content Professionals Network – ACPN). Luckett was recognized with the University of the Aftermarket Founders’ Service Award and continues to advocate for increased adoption of business technology and best practices.

Upon his retirement, Luckett shared his reflections from a career in the automotive aftermarket. Read more about his career highlights and what he feels will be the biggest issues the aftermarket will face in the next 10 years.

AMN: Explain your career trajectory in the aftermarket.

Luckett: My first car in 1974 was a “classic” – no, it was a clunker (’71 Pinto). So, basic automotive knowledge was essential to get it started and prevent combustion each day. A family friend ran an aftermarket parts warehouse, so I started picking parts, then selling parts and finally ordering parts on a new Triad (now Epicor) computer system. My big break came when I attended an Auto Care Association Legislative Lobby Day in Washington D.C. and met Mort Schwartz (then board chairman) and Al Gaspar (then president of the Automotive Parts and Accessories Association). They were looking to fill a position for a staffer with automotive knowledge (had it) and computer literacy (faked it) to manage a yet-unnamed technology project. I joined the staff of the APAA in 1997 and remained through mergers (with ASIA and AWDA) and name-changes (to the Auto Care Association) to become the CIO with responsibility for a variety of industry technology initiatives, including ACES and PIES, the Aftermarket eForum, the NCMA (now ACPN) and the Telematics Task Force. My career concluded with nearly ten years at GCommerce and SPS Commerce as a strategic account executive advocating for increased use of technology in the aftermarket supply chain.

AMN: Tell us about your proudest career accomplishment.

Luckett: Without a doubt, the development of the industry data standards was the largest effort and had the most profound impact of anything I was involved with. ACES and PIES were the collaborative work product of hundreds of volunteers over many years, and they continue to evolve. I cannot take credit for the development of the standards – I was the scribe and facilitator. However, it was a privilege to have a ringside seat to the exhaustive deliberations and negotiations that led us to the standards we have today.

Twenty-five years ago, the National Catalog Managers Association (NCMA) was an independent “fraternity” of the men and women who researched and published countless parts catalogs and application guides. NCMA contracted management services from the national trade association, so I was appointed their staff liaison and resource. In the early days, the weightiest issues confronting the NCMA involved the size and placement of binder holes, font, paper weight and typesetting best practices. But, as the standards for electronic data exchange evolved, so too did the priorities and professionalism of the catalog managers association. I am most proud of the evolution of the NCMA into the Aftermarket Content Professionals Network (ACPN) and a Community of the Auto Care Association. Their annual conference has grown in size and significance to be the industry’s leading event for the advancement of content and data professionals.

AMN: What do you feel will be the biggest issues the aftermarket will face in the next 10 years?

Luckett: The speed and volume of data exchange grows every day. Latency and delays in the distribution of catalog updates and inventory files contribute to billions of dollars in unproductive inventory across the industry. The aftermarket now has a single method of expressing application and product information. But typically, updates are distributed as a complete catalog refresh between trading partners, requiring weeks or months to validate and deploy to the Point-of-Sale.

The industry must focus on faster and broader distribution of content and inventory information to every trading partner. Improvement in sales of new item introductions and faster identification of under-performing inventory can free billions of dollars from the industry balance sheet.

AMN: Reflecting on your career, what advice would you give to aftermarket professionals today?

Luckett: My advice is to show up and participate. Get out of the office and attend local and national industry events. There is so much to be learned from your brothers and sisters across this great industry. There are countless opportunities to volunteer, join a committee, contribute ideas and make valuable contacts who can alter the trajectory of your life.

To employers, I urge you to support your team members when they want to attend a conference or volunteer for a committee. Participation has a tremendous ROI and the next great idea for your business may be the result. I continue to collaborate and call upon wonderful friends I’ve made in the aftermarket over several decades. Today, I am proud of the difference we’ve made in a few years. Tomorrow’s aftermarket will stand atop the contributions of many individuals and continue to serve as a powerful engine for our transportation economy.

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