In the July issue of AMN magazine, our cover story featured mid-year distribution group updates from leaders of the aftermarket’s top program groups. This week on AMN we will share one of the featured leaders’ interviews. Today we sit down with J.C. Washbish, vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.
As the year began, a global pandemic probably wasn’t on your radar. As the pandemic escalated, how did you and your organization adapt to the changing business environment?
We were extremely quick to adapt. Within a week, we had published an internal COVID-19 resources page for our shareholder members, launched a daily webinar series, updated our websites and communicated with our shareholder members and shops. In the months that followed, we honed and expanded those efforts substantially. Our resources page now has several subpages and several hundred links, files, images, industry notices and vendor updates. We hosted more than 50 daily webinars from late March through mid-May for a variety of audiences ranging from shops to warehouse distributors to principal-only webinars. Our shops lent their expertise in multiple shop owner panel discussions, we partnered with the Auto Care Association for an exclusive COVID Town Hall and finally, many of our valued channel partners hosted trainings for our Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper network. We collaborated with our members, working together and sharing best practices. And of course, our top three priorities throughout this time have remained the same: communicate, communicate and communicate.
Has the coronavirus pandemic inspired your organization to make any permanent changes to the way you do business?
The pandemic has provided us with opportunities to serve our customers in ways we had never thought of before. We’ve always been committed to training, but the coronavirus enabled us to reexamine our educational offerings and permanently enhance the content and way we offer training opportunities. The constant uncertainty of COVID reinforced our ability to be agile and adapt. The total disruption to normalcy resulted in greater ingenuity. We posed an automotive gravity-fed spray gun and coiled air hose to better enable local police and fire departments to quickly and easily disinfect surfaces after responding to calls. We are proud of Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper’s creativity and generosity in supporting front-line workers and local communities.
How do you feel the pandemic and its effect on the economy will influence the outcome of the presidential, congressional and senatorial races?
The only thing worse than a pandemic is talking politics! The one thing I know for sure is that whoever is in office come 2021 will witness the Alliance making history at our Alliance Takes the Hill Convention in April. Our 2,000 technicians and aftermarket professionals will make some noise in the nation’s capital while forming relationships with elected officials. Advocacy is what kept us moving as essential businesses. Now more than ever, we need to continue to advocate for our industry.
What’s on your organization’s agenda for the second half of the year?
We’re going to continue to swing business up! We just finished hosting an incredible live broadcast for our Summer Shareholder Meeting. This September, we’re taking that same platform to our Sales & Marketing Forum and throwing in a few new enhancements for our warehouse distributor sales and marketing folks. We remain extremely hopeful that we will host our 2020 Winter Shareholder Meeting this December in Miami.
Anything you’d like to add?
Things are crazy right now, but each of us can help make the world a little bit better if we live by my Uncle Doug’s motto: “Work hard and be nice.”