Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Vision Conference in Charlotte, N.C. Vision is an interesting event that draws senior-level individuals from the automotive aftermarket to review trends and issues the industry is or will be facing. It is hosted by the AASA organization for its members and sponsored by the majority of suppliers in the aftermarket.
This year’s conference focused on the unprecedented amount of change happening in our market today. The first group of speakers focused on the parallels between business and the auto racing industry. Auto racing is an environment of constant change, always striving for a better, faster way of doing things. This message was further emphasized by the venue, the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
This presentation was followed up by a session on winning in an emerging market. For several years, the digital market has been growing and changing. The market has started to reveal several different segments. E-tailing has long been considered one segment of the market. This year, a new segment of the market is emerging, being called the “marketplace.” eBay and Amazon are the prime examples of this segment. The message here is that people who are winning at the digital game are participating in both. Customers are in both marketplaces and in order to maximize sales, you need to be available in both places.
Dan Risley of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) tackled the topic of the needs of tomorrow’s independent repair shop. The way repair institutions go to market is changing very dramatically. If the supply chain is going to continue to supply them with the needed parts, distribution will need to change with them.
What event today would be complete without a discussion on telematics and the connected car? Several discussions during Vision dealt with this topic. Of course, there are data privacy issues to be dealt with, but rest assured, this technology is here and moving forward very quickly. My advice to you is to get in on it now, before your competitor has their OBDII device installed in your customers’ vehicles. It is going to change the way we all go to market.
All this change can be a very scary thing if you resist or try to anticipate several steps ahead. In business, our success is greatly affected by how we navigate and implement changes in the market. We must stay nimble and able to capitalize on variations in the market. Those who do not change will sadly be left behind.
Let’s look forward to tomorrow and the opportunities it will bring.