Earlier this year, I was
invited along with some colleagues to a manufacturer’s facility to tour
their plant, see their offices and get a sneak-peek at a product they
were about to unveil. They wanted to know our impressions and gauge our
opinion on how the product might do.
Without revealing the name of the company, suffice it to say they
came up with a new take on a product, a new way of looking at a problem
and a simple, effective way to solve that problem. When you see the
product, you can’t believe how simple it is, but it works. Let’s just
say it makes things quieter.
It’s quite a privilege to get an inside look at a product before it
goes to market. There’s obviously a lot of excitement because no
matter how well a manufacturer might think it will do, the real test is
conducted out in the world, where technicians order parts from jobbers.
What I took back from the experience is just how quickly the
automotive aftermarket moves in getting a product to market. The
manufacturer had only been working on the product for a period of
months before we visited their offices. From research and development
to production and finally getting feedback from jobber stores, it’s
been far less than two years.
So, what’s the verdict? Early word from several jobbers around the
country is that product is moving, really moving. Why? Because it works
and it produces new revenues for both jobbers and repair shops. This
isn’t merely an improvement on an old product. With the company
attacking an old problem in a new way, a new category of product has
essentially been created.
Even with the advent of computer modeling
of products, it can still take a few years to get an item to market. So
to see an aftermarket product get to market so quickly and satisfy both
the customers and their end-users the motoring public is pretty