Change is the Only Promise We Have

Change is the Only Promise We Have

Our business is about change. It is the only guarantee we have. Over the years, I have seen many store acquisitions. Just about every situation turns out the same, but the journey is always full of twist and turns. Acquisitions occur for a variety of reasons. Some are on terms that are less than ideal; some are just simply because the owners want out; others are changeovers from one buying group to another; and some happen when a customer is no longer solvent enough to pay their bills and we have to take over to wipe the debt clean.

No matter the reasoning for the acquisition, our goal is to make the store a winner. Everyone who works around me knows the only promise I make: “Things are going to change.” Some changes are good, some are bad and some are just different. Coping with change in our business has not always been easy, though.
To my advantage I came into the parts business just as computers were hitting the counters; the old guys at the time were very concerned that computers were beyond them.

That change turned out fairly well for them and all of us. In 1986, we had no idea what the Internet would bring us. Those crazy electronic ignition systems did not look so great in the beginning, but it worked out. The early fuel injection systems were really not so great but, we learned what O2 sensors were and why EGR valves were more important than we originally thought. Then, we had cars without a distributor. What is that all about? We learned that cam sensors and crank sensors controlled the computer and coil packs and modules were now the future. As the throttle body injection went away and multiport came along, it all worked out yet again. So change is not all bad, is it?

Spencer Johnson’s excellent book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” illustrates change and how it affects our lives. The whole gist of the book is that four different characters go out looking for cheese. All four go out and find the cheese and begin to live comfortably. However, two of the characters find a comfort level and begin to be complacent. The other two enjoy the current victory and findings but continue to look forward and go out to find new cheese to survive. In the end, the two who are complacent run out of cheese and start to become weak and the two who are cognizant of the situation and acknowledge the fact that the cheese is disappearing, move on to a future plan of finding new cheese. Just as in the parts business, there is little room for complacency.

Cars have been in a constant state of flux since Henry Ford began to streamline them in 1908. Cars are no longer mechanic-friendly; their longevity has no comparisons to those of Mr. Ford’s day. We once had worn-out engines at 60,000 miles and now we are still going strong at 200,000. That begs the question: should we have been satisfied with conventional motor oils and a naturally aspirated carbureted engine? That is a matter of opinion. Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you are finished.” We can only control one person and that is ourselves.

The automotive aftermarket is coming to a crossroads of sorts as we move to alternate fuel sources. As China and India, two of the largest nations in the world, move toward more modern times and oil supplies begin to be diminished, electric and or hydrogen-fueled cars will be in our future. There will be terminologies we’ve never heard of. But we need to learn and embrace all those terms.

Change is a coming and that is the only promise we have.

You May Also Like

Will Surging Gas Prices Hurt The Aftermarket?

The jolt to miles driven – a key indicator for the aftermarket – remains to be seen.

Editor's note: This column appears in the June issue of AMN/Counterman.

As of today (June 15), the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States is $5.01, according to AAA. That’s up from $4.47 a month ago.

Remember the good old days? A year ago (from June 15), the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $3.076 – a great time to fill ‘er up, compared to today.

Online Ordering Isn’t A Fad

Online sales in the automotive aftermarket continue to grow.

What Will the ‘COVID-Era Consumer’ Do in 2022?

The beauty of the automotive aftermarket is that the economic conditions always seem to work in the industry’s favor.

Online Shopping
Right To Repair, Trade Associations And You

In the fight for Right to Repair legislation, aftermarket trade groups can’t do it alone.

Veterans Can Be Heroes Off the Battlefield Too

Veterans bring an incredible amount of value to the civilian workplace, in terms of nontechnical and technical skills.

Veterans and Vehicles

Other Posts

What’s Really Driving The Automotive Aftermarket’s Growth?

NPD’s Nathan Shipley looks at the many moving pieces contributing to the industry’s recent spike in demand.

aftermarket growth
Strength In Numbers

The automotive aftermarket is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit.

Teamwork automotive aftermarket
Never Stop Learning

With so much internet-based training content available, it’s never been easier to expand your knowledge base.

Continuing Education
Welcome To 2035 – What Things Might Look Like

The future is what we make it. We need to start addressing technology now so 2035 becomes a bright future.

Future of Transportation