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Executive Interview: Fran Labun, Vice President, Sales Group, DENSO Products & Services Americas Inc.

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Fran Labun is vice president of the sales group for DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc., the Long Beach-based affiliate of Japan-based DENSO Corp. He oversees automotive aftermarket and OES sales for the Americas; U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin and South Americas. Labun also oversees the product development and sales for heavy-duty OES and aftermarket channels and directs the DENSO non-automotive product lines for robotics, heat management and hand scanners. In this interview from our sister publication Shop Owner, Labun talks about the evolution of its quality-branded products, the new “My Denso Rewards” program and more.

 

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Fran Labun is vice president of the sales group for DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc., the Long Beach-based 121243FranLabun_00000070626affiliate of Japan-based DENSO Corp. He oversees automotive aftermarket and OES sales for the Americas; U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin and South Americas. Labun also oversees the product development and sales for heavy-duty OES and aftermarket channels and directs the DENSO non-automotive product lines for robotics, heat management and hand scanners. In this interview from our sister publication Shop Owner, Labun talks about the evolution of its quality-branded products, the new “My Denso Rewards” program and more.

 

Can you provide an example of how one of your leading products/brands is evolving to meet the needs of today’s shop professionals?

According to Automotive News, DENSO is the second largest automotive supplier in the world. With fiscal year 2012 annual sales of more than $38 billion, DENSO has the stability, strength and OE-level quality that today’s professional installers can rely on now and in the future.  We are in it for the long-haul!

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Our aftermarket business began in 1982 with one product – spark plugs.Today, we have more than 20 aftermarket products under the DENSO “First Time Fit” brand including A/C compressors, starters, oxygen sensors, alternators, fuel pumps, wiper blades, oil, air and cabin air filters, expansion valves, receiver/driers, condensers, ignition wires, relays, direct ignition coils, fuel injectors, MAF sensors, radiators and evaporators.

“First Time Fit” means that because of our OE strength and heritage, the part is guaranteed to fit right the first time, saving the shop owner time and money with fewer comebacks. That also means less time for the technician to make modifications or adjustments and also only having to do the job once; protecting the shop owner’s reputation with their customers because the customer trusts the shop and the parts they install.

With even more aftermarket products slated to launch in the near future, it is an exciting time for DENSO’s aftermarket business … and that benefits the shop owner and professional installer by providing a wide array of product choices for their business and their customers.

How does a leading manufacturer maintain the strength of its high-quality, branded products in an increasingly price-driven market?

Competition is good! It gives our company a chance to shine. We think that when you compare DENSO with other product choices available, we offer an excellent value. There is a Japanese word, “kaizen” which means continuous improvement. DENSO corporate culture strongly believes in this philosophy and looks for ways to continuously improve our product, increase efficiencies and reduce costs to provide a better value for our customers.

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Discuss the “My DENSO Rewards” program and how distributors and techs can reap the benefits.

The “My DENSO Rewards” program was launched in July, 2013 and its purpose is to provide an incentive or “rewards” program for WDs, jobbers, shop owners, counter people and professional installers to earn award points by selling the DENSO line of cabin air filters and wiper blades. We plan to add additional products to the program in the very near future. Those who sign up for the program will earn points and have a wide range of items to choose from based on the number of points they earn. We want shop owners and professional technicians to be aware that in addition to more technical components such as A/C compressors and alternators, DENSO offers high-quality maintenance products such as filters and wiper blades that they can present to their customers as an OE quality option. To sign up, go towww.mydensorewards.com.

Discuss recent company expansions and how they help your company better serve your customers.

On April 1, 2013, we announced the completion of our reorganization under a new name — DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc. The establishment of our aftermarket business headquarters for the
Americas in Long Beach, Calif., was first announced on Oct. 31, 2012, at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas.

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As part of the reorganization, American Industrial Manufacturing Services in Murrieta, Calif., a DENSO group company that produces remanufactured products, ­including starters and alternators and repairs common rail diesel fuel injectors is combined with DENSO Sales California Inc. in Long Beach, Calif.

This change enhances our aftermarket operations in The Americas and is aligned with the global aftermarket growth plans we announced last year when we introduced DENSO’s Aftermarket Business Unit in Japan.

The new organization will be responsible for engineering, procurement, sales, service and planning for aftermarket, heavy-duty, OES and non-automotive products. DENSO has identified these segments for expansion in the Americas with the goal to provide even more quality products and services to our customers.

 

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