In our 2019 Midyear Distribution Update in the June issue of Counterman, aftermarket leaders reflect on their first-half successes and look ahead to second-half opportunities.
Here’s our Q&A with Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association:
CM: We’re at the halfway point of 2019. Could you reflect on Pronto’s accomplishments and highlights from the first half of the year?
BM: It is hard to believe that 2019 is half over. It has certainly been a fast-paced beginning for Pronto and our shareholders. Much of our focus has been on maintaining and building upon our partnership in the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group). The Group continues to provide Pronto with unique opportunities for growth in many areas of our business. We continue to strengthen relationships with vendor partners, working together to ensure growth and profitability throughout the supply chain.
Our service-center programs are consistently outpacing previous years and continue to be a major focus of our sales and marketing efforts. The Group Training Academy is certainly a highlight of our combined efforts with our Federated partners. Training is often mentioned as one of the top needs within our industry, and The Group Training Academy is an industry-leading resource for some of the most respected and valued training available to distributors and service centers alike.
CM: What kinds of challenges and opportunities are you seeing in aftermarket distribution this year?
BM: Certainly one of the biggest challenges, and opportunities, is the quickly changing footprint within the independent distribution sector of our business. Industry consolidation is coming at us faster than ever before on both the WD and service-center sides of the model. Competitive pressures from all sides are forcing businesses to adjust and change with the times or become another acquisition target for consolidators. While we have been witnessing it for a few years now, it certainly seems to be more prevalent in today’s economy.
On an industry level, the big concern is obviously over access to data as well as the ownership of the enormous amount of information being collected by today’s vehicles. We must make certain that data is available throughout all distribution channels moving forward. New technology requirements for doing business in today’s world are dictating decisions for many distributors. Keeping up with technology and helping make data available to the independent aftermarket is a primary focus in our industry today.
CM: What’s on Pronto’s agenda for the second half of the year?
BM: Continued growth of our value proposition for our WD members is the constant focus of our Pronto headquarters team. We strive to guarantee that our membership has access to the best, most up-to-date programs available in the industry today. Whether a vendor partnership, marketing program, national account relationship or technology offering, we want to make sure our group is offering members the tools they need to succeed in this fast-paced business environment. We look to keep our momentum moving forward with our training initiatives, partnering closely with a number of key vendors to create custom content for distributors and service-center members. We will announce exciting service-center program enhancements later in the year that should make for an exciting finish to 2019 and help launch 2020 with a bang.
CM: Anything you’d like to add?
BM: With 2019 off to a terrific start, we are anxious to maintain this momentum throughout the remainder of the year. Our members continue to focus on serving professional service dealers while keeping a keen eye on the changing marketplace. Our partnerships with Federated Auto Parts in the Automotive Parts Services Group, as well as AD International and our 1Parts joint venture, help to keep all our members, customers and vendor partners well-positioned to grow and succeed well into the future.