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The coronavirus is possibly the most significant disruptor to companies in the automotive aftermarket repair industries that you’ll experience in your lifetime. It’s solely up to you and your business associates to navigate the turmoil it has caused. How your business survives this black swan event will be determined by how well you can develop new strategies that will benefit your company.

It’s interesting to see how some market leaders in automotive aftermarket repair segments have completely pulled budgeted advertising spend in the face of an 18.6% decrease in miles driven in March 2020 versus March 2019, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration.

During business downturns, historically, companies that continue to keep their marketing and sales strategies in play often capture market share from companies that dramatically reduce spending in those areas. Marketing, advertising, and sales costs are often the easiest to slow or stop completely and then restart.

If you’ve been unable to match the typical spend of the market leader you compete against during good times, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make an impact with potential customers and be known as someone who stepped up long after the market leader restarts marketing spend for attention.

Don’t sit back and wait for your company to recover from the coronavirus downturn; make sure that you, your company, and your personnel are participating in activities that help your community weather this storm. Be sure that you’re seen in the community as someone willing to step up and help others in need. That could be volunteering time and work in the market you serve, offering to deliver meals to healthcare workers, first responders, charities, or offer special discounts for healthcare workers who use your services.

Now is not the time to wait and see what happens. Now is the time to be seen as someone in your city that everyone can count on in difficult times. If you do that, not only will it make you feel good, but it should provide your business with the benefit of new opportunities when we return to normal.

Just Sayin’

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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The Future in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

For me, listening to keynote speaker Tony Aquila, CEO of Solera Holdings, Inc. at Auto Glass Week in Baltimore was most interesting. He led Solera’s purchase of LYNX Services, GTS and GLAXIS from owners Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC and PPG Industries, Inc. earlier this year. Tony’s accomplishments are considerable, especially considering that he grew up sweeping floors working in his uncle’s body shop and he has a 9th grade education. You have to be incredibly impressed by the guy.

The “Strategic Focus” web page for the company states, “Solera is the world’s leading provider of software and services to the automobile insurance claims processing industry.” (Link to corporate history) Solera will certainly be changing the world of auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) with innovative software solutions that will simplify the claims handling process surrounding glass repair and replacement. The organization has the potential to affect the way all consumers and influencers ultimately buy AGRR products and services dramatically. Depending upon the vision and direction Solera heads automotive aftermarket parts and service providers, including the auto glass repair and replacement industry (along with the collision repair industry and parts distribution industry) could be in for some big changes. It’s all about taking out market inefficiencies and reducing costs associated with those inefficiencies.

Just look at the AGRR industry. To ensure that service level expectations of the consumer is ultimately met, any software program would need to have access to the real-time inventory level of any supplier or distributor warehouses in the area, the inventory levels of any AGRR shop or technician in the vicinity vying for repairs or replacements, along with the schedules of all technicians available to properly repair or replace the part.

Imagine when an auto glass replacement is required, if it would be possible for the software program to instantly search for the part determining which supplier(s), distributor(s) or AGRR shop(s) has (have) the part in stock; perhaps ranked by cost for the part while finding the best auto glass replacement technician suited to properly install the part; when and where the consumer wants it installed. With that capability you then have to start asking some questions like:

Once the software program has all of the information required to start processing an auto glass replacement, who or what company is directly buying and paying for the part(s) required?

It could be:

  1. The AGRR shop or technician facilitating the replacement or
  2. Maybe the customer’s insurance company or
  3. If it’s a cash job the consumer could pay.

Which of the three above pays for any part required is important to determine the all-in price to be paid for replacement parts, along with the price paid for required installation supplies and labor.

So which organization determines the pricing level for the various scenarios outlined above?

Who is buying and paying for the part and installation supplies required?

Who is paying for the technician to install the part?

Answers to these and many other questions will give you an idea as to where the industry could be heading. There will be changes coming and margins are probably going to change in the AGRR industry in the near future. And probably not for the better.

What is it you’re doing to be prepared for the future?

Just sayin’.

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Courtesy of TomFishburne.com – Marketoonist.com©

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