The Heavy Duty After–market has long been a source of quality products for fleet managers. This industry is responsible for the distribution and sale of motor vehicle parts, accessories, service, tools, equipment, materials and supplies. The medium and heavy duty segment of the aftermarket includes the parts, accessories and non-warranty service repair for commercial, industrial and agricultural vehicles, which fall within vehicle weight classes four through eight.
SALES ARE UP
According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, the aftermarket industry employs about 4.6 million people. As of 2004, sales increased to $257.0 billion at over 500,000 businesses. Tim Krause, executive director of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, recounted that the aftermarket industry was doing well, saying, "From everything we hear, business is going well in the heavy duty aftermarket, everyone is busy. There have been no bad reports from any sector, in fact, sales are up 10 to 15 percent."
He also discussed the health of the trucking industry. "Everyone is doing really well. We have seen fairly steady growth, which typically follows the economic cycles. The Heavy Duty Aftermarket industry has seen a growth of about 10 percent over the past few years, with about $14 billion dollars in class six through class eight trucks."
The trucking industry typically sees the effects of an economic recession roughly five to six months before the general public, but, at this time, according to Krause, there has been a "robust growth in the number of ton miles." He continued, "If ton miles are up, then trucks are driving and parts are wearing out." The use of aftermarket parts to replace the worn out parts is a solution for most fleet maintenance professionals.
"Overall operating costs are also lower." Krause said. Aftermarket "products offer the best value, and the sheer number of competitors keep costs down. There has been some growth in pricing from raw material costs, but this is healthy for the industry."
The health of the aftermarket industry can be seen in direct relation to the health of the overall trucking industry. During times of recession, often times, fleet sizes decrease, and full or partial fleets are parked until the economy experiences an increase. During this time, worn out parts are typically replaced with the parts from these parked vehicles. When the economy begins to increase, so does the aftermarket parts industry.
A task force was created in response to the need for a centralized show for aftermarket distributors and suppliers. Not only were the different aspects of the market analyzed, but perspective attendees were also asked to give their input on the conference itself.
The response to this need came in the form of Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). This event was held on January 23-27, 2006 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Presented in part by the Council of Fleet Specialists, Heavy Duty America, the Heavy Duty Distributors Association, the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, the Heavy Duty Remanufacturers Association, the Heavy Duty Remanufacturing Group, the National Wheel & Rim Association, the Overseas Automotive Council, Power Heavy Duty, the Service Specialists Association and Truck Pride, this event was created as a means of combining a few different industry events in order to provide the target market with the most comprehensive collection of distributors and other resources in the market.
RAISING THE BAR
HDAW featured an aftermarket-focused trade show, comprehensive technical and business education sessions, individual association meetings, one-on-one business meetings, as well as other social and networking functions. Those who attended the event enjoyed direct access to top-level suppliers and executives. Another goal of the conference was to "raise the bar on expectations of distributors and suppliers in relation to attending meetings." said Krause "This event is not meant to take the place of general meetings (of the councils). We thought if we could do all of this at one time, in one place, once a year, we could assist the various councils in freeing up several weeks of time for everyone involved."