Informational education sessions were aimed at providing insight into many different aspects of the Heavy Duty Aftermarket industry. Educational sessions provided crucial information for the maintenance professional. Such sessions included information about the impact of counterfeit parts, new developments in the heavy duty brake business, what fleets want from a distributor, as well as a look into the past, present and future of the heavy duty aftermarket.
After the presentations, attendees were given the opportunity to ask specific questions to the panels of presenters. The significance of these educational sessions is something that could be measured by all. Bill Fowler, director of maintenance for Con-Way Central Express, presented under the topic of "What Do The Fleets Want From a Distributor?" His presentation focused on what distributors can do to take them to the next level, in terms of productivity and customer service, as well as where the market itself was heading. "If I can, as a representative, help them understand where the market is going and where we are going, I can better assist them" said Fowler. He continued, "Many suppliers are going to this conference, specifically to see what the needs of the market, as well as the distributors, are.
"ONE MAJOR MEETING"
As a trade-only event, Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week allowed only distributors and suppliers access to the event.
Krause discussed the value of an event like Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week, saying that the task force felt that the industry needed, "One major meeting that will cover the needs of all participants. We looked at all aspects that were needed for a conference to be successful, and put a conference together that had things that all participants needed." Krause felt that the educational aspects of the conference would also be high on participant's list to attend while at the conference. He saw the event as "Jam-packed, with not a lot of overlap. The general session, education, trade show, and one-on-one business meetings were carefully orchestrated, with representation from every distribution aspect."
He went on to discuss the educational aspect of the conference, saying, "Overall, our goal with the educational programs was to take it to the next level over what the individuals in this market have seen. We polled prospective attendees to find out what they wanted to get out of these sessions, and came up with eight main topics to be covered." Attendees were also given the opportunity to interface with the owners and distributors in the market, as well as a chance to meet with top executives.
In addition to the planned conference events, each association also held a general member meeting. This event was not organized as an alternative to regular meetings, but rather, as a means of raising the expectations of distributors and suppliers.
Looking forward to the health of the aftermarket parts sector gives both suppliers and distributors a chance to spot trends in the industry. While this was the first conference of its kind, those planning the event, such as Tim Krause, hope this is just the beginning in terms of the growth of this conference. "We had a great event, and are already planning next year's event!"
For more information about this event, as well as future events, visit www.hdaw.org