HDMA is made up of 188 North American suppliers of new equipment, vehicles and replacement parts to the global commercial vehicle industry. One of the industry events that HDMA is involved in as an owner or part owner with other associations is the annual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). Held each January in Las Vegas, it is an action-packed week of networking, education, face-to-face meetings and all of the typical convention/conference type of activities.
The eighth annual HDAW will take place this coming January 21 to 24.
The purpose of HDAW is to bring together about 550 distributors and service shop operators and their 250 supplier companies, consultants and the trade media for a week of all of the aforementioned activities.
Each spring, a large group of industry volunteers and association staff meet to begin the planning process for the next event. Topics to cover are selected from feedback received from distributor and supplier attendees through a post-conference survey after each HDAW and from the various boards of the participating associations.
The objective of the annual planning process is to put together a comprehensive program that will provide as much useful information as possible to make sure distributors and shop owners return each year. And they do return. The audience has ranged from 1,300 to nearly 2,000 for the past seven HDAWs.
Education is the main emphasis for HDAW, chiefly on best practices, new innovations, new management methods and marketing approaches.
The Program Focus
The theme – and thrust – for HDAW 2013 is Formula for Success: Focus on the Future. The planning group feels that by having a strategic view of the market, each distributor, shop operator and supplier attendee can plan for the constant changes in the market.
The general sessions of HDAW 2013 will key in on the economy and on how to build for tomorrow and successfully compete in an increasingly competitive market. Four separate sessions will deal with:
- Building and promoting an organization’s own brand.
- New technologies and what a distributor and shop owner need to do to prepare (think natural gas and hybrid power).
- How to unbundle services and when to charge for the things we all used to give out of goodwill to the customer.
- How to look at a core business’ competencies and how to find ways to outsource certain elements that create problems for the average small business.
An optional session this year has been developed specifically for shop owners and managers. Being held on the opening day of HDAW, much of this new program has to do with modernizing shop operations to help an independent shop operator better compete directly with truck dealers. There will also be a service program, named SOLD (Service Opportunities and Learning Day).
Summing Up HDAW
There are several hours scheduled during HDAW for an excellent product expo with the senior management of most of the exhibiting suppliers on hand. There are also about 12 hours set aside for a unique feature of HDAW - pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings between distributors and shops and top executives from industry suppliers. Many attendees view this as the highest value of the conference.
This column may sound like a big commercial for HDAW 2013, and perhaps it is somewhat. However, the majority of the sponsoring organizations are non-profit industry groups whose primary mission is strengthening the independent heavy duty aftermarket, and HDMA feels that it is important to get behind that objective.
We and our two partners - Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) and Heavy Duty Distribution Association (HDDA) - are all part of those non-profit groups and exist solely for the betterment of the industry.
Visit HDMA’s website at www.hdaw.org for more information.
Tim Kraus is the president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA). Prior to joining HDMA, he served in various executive positions with heavy duty industry parts manufacturers. The Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association exclusively serves as the industry voice of the commercial vehicle product manufacturers. It is a market segment affiliate of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). www.hdma.org.