So much has changed in the past 10 to 15 years that I would hate to be someone waking up from a deep sleep and witnessing all the sweeping changes that have occurred - and continue to take place - within our industry.
What hasn’t changed has been the level of business. There continues to be fierce competition for customers, sales volume, market share and increased profits.
Help to Compete
The annual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) was formed more than a decade ago to ensure that the independent parts and service industry would remain market competitive in the future. Since the first event in 2006, the organizers and supporting groups have worked very hard together to develop a conference that always addresses that goal.
HDAW is the largest North American gathering of the independent heavy duty aftermarket. HDAW 2014 (www.hdaw.org) is set for January 27 to 30, 2014 at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
Best business practices, technical information, peer networking, product information and supplier-to-customer conferences have defined every HDAW for attendees.
Last year, HDAW featured a pilot program for owners and managers of service businesses called SOLD. This acronym stands for Service Opportunities and Learning Day. It was a huge hit for those in the service business.
The 2014 SOLD program, which will be run by an HDAW sponsor, Service Specialists Association (SSA), takes place on Monday, January 27, prior to the official opening of HDAW’14. SOLD’14 will concentrate on the quickly morphing nature of heavy duty service and parts distribution and the business decisions involved in managing the transformation.
The SOLD Agenda
Session 1 Service – The Independent Aftermarket’s Final Frontier
Bill Wade of marketing and consulting firm Wade & Partners (www.wade-partners.com) will present ideas on where the next and biggest growth opportunity is for the independent aftermarket. He will discuss the competitive advantages awaiting distributors who choose to add service to their business mix.
Session 2 Navigating New Service Channels
Nobody has their finger on the pulse of the industry better than MacKay & Company, a specialized management consulting and market research firm (www.mackayco.com). A key company will reveal some of the trends that are developing in the service business and demonstrate just how significant they are utilizing the massive resources of MacKay’s up-to-the-minute data mine.
Session 3 The Future of Affiliate Marketing Service Shop Programs
This will be conducted by the leaders of HDA/Truck Pride (www.hdatruckpride.com), Vipar (www.vipar.com) and Power Heavy Duty (www.powerheavyduty.net) who will discuss the advantages of service affiliate programs. Representatives from these companies that are shaping the future of the independent heavy duty aftermarket will address the various forces, both from within and outside the industry, that will have to be dealt with in the coming year.
Session 4 Expanding Parts/Service Opportunities Using Analytics
In one of the most information-dense presentations you’ll ever experience, Bruce Merrifield of Merrifield Consulting (www.merrifield.com), a company serves as a turn-around advisor for wholesale distribution companies and channels, will take participants through the newest techniques in customer needs analysis.
Session 5 Making Change Stick in Shops
The world is filled with consultants who will tell you how to make your shop run more efficiently. In this eye-opening presentation, Dr. Dave Kwinn of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (www.msoe.edu) will reveal the techniques necessary to make changes in an organization’s culture actually stick.
Kicking off HDAW’14’s Education Program is Creating Distinction by Scott McKain, an internationally recognized expert on distinction (www.scottmckain.com). He will provide proven, real-time strategies on how to set your business apart from your competitors.
HDMA is the premier trade association for NAFTA based manufacturers who supply parts to the on-highway, agricultural, construction, military and mining heavy vehicle sector.
Once again the annual event is a success.