An occasion to improve your knowledge base

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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 (, Vipar ( and Power Heavy Duty ( 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 (, 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 ( will reveal the techniques necessary to make changes in an organization’s culture actually stick.

HDAW Sessions

Kicking off HDAW’14’s Education Program is Creating Distinction by Scott McKain, an internationally recognized expert on distinction ( He will provide proven, real-time strategies on how to set your business apart from your competitors.

There is program is on how to use Key Performance Indicators and other methods to measure your business without having to spend all of your time doing it. Dr. Al Bates of research and executive education firm Profit Planning Group ( will walk the audience through a series of steps intended to make a business more profitable that they may not have considered while running their operations day-to-day.

Brent Grover of Evergreen Consulting, which advises the distribution industry on strategic pricing, business strategy, profit improvement and acquisitions (, will lead a discussion on how to set up and use a new approach on pricing for products and services. This session will provide information on the use of strategic pricing tools and how to effectively implement them.

The final HDAW educational program is on new opportunities emerging with the current energy boom and how distributors and service providers can experience big, profitable volume growth in providing parts and services to a booming industry — fracking. An expert moderator and a panel of parts, service, oil industry and equipment people will guide you through the process to gain the business of this 24/7 business that cannot afford downtime.

There is More

In addition to the Education Program, HDAW’14 includes a Product Expo of the top manufacturers and suppliers, meals functions and receptions for networking.

Most of the key industry players attend HDAW, all for the same reason: to improve their knowledge base and ensure their and their business’ growth for the future.

For full information on HDAW’14, visit

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. HDMA 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).