AAPEX panel: Shop owners and technicians want better communication from suppliers

Aftermarket product suppliers got a chance to hear from shop owners and technicians about what they could be doing to improve communication about their products during a panel discussion at AAPEX in Las Vegas. The 5-member panel, all of whom were both techs and shop owners, agreed product suppliers could do more to communicate with them about “what’s inside the box,” the title of the well attended panel at the Sands Expo Center.

Ron Pyle, president of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), moderated the panel, which included Donnie Seyfer, Seyfer Automotive, Wheat Ridge, Colo., Betty Jo Young, Young’s Automotive Center, Houston, Texas, Bill Moss, Ferris EuroService Automotive, Warrenton, Va., Tom Piippo, Tri-County Motors, Rudyard, Mich., and Dave Kusa, Autotrend Diagnostics, Campbell, Calif.

Pyle began the session by summarizing a survey the ASA did on aftermarket purchases, then asked the panelists for suggestions on how to improve supplier/shop relations. He noted there is overall less direct interaction between suppliers and shops.
Young noted that technical training has come a long way, but said suppliers could do more to help with sales training for in-store sales people.

Young also noted that there should be more co-branding for products that include components from more than one manufacturer.

She further noted that suppliers waste money on “junk” marketing programs. She said her customers aren’t going to buy a battery because a NASCAR driver uses it.

Kusa and Piippo both said suppliers could improve on the accuracy of the information in their catalogs. Insufficient catalog information results in misquotes, longer service times and dissatisfied customers.

Seyfer said suppliers who send people to his facility to help him and his staff understand how products work are more likely to get his business. He also noted that suppliers could do a better job communicating about safety.

Seyfer further noted that the industry could do a better job keeping certain issues out of the public spotlight. He said noted that the “right to repair” issue, for example, has become a public issue that doesn’t portray the aftermarket industry as being united.

The panelists agreed that suppliers could do a better job communicating with them.