No doubt you noticed that our "Best Practices" department didn't appear this month in its usual cover position. Well, that wasn't by chance or a mistake. We purposefully pulled it, not because it didn't have value, but because we have created another department that we think has even more value.
"Taking Issue" is the new department that cuts to the chase and cuts across both the wholesale and retail boundaries. Simply put, it deals with looming issues that could sink your business if you make the wrong decisions. We're not so presumptuous to think that this department can provide you with the final answer on these issues, but it can offer you some helpful clues.
This month we deal with inventory with the intent of providing some ideas to develop the best stocking strategy for your business.
In the coming months, "Taking Issue" will deal with a number of other important topics. In the pipeline are: the effects of consolidation on your business; manufacturers slashing services; the proper online strategy; dealing with returns in the most effective manner; and adding specialty parts to bolster your business.
Another change this month is one you'll find on the last editorial page. I am happy to announce that Chuck Hartogh, shop owner extraordinaire, will write the "Shop Insight" portion on the "In the Trenches" page. This is probably one of the toughest columns to write because this is "your professional customer" giving you advice on how to work with shops for the benefit of your business and the shops.
Fortunately for us, Chuck is certainly no stranger to Aftermarket Business or our sister publication, Motor Age. Over the years, he has penned several helpful articles for both publications. When this column opened up, Chuck was our first choice because he has something meaningful to say. This is due to his vast knowledge and impeccable credentials.
For starters, Chuck is vice president and co-founder of C&M Auto Service Inc. of Glenville and Vernon Hills, Ill., which he and his partner Mike Starovich founded in 1984. In the industry since 1976, Chuck is an ASE-Certified Master, L1 Technician. Among his many accomplishments is that he is a member of the "ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Extra" editorial board.
Maybe more important than his credentials is how he conducts business. For example, how many shops do you know have a Customer Advisory Board? Or how many shops do you know require all of their technicians to attend a minimum of 40 hours of training a year, which the owner funds completely?
There's so much more to tell you about Chuck, but given space limitations, I'll wrap up by encouraging you to get to know Chuck through his writing and by contacting him when you have a question. You will be a better business person for doing so.
Larry Silvey, Publisher & Group Editorial Director [email protected]