The cost of missed opportunities

Oct. 23, 2023
MEDCO CEO Kevin Short discusses new opportunities for mobile tool distributors if they’re willing to take the leap.

Over 1,000 people — including customers, guests, and suppliers — traveled to the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the 2023 MEDCO/ACE TOOL/G2S Tobeq Customer Show on October 13-14.

With the 2022 show having been canceled due to a hurricane in Florida last October and travel restrictions from COVID still affecting the show back in 2021, this was the first time in two years that some of the distributors were able to attend the event, meeting up with old friends and making some new ones. This year’s show boasted over 400 distributors.

MEDCO President and CEO Kevin Short was excited to have their Canadian attendees present for the show, as over his four years as CEO this would be the first show where they could attend.

“One of the cool things about this event is … we’ve been able to have our Canadian presence here in full force,” Short said. “We have our team here, we have some Canadian suppliers, and we have lots and lots of — I think 80-plus — Canadian customers that have all come to the show.”

Short was equally pleased to reconnect with their U.S. distributors as well, who made up around 80 percent of the distributors in attendance.

To view more photos of the event, click here to see the photo gallery.

Showing some appreciation

Getting a group of people together can be challenging in the best of times, but between a global pandemic and natural disaster striking, it makes you really appreciate when you can finally all come together again. Short noted that one of the main goals of this year's event was just to show how grateful they are to their clients.

“To bring [everyone] here to Charlotte, which happens to be my hometown, and hopefully show them a good time, show some appreciation, give them the ability to be a little bit more knowledgeable, and go back and run an even better local business, are all the kinds of things that most shows have in common,” Short said, “but we really, really wanted to say thank you to everybody.”

One way MEDCO chose to express its appreciation was through its Friday night event. Suppliers, distributors, and guests alike were all invited for an evening of food, fun, and prizes at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Attendees were able to try their hand at being a NASCAR driver while racing on a simulated track against each other, challenging each other as members of a pit crew, and exploring the history and future of NASCAR. The four levels of the Hall of Fame held various retired racecars and other NASCAR memorabilia for everyone to explore and enjoy.

Opportunities on the rise

MEDCO is passionate about their responsibility to their customers and helping them grow their businesses – they are always looking at providing new ways of thinking to help them achieve this.

With MEDCO’s business covering both the tool and equipment space and the paint, body, and equipment space (PBE), Short noted that MEDCO is in a unique position to present a more holistic view of the business and the opportunities that are available to bring these two worlds together. It’s an opportunity to educate people on cross-functionality – giving mobile tool distributors a deeper understanding of PBE opportunities and vice versa for the more collision-focused jobbers.

“What better way to do it than here on the show floor where we can challenge and educate them about new possibilities,” Short stated. “If we can help them grow, that’s sort of our main reason for being. And, the more successful we help our customers to be, the more successful we can be as well.”

Aside from the tool and equipment demos given on the show floor, distributors were also aided in their growing process by the training events held throughout the show. Over a dozen suppliers held breakout training events on Friday and Saturday, such as Honeywell’s training on electric vehicles (EVs) and the personal protective equipment (PPE) technicians need to work on them.

Short sees industry trends such as EVs as another opportunity for growth. It’s not only about the distributors potentially introducing their customers to the EV market but also providing their customers who already work on hybrid and electric vehicles with tools and equipment, including PPE, to get those jobs done.

“There's nothing that costs you more money than driving right by opportunity,” Short said.

Stay tuned to learn when and where next year’s show will take place!

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!