LAS VEGAS, Nev. – HDDA: Heavy Duty – a community of the Auto Care Association – has developed a four-pronged strategic plan it says will benefit heavy-duty supplier and distributors.
Hill Hanvey, president of the Auto Care Association, outlined the plan during Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week. He said the challenges faced by heavy-duty distributors are shared on the automotive side, and that HDDA: Heavy-Duty can be an effective voice in addressing some of those challenges.
“We, as an industry, are going through a tremendous amount of change,” Hanvey said. “For the independent aftermarket, whether that be heavy-duty or automotive, have what I call a death by 1,000 cuts philosophy. There are a lot of different pressures put on the independent aftermarket.”
One of the challenges facing the industry, noted Hanvey, is that “We as an industry have to learn how to use data more efficiently.”
He then outlined the four initiatives HDDA: Heavy Duty plans to pursue:
Create industry efficiency through the development of product data standards.
Product data standards, Hanvey explained, “are a consistent, standardized way to present data…it’s simply a way for manufacturers and distributors to have a consistent way to present their products, so we are calling an air spring an air spring, we’re not calling it an air bag or a rubber thing with springs in it.”
Hanvey noted the hardware and pharmaceutical industries have product data standards, which are consistent.
“We have to have a standardized language, that’s what product data standards are,” he said. “We think that’s absolutely imperative to the industry in order for us to become more efficient.”
Benefits, Hanvey explained, are that distributors can be more efficient in how they stock parts, they can carry less inventory, and have the right parts available at the right time.
Cultivate market intelligence to enable members of HDDA: Heavy Duty to make better business decisions.
“How can we be better predictors of what’s going to occur in the industry next year, five years from now, 10 years from now? Are we doing a good job of analyzing trends,” wondered Hanvey.
He said HDDA: Heavy Duty is well positioned to publish monthly indicator reports, showing trends such as how air springs are selling in any given month. Product categories can be referenced by suppliers to see how they compare to industry benchmarks.
“We want to give members the intel they need to make better business decisions,” said Hanvey.
Develop workforce education programs to ensure the long-term growth and viability of the industry.
“Why don’t’ we have an industry-wide education initiative,” Hanvey asked. “We (Auto Care Association) have an education department. Why can’t we expand some of that education to the heavy-duty side as well?”
He said the industry must educate the next generation of leaders
“We as an industry have to take this seriously, because there’s a leadership gap below us and we need to make sure that’s filled,” Hanvey said.
Advocate for the independent heavy-duty aftermarket.
Finally, Hanvey said HDDA: Heavy Duty can advocate for the aftermarket industry in Washington and at the state levels.
“We have to set ourselves up as an industry to make sure we are represented at Washington and at the state level,” he said. “We as an industry are tremendous contributors to today’s economy, our economy would not function without what we do every single day. I feel, and I think it’s very evident, that we don’t get the recognition of respect that we deserve in Washington and at the state level.”
Hanvey noted OEMs have major lobbyists at their disposal, and the independent aftermarket suppliers need to step up their own advocacy efforts.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies