Federated Auto Parts members gather in Phoenix for national meeting
Phoenix—Hundreds of members of the Federated Auto Parts program distribution group from across the nation assembled in late April at the organization’s national meeting. Member distributors were provided four days of extensive meetings with Federated staff, reports from various committees, and individual meetings with Federated vendors.
The opening day of the gathering provided members with updated information on technology and IT programs available to Federated members, including the Enhanced Supply Chain program and other initiatives. In a session moderated by Herb Godschalk, IT committee chair and co-president of Fisher Auto Parts based in Virginia, various vendors and staff presented detailed data on electronic solutions that Federated has in place for members, including the exchange of virtual inventory data with manufacturers, special order systems, invoicing, and e-commerce programs, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as marketing tools.
Various vendors provided extensive data on turnkey processes available to Federated members that assist in making the flow of auto parts from either the Federated Co-Man warehouse in Virginia, or orders directly from manufacturers, a more efficient and profitable process for Federated’s Autoi programs.
In the opening business session, Federated President Larry Pavey said the group is indebted to suppliers for their exceptional ongoing support, especially at the national meeting, where scores of manufacturers provided information, special meetings with members, and sponsorship of events.
Phil Moore, Federated’s executive vice president of member and media relations, said there are record numbers in the Federated car care program and it continues to “build on a strong foundation.” He said the Federated Car Care Center Program is “the most complete and comprehensive of its kind.”
Federated officials were excited about the motorsports programs that the group continues to sponsor, including the Iron 55 race at Federated Raceway Park in Pevely, Mo., and the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond, Va., in September. A variety of other race events are also part of Federated motorsports programming, and Pavey said more than 10,000 Federated customers will be hosted at various events throughout the racing season.
In a meeting with Federated CEO Rusty Bishop and Mike Allen, Federated’s vice president of vendor and member relations, the expansion of the group’s Co-Man warehouse was reviewed. Bishop said an expansion of 93,000 square feet now provides more than 300,000 square feet of space for parts distribution. “Our accuracy rate on shipments is 99 percent,” Bishop said.
“The auto parts business is good across the country,” Pavey said, during a marketing meeting session, adding that as vehicle age increases and dealer bays are down, there is a better share of parts sales for the aftermarket. “There are favorable trends for the aftermarket, but there are also future concerns about OE dealer strength, the vehicle age mix, retail growth, inventory proliferation, fuel prices, driving habits, and technology,” he said.
Pavey said there will be import-vehicle growth over the next several years and noted that the current strong 6-10 year light-vehicle average age will have a 12-percent growth pattern between 2012 and 2017. He said that in 2010, more than 80,000 new part numbers were added in the industry, causing concerns about the issue of parts proliferation.
Bishop said the Federated Car Care Center programs are designed to be selective and an extension of the brand. “Our car care kit has built-in value to installers,” he said. “We hang the signs, help implement programs and systems, and Federated is the first group to offer computers at the installer level.” Bishop also said that Federated offers several different layers of training for car care centers so that shop personnel are able to attain the proper education and training systems needed to be successful.
“Motorsports is like advertising,” Bishop said. ”Our customers love racing and the hospitality programs we offer to them,” he said. Federated’s team driver and racing spokesperson, Kenny Schrader, is used in a variety of programs, Bishop said, including access to Federated customers at events and the “Get Dirty with Kenny” annual promotion at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway in Missouri. “We’ve grown from 4,000 customer participants at race events to 10,000,” said J.R. Bishop, Federated’s director of motorsports and event marketing.
Media covering the national meeting were provided with Federated member presentations on the new Hovis automotive technical training center in Pennsylvania and the expansion of the state-of-the-art Fisher Auto Supply main warehouse in Virginia. The Fisher group was the founding member of Federated Auto Parts.
The Outstanding Vendor of the Year Award was given to Standard Motor Products (SMP). “SMP received the most votes from Federated members for exceptional dedication to excellence in all areas, including leadership, marketing, training, and sales support,” Bishop said, at the awards presentation.
The Industry Advocacy Award was presented to Tim Trudnowski of Automotive Jobbers Supply in Spokane, Wash. Trudnowski’s employee-owned firm was a founding member of Federated and he has served on several of the group’s councils and the Federated Auto Parts board of governors. He is currently vice chairman of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association.
Based in Staunton, Va., Federated Auto Parts is one of the largest auto parts distribution and marketing organizations in North America.