‘Think globally, act locally’ to tackle concerns in our regions
“Think globally, act locally” was first used to urge people to consider the health of the planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. It should now also be a call to action for the aftermarket community to ensure its “ecosystem” throughout all channels remains healthy, vibrant and robust in 2018 and beyond.
From the small-town corner repair shop to the manufacturers and distributors who supply them, the aftermarket has been built on partnerships and relationships within the industry. But now, more than ever, it must reach beyond to elected officials to make sure its interests — and those of the driving public — are addressed as pressing issues such as telematics and cybersecurity can have long-lasting ramifications moving forward.
Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, recently said at AAPEX, “We are a technological industry, and we have to ensure that our industry is allowed the benefits of those emerging technologies so that we can continue to repair those vehicles today and in the future.”
The association’s advocacy strategy at Federal and state levels, he said, is a top priority for 2018. “We’re ready to get stuff done.”
Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), said during Industry week that the association’s aftermarket efforts in Washington D.C. include working closely with the Trump Administration regarding new technology, such as how telematics and its role in vehicle automation affects regulatory and legislative issues.
“We must work to protect the aftermarket,” she said. “All channels must become involved as there are massive changes and we must understand how those changes can affect us on every level.”
The aftermarket must also let its local elected officials know the issues, and their education on them is paramount.
Wilson recommended that manufacturers invite local representatives to their plants to discuss new technology, educate them on the role of the aftermarket, and the role those elected representatives can play in protecting individual’s privacy, cybersecurity, and plan for the future. (MEMA offers a grassroots and online research resource at mema.org that informs on current Washington D.C. aftermarket issues and offers assistance in drafting letters to invite elected officials to aftermarket businesses.)
More can be done on the local level. Invite them to your shop. Invite them to an association chapter meeting. Invite them to learn what your concerns are in your region and let them know who you are. Let them know how telematics will allow you to manage parts more efficiently, reduce warranties and product returns, and improve scheduling and efficiency. Let them know how it can be a tremendous benefit — only, and if only, you are allowed access to vehicle data.
Be proactive on the legislative front, such as the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA) based in Portland, Ore. Cathi Webb, executive director, is helping to rewrite HB3322, a bill that requires automotive and collision repair shops to have a bond in order to place a lien on a vehicle. NATA killed the first bill, which would have overregulated repair shops.
“When NATA heard this was going to pass, despite pushback, we got involved with the help of our lobbyist, Darrell Fuller, and now we are rewriting the bill with input from members,” she said.
The Auto Care Association’s Emerging Technologies Committee is charged with developing subgroups to tackle various issues and concerns. “It’s good to discuss technology and its effects in the aftermarket, but these folks are charged with coming up with solutions,” Hanvey said.
“It’s something the aftermarket hasn’t seen before.”
To all, Parts & People extends our best wishes for a Happy New Year, and with the aftermarket’s determination and diligence to address the challenges and opportunities ahead, we can make it one.