AAPEX reconvened Tuesday, two years after the global Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing health orders forced its cancelation in 2020.
The eagerness to get the show going was evident: well before 9 a.m., hundreds of attendees were already gathering near entry doors, waiting to get in. Show staff scanned in badges as quickly as possible to accommodate all of them.
Of course, getting into the show this year was different than any other: Attendees, exhibitors, media and anyone else entering the show floor must be fully vaccinated or able to show a negative Covid-19 test. And masks are mandatory.
A flurry of flight cancellations on the part of American Airlines right before the show’s start forced some show attendees to delay, cancel or change their travel plans at the last minute.
Once inside the show floor, it was business as usual. Almost. Trying to figure out who is behind each mask proved to be a challenge. Sometimes, it’s easier to recognize some people over others.
But that’s what the badge is for.
At Tuesday morning’s general session and keynote, there were common threads: The pandemic changed how we do things. We’re going to chart our future course. Right to Repair is one of the industry’s most important issues. We must secure access to vehicle data.
“On behalf of the 4 million essential workers, it is so incredible to finally be able to welcome you back home here to AAPEX,” said Auto Care President and CEO Bill Hanvey, kicking off the morning’s events.
“To be resilient, you’ve all had to overcome tremendous challenges,” said Paul McCarthy, President of AASA. “We’ve had the biggest supply chain disruption since World War II. We’ve struggled to find workers. Not least, we have faced and we refused to be defeated by a tragic pandemic.”
During the morning’s keynote session, six well-known CEOs tackled a range of topics, from recruitment to the effects of Covid-19 on the industry. Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of The NPD Group, moderated the discussion.
•Tom Greco, president and CEO of Advance Auto Parts;
•Kevin Herron, president and COO, Genuine Parts Co., U.S. Automotive Parts Group;
•Greg Johnson, CEO, co-president, O’Reilly Auto Parts;
•Bill Rhodes, president and CEO of AutoZone;
•Corey Bartlett, president and CEO, Automotive Parts Headquarters;
•Sue Godschalk, president, Federated Auto Parts.
Rhodes said he believes AAPEX proves the industry can get back to more in-person interactions. “If we can come to Las Vegas to be together, we can darn sure be together in our stores, our distribution centers and our support centers,” said Rhodes. “I will tell you, I’ve had fewer meetings over the last 20 months than I’ve had in my nearly 27 years in the automotive aftermarket. And it’s time to get together, collaborate and get to work in person on behalf of our customers. That’s my message.”
Godschalk echoed that sentiment. “It’s good to be back and see people face to face. There’s really nothing else comparable to meeting with someone face to face,” Godschalk said.
“Technology has kept us connected but it’s time that we all get back and get out and be with people and talk to people. This event is so great for me because I’m able to renew old relationships, I’m able to form new relationships, I’m able to learn about new products and I just get a ton of information while I’m here. So for me, it’s very productive and I’m very happy to be here.”
Rhodes said a dearth of information meant decisions were made with less information than his colleagues were used to having.
“I learned two key things. I learned a lot but two things stick out the most. I would say first, is the importance of a new attribute to leadership that I really hadn’t focused on a lot in the past, and that’s leadership courage. We normally have so much information, so much history that we can leverage to make decisions,” Rhodes said.
“But in the midst of Covid, we didn’t have that kind of time. And so as leaders, I’m so proud of our leadership team. They were diligent about learning what they could very quickly and then making decisions without all the facts, with 70 or 80 percent of the information we would normally have,” Rhodes continued. “And not having been through this before. The second thing I learned was the importance of our values. As we were making all of those decisions, we had to make sure we were making those decisions aligned with our stated values. Our values were the lens that we made decisions through.”
For Bartlett, the victory by industry associations to get the aftermarket deemed essential by the U.S. government stood out.
“I can’t think of anything more critical than the Auto Care Association’s fight for us to be deemed essential,” Bartlett said. “It was sure fun to watch our team — the guys in the store — stand a little bit taller when they heard, ‘we are essential employees and we are here to take care of our communities. For us, the associations were absolutely imperative to keep rolling.”
“The fight by the associations… to continue to fight the good fight for Right to Repair, the telematics bill… we won a small battle, but there’s still a lot of the war to go,” Johnson said.
Herron cited educating, attracting and retaining young technicians remains a top priority for the industry.
“As you think about where we are today, where we’re headed, the complexity of vehicles, as an industry, we have to embrace the next generation of technicians,” Herron said. “We need to stay aligned with the trade schools, we need to change the image of the technician going forward, we need to create apprentice-type programs, similar to what we do with our NAPA AutoCare Centers, and develop that next level of technician that’s going to keep our industry going forward.”
Greco said corporate practices of the past don’t hold up today.
“The biggest thing I’m concerned about at the moment is talent, broadly,” Greco said. “You think about what’s on in the last 18 months across all the work groups we have — you think about the corporate office where flexibility is kind of the order of the day in terms of where you work, when you work. I’ve moved I think 12 times in my career and I don’t remember being asked if I wanted to move to some of the places I was being moved around in my career. And now, it’s a very different world. We have to adapt to that world to get really talented people into the key jobs we have. Every one of those jobs in the corporate office is vital.
More from the show
CRP Automotive’s 2021 Fall Virtual Roadshow offers customers two ways to connect for 2022 sales and marketing planning
CRP Automotive kicked-off another virtual roadshow outreach to meet with customers in addition to its attendance at this year’s AAPEX show. The new program, which is called, 21 JUMPSTART – Two Ways to Connect, One Way to Drive Your Sales, gives customers and industry partners the choice of a face-to-face meeting at the CRP booth during the show or a virtual meeting online.
21 JUMPSTART is starting now, and CRP’s sales force will be reaching out to customers around the country to schedule meeting sessions. This interactive forum is designed to deliver an experience similar to CRP’s AAPEX booth (#3471). Customers will learn all about CRP Automotive’s new products, training sessions, and plans for maximizing sales and marketing efforts in 2022.
Join CRP Automotive’s Jumpstart Team by visiting www.crpautomotive.com/jumpstart.
New Edelmann Automotive Fittings & Assortments product catalog features more than 800 part numbers
Plews & Edelmann has released its new Edelmann Automotive Fittings & Assortments catalog for the automotive aftermarket. The new 68-page catalog, P/N 90079, features several new fittings for broader application coverage and now contains over 800-part numbers.
Key new additions include Copperhead (copper-nickel alloy) brake lines and coiled tubing, an expanded range of compression fittings to include high pressure steel fittings rated up to 5,000 PSI, and 13 new dealer fitting assortments featuring the most popular sizes and combinations packaged in a convenient case.
For more information, please visit: www.plews-edelmann.com or call 1-800-770-4639.
Epicor previews AI-driven automated inventory management, predictive maintenance solutions
Epicor Software Corporation is previewing two new industry data analytics solutions for automotive replacement parts distributors and service chains. The new solutions, Epicor Predictive Inventory Assistant (PIA) and Epicor Predictive Maintenance Assistant (PMA), are designed to help users increase sales, profitability and customer loyalty by enabling world-class service levels and operational efficiency.
Epicor PIA leverages three Epicor technologies – an AI-driven Automated Decision-Making Assistant, Inventory Management Tool, and Epicor Vista Parts Replacement Rates – to continuously generate recommendations for optimizing inventories at each user location based on product demand and a variety of business-defined rules. This new capability can help distributors improve their competitive position and inventory efficiency by quickly addressing new service trends and other changes taking place within their local markets. The solution also includes AI-driven forecasting of brand and part by vehicle.
“It has become almost impossible for distributors and service providers to keep pace with the rapidly evolving universe of parts and service needs represented in today’s car parc,” said Tim Hardin, senior vice president and general manager of Automotive at Epicor. “Our Predictive Inventory Assistant enables these businesses to protect their single largest asset, their inventories, through an ever-vigilant virtual product manager that monitors and responds to changes in market behavior.”
Visit Epicor at AAPEX booth A2238.
Next-generation REDI-Sensor delivers latest advance in multi-application TPMS sensor technology
Continental, a leading innovator and supplier of OE and aftermarket Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems and replacement parts, has taken multi-application TPMS sensor technology to the next level with its next generation of REDI-Sensor Multi-Application TPMS Sensors. These new, highly advanced and OE validated TPMS sensors were specifically developed in response to a growing demand in the aftermarket to make TPMS service simpler, faster, and easier, while minimizing application hassles and reducing inventory headaches.
The new REDI-Sensor line gives every shop a significant TPMS service advantage by dramatically reducing the different types of sensor SKUs needed to service incoming domestic, European and Asian vehicles. Shops will now only need to keep four REDI-Sensor SKUs on hand to replace over 290 different OE sensors on over 150 million VIO from model years 2002 to 2021.
For more information visit: redi-sensor.com or contact: email@example.com
CRC Multi-Use Automotive Parts Cleaner & Degreaser Pro Series Removes Grease Faster with Advanced Technology
CRC Industries continues to innovate in the parts cleaner category with CRC Parts Cleaner & Degreaser Pro Series. This powerful, multi-use parts cleaner is proven to clean up to 14 times faster than other similar products on the market. Its fast-acting formula and PowerJet spray nozzle save time and physical labor for both automotive repair professionals and do-it-yourselfers, and the product is highly effective for cleaning metal parts including carburetors, chokes, air intakes, throttle bodies, brake drums, rotors, and calipers.
CRC Parts Cleaner & Degreaser Pro Series dries quickly and leaves no residue. The next-level cleaning formula combines with the Pro Series PowerJet spray nozzle to break up deposits more effectively than traditional parts cleaners. CRC Parts Cleaner & Degreaser is also 50-State VOC compliant and meets SAEJ2784 and ASTMD1353 standards.
For more information about CRC Industries, visit www.crcindustries.com.
New Fast Orange Antibacterial Pumice Hand Cleaner removes grease and kills 99% of Germs
Permatex will be introducing Fast Orange Antibacterial Pumice Hand Cleaner, the only heavy-duty hand cleaner on the market to include antibacterial agents capable of killing 99% of germs, the company says.
Fast Orange is one of the most trusted hand cleaners used by professional automotive technicians and DIYers. While cleaning grease and grime remains important, technicians are now also tasked with eliminating germs. Formulated using premium grade surfactants and pumice, along with primary ingredients found in antibacterial hand soap, Fast Orange Antibacterial Pumice Hand Cleaner is the only hand cleaner capable of handling both grease and germs.
Antibacterial agents are not the only improvement featured in Fast Orange Antibacterial Pumice Hand Cleaner. Ben Grueser, Associate Marketing Manager for Permatex, notes, “We know that cleaning power is still what matters most to many professionals, so we made this our most powerful grease fighter yet.” Grueser also noted this new level of performance was achieved without the use of harsh ingredients such as mineral spirits, commonly found in other hand cleaners.
Fast Orange Antibacterial Pumice Hand Cleaner will be available in 7.5 oz and 15 oz squeeze bottles. The new hand cleaner is expected to launch in Q1 of 2022. For more information, visit: www.permatex.com.
Lucas Oil unveils new Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax
Lucas Oil Products Inc. introduced its new Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax at AAPEX. This new addition to the Slick Mist family of appearance products will be on display at AAPEX booth number A5079, and is now available for purchase at select retail stores.
Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax is an easy-to-use Ceramic Coating with unique hydrophobic properties designed to add extreme gloss, shine and depth to paint. This easy-to-apply sprayable protectant adds 10-12 weeks of ceramic protection after being allowed to cure for just a few short hours. Great as a stand-alone product or topper for your existing professionally applied Ceramic Coating.
For more information, visit www.lucasoil.com.
For the latest news and information on the global automotive aftermarket industry, visit https://aftermarketintel.com. Do you have news? Contact Aftermarket Intel Editor Mark Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.