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Logistics Newsmaker Q&A with Peter Green of BellHawk Systems
New England-based BellHawk Systems provides work-in-process and materials tracking systems for a variety of different industries. Company President Peter Green recently published a white paper on the value of using license plate container tracking barcodes to improve inventory visibility inside the warehouse. Read more.
Sales of new vehicles will slow while miles traveled will soar, IHS Markit says
The automotive future will be different – though with some noticeable similarities – as the convergence of disruptive technologies, government policies and new business models usher in a new era of multidimensional competition, says a new major research initiative by IHS Markit, a leader in information, analytics and solutions. Learn more.
Aptiv opens Boston technology center
Aptiv PLC, a global technology company focused on the development and commercialization of advanced mobility solutions, has opened a new technology center in Boston's Seaport district, expanding the company's U.S. engineering footprint and further establishing itself as a leader in the future of mobility.
The new Boston Seaport facility joins Aptiv's technology centers in Pittsburgh and Mountain View, Calif., focused on automated mobility-on-demand (AMoD) and data management development.
How a Pennsylvania Shop Owner Converted a Virginia Customer
Here’s a very easy riddle for you: What’s 12/12, 24/24 or 36/36 and a creative way to convert new customers with later model vehicles?
You know it: Your shop’s warranty.
Offering customers a warranty is one of the best ways two owners say they are able to market their shops and even get those coveted new customers. James Santistevan, owner of Zia Automotive Repair in Albuquerque, N.M., says once they are able to get a new customer in the door and show them their 36-month, 36,000-mile warranty, that they are available on Saturdays and the customer’s schedule, there many times is simply surprise, not pushback.
For Keith Katz, owner of Quality Service Center in York, Pa., he pushes his shop’s 24-month, 24,000-mile warranty on the shop’s website, Facebook page and other social media platforms.
“All of our marketing material that gets sent out, whether it’s reminders or trying to attract a new customer, that’s one of the things we try to push,” he notes. “We use that a lot in our marketing.”
And when a new customer does call on the shop, he stresses the real benefit of the warranty: that’s 24 months, 24,000 miles parts AND labor.
“We’re not going to jump through any holes, we’re going to support your parts and labor,” Katz says. “It’s one of those wow factors, because for a lot of people it means a lot because car repair isn’t cheap any more.”
There are other secrets these owners use to convert net customers, and Santistevan has one trick no one else is using in his area that you too can benefit. Hear that and more in this episode of the NAPA AutoCare Center Podcast.
Hear that and how the warranty landing Katz and his Pennsylvania shop a new customer – from Virginia! – in this episode.
Aftermarket exporters capitalizing on Export-Import Bank to fund foreign sales
Although it may be flying under the radar for many aftermarket executives, exploring the financial programs available through the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) could help you gain a foothold in the international sales arena. Learn how.
Two Approaches to Training, One Successful Result
What tool is the most common one you or your technicians use? Is it a tool like we have thought of for decades, or does it fall under a new definition? As Jim Maddox, owner of Jim’s Automotive in Albuquerque, N.M., puts it, it’s probably the latter.
“We used to be mechanics that were twisting wrenches, now we’re technicians holding laptops,” he says.
Because of that shift in what is needed to repair a vehicle, it’s time to stop thinking that anyone in your shop has the luxury of putting off training when it comes to new vehicle technology. The reality is that you don’t. “New vehicle technology” covers more than just models rolling off the line from here on out. Look at vehicles coming into your shop for service. Those that are five to 10 years old have increasingly higher amounts of “new” technology on them than every before.
“The way a vehicle has advanced the last few years alone, we are seeing more need of course for information, but also good technical training that is going to allow our guys to repair the vehicles, all the sensors, all the computers that are in a vehicle,” says Jon Bockman, owner of Bockman’s Auto Care in Sycamore, Ill.
He should know; he is a second-generation shop owner. “What we see a lot is where everything has become, you are basically an IT professional and you are using your laptop and scopes and you have to make sure you have all the information. And our guys know what that information means. Trying to keep up is the hardest part.”
Keeping up means training, whether it is in the form of videos, classes, books, online resources or other educational assets. As Maddox states, what you thought a few years ago you wouldn’t see much of in terms of new technology, you really are. And that requires more and more training.
Both shop owners agree that training and gathering information is more important than ever, and they share numerous examples in the NAPA AutoCare Center Podcast.
But here’s the difference: One man requires training of his employees and the other just encourages them. How do they compare to your business? Both get the results they want from their techs, but who do you fit more in line with?
Discover the different ways you can maximize what you get from your employees when it comes to training in this podcast, and you just might walk away with a new look at how you should approach training.
Promotion offers holiday savings on Monroe, Rancho Ride Control Products
Tenneco is getting into the spirit of the holiday season and giving consumers a chance to save on premium ride control components with its new Monroe Holiday Consumer promotion, available December 1 through January 31, 2018 through participating automotive parts and service locations. Learn more.
Fleet managers carry less on-site inventory this year, study shows
Fleet managers are carrying less on-site inventory this year than last year, according to the 2017 Aftermarket Business World Fleet Product Study. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to this year’s study said they order parts as needed, compared to 48 percent who said that in last year’s study.
The One Star That Can Change Your Bottom Line
For every star you have on Yelp, you generate about 9 percent more revenue.
With that in mind, are you asking for enough reviews on the right internet sites to market your repair shop? Perhaps it goes beyond asking to reworking parts of your shop’s culture to really achieve the positive reviews you deserve (again, without having to ask).
Joe Sevart, owner of I-70 Auto Service in Kansas City, explains that his shops have built a culture around “love, serve and care,” and that instilling that into every aspect of the business is reiterated often, including at weekly meetings. This culture truly works for the shop, which no longer has to ask for customer reviews like they once did.
“By everybody doing their job and giving amazing customer service and going above and beyond, our customers are choosing to write those reviews on their own,” he says during an episode of the NAPA AutoCare Center Podcast.
Speaking on the podcast along with Sevart is Sharon Anderberg, owner of Aero Auto Repair in San Diego. The two are pillars to look up to when it comes to successful digital marketing plans. They have the solid reviews, Google search results and social media clout to prove it. But as Anderberg explains, these digital rewards start within the physical shop.
“The level of service is key,” she says. “Letting your customer know you’re going to take care of them and do that no matter what, that’s what generates the affinity with the customer and they have the willingness to leave the review.”
When you are there for your clients, proving your dedication to them, or building a culture like I-70 has, customers will be more apt to leave you positive reviews in the right places, like Yelp, Google and Facebook. These last two are key, as Anderberg notes; having great reviews on those platforms is important to your Google ranking.
Learn the secret to getting online and getting noticed with this episode of the NAPA AutoCare Center Podcast. Because, as Sevart puts it, “We found out many years ago you definitely need to be online and you need to be on the first page of Google.”
How New Customers Are Found In A Can of Paint
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.
When Brian Hough and Kevin Hough painted their first location – Kennesaw Auto Center in Kennesaw, Ga. – they had no idea that the response would be so marked.
“We had some customers come in and ask if Brian and Kevin sold the business!” Brian Hough recalls. After adding their photos noting them as owners back onto an interior wall, Brian Hough says the simple updates like new paint, signage and a marquee sign with a reader board really made a difference in their shop’s business, and allowed them to open a number of other conversations with customers.
The Houghs locations, both Kennesaw Auto Center and Cedarcrest AutoCare in Dallas, Ga., are NAPA AutoCare Centers. And like Brian Hough explained, their experience is not unique to just the greater Atlanta area.
Ron Tinner, owner of Sparks Tire and Auto in St. Charles, Mo., joined Brian Hough on the NAPA AutoCare Center Podcast and shared a nearly identical experience. For his location, too, working on a shop transformation was a boost for business.
“At first, of course, you don’t want to believe that just by painting your building you’re going to make a landmark decision here,” he says. “But I will tell you that we ... Read More