By Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association
The year 2020 is off to an unusual start – and although the circumstances have been less than ideal, the reality of our current global health situation is that the world has come together in unprecedented ways.
Amid social distancing, we’re seeing innovative forms of connectivity take center stage – online medical support, streaming concerts, entertainment and classes, virtual doctor’s appointments and religious services, fully-online schools and even cyber trips to the zoo.
The way we do business is adapting quickly too – entirely virtual meetings, conference calls, conferences, webinars – enabling many of us to do business (almost) as usual, even when things are extremely unusual.
But while this global health crisis is impacting us all, what it is NOT impacting is that motorists will continue to drive and need to have their vehicles repaired – including those vehicles that are responsible for critical services and supplies during this time of need.
Where will they have this done? Shops. On whom do the shops depend to have the right parts to them at the right time? Distributors. Where do the distributors get these parts? Manufacturers. All of these players are equally important in the essential industry that is the auto care industry, playing an essential role in keeping the world moving every single day, even in unpredictable times like these.
This year’s AAPEX is already doing its part to integrate all three elements of the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors and shops. We are refocusing on how as an industry can we more effectively create that relationship among more than three channels, so that we can combine the needs of everyone in the industry and help solve them together at AAPEX.
So, right now, how are your relationships with all of your colleagues in this supply chain of essential services? Could you be doing more to establish, grow and foster them? Why not leverage these dynamic new ways of connecting to solidify your shop relationships and support their critical role in not only our industry, but the world’s infrastructure, while you look forward to connecting with them in person at our industry’s biggest connection point, AAPEX, in November in Las Vegas?
We know it’s difficult for everyone to leave their businesses, especially now. We want everyone in the chain to feel a part of our 4.7 million strong family. So how strong and diverse is your family? Is everyone in the supply chain represented? Is everyone welcome at your table?
Join the Evolution
Just like we are all having to work differently, AAPEX itself didn’t become the extraordinary event it is today by thinking small and not evolving to changing times and circumstances.
You’ve seen the evolution of our AAPEXedu series. You’ve seen the evolution of our opening event that celebrates our industry, which features a program that is equal to our size and strength. We had the President of the United States. Think big. Think new.
People need people, and we’re experiencing in real-time that when you can’t see people face-to-face, you find other ways to connect and support one another. Evolve your business practices NOW to fortify and galvanize connections with all your contacts in the supply chain to ready all of us for the dynamo that is AAPEX. There are more ways to do it than ever before.
So, while you may not be able to join everyone at the actual table right now, in the spirit of today’s new (temporarily mostly-online) world, you can certainly welcome them to the virtual table to ensure their inclusion and success at AAPEX.
Do It Now
It’s everyone’s responsibility to help the entire industry succeed, especially in times of uncertainty, and we need to do it now by establishing trust, communication and valuable relationships with our all industry colleagues. Whether its virtual or in person, now’s the time that we strengthen every relationship in the chain, so we’ll all be ready to do it face-to-face at AAPEX.
Let’s not just get through this together – let’s make the most of it by supporting one another in every way we can. Do it now – it will pay off later.
I encourage all of you to join YOUR community at the aftermarket’s premier event in November for networking and experiences that help you maintain excellence and take your business to the next level.
See you at the show.