By Ed Salamy, Executive Director
Summertime means that NACE is just around the corner. Last year was the show’s first in Detroit and attendance seemed to have increased significantly compared to the prior shows in Las Vegas. Personally, I will not miss having to attend two shows in Las Vegas, separated by only two weeks. I will be at NACE again this year and hope to see many ABPA members while I am in the Motor City.
I receive many calls from ABPA members asking me for advice on which industry conventions to attend. I typically recommend NACE and the AAPEX show. Why? The reason is simple; you have the opportunity to not only meet many of the industry leaders in one visit but you also have the opportunity to attend other smaller meetings that are held in conjunction with these larger conventions. CIC and CIECA are good examples.
More Industry Consolidation
In other news, we have learned that we have had additional consolidation in our Association as PartsChannel, Inc. has been purchased by LKQ Corp. As of this writing, the details on the transaction have not been disclosed. What I do know that PartsChannel was an excellent company that was run by some of the most talented executives and store managers in the industry. I wish them the best of luck in their new roles at LKQ or elsewhere.
Despite several acquisitions over the past year (Wheelers and PartsChannel, among others) the aftermarket collision parts industry in the US and Canada is still a vast network primarily comprised of independent distributors. The ABPA has grown from approximately 145 members in 2013, to 180 in 2015. As our industry evolves, many existing companies are evolving while new companies are coming in and creating their own niche.
A major difference we are seeing now is the lack of “mid-sized” companies that were on the scene 15-20 years ago. We have a huge gap between an industry giant such as LKQ and the average sized ABPA member, which may have 1-2 locations. It will be interesting to see what the landscape of our industry will look like over the next few decades.
Representing Our Industry
The ABPA is working hard on many issues that will affect that landscape, notably our efforts in our patent lawsuit against Ford, as well as our support of the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) in Washington DC. Both of these distinctly different efforts are in full force and I want to thank those who have contributed to the cause, either financially or through letter writing. As Executive Director of both the ABPA and QPC, it is frustrating that I cannot post continuous updates on these efforts, as it can be counterproductive to discuss our strategies publicly. However, please continue to check our website and the Body Language digital magazine for updates as we are able to post them.
The “Dynamic Pricing” Threat
It is not just patents that affect our members. A new catch phrase is being circulated in our industry: Dynamic Pricing. As you have been reading in Body Language we have been covering the roll out of GM’s Dynamic Pricing program and offering some opinions on the implications for ABPA members. The ABPA has been in discussion with various companies and individuals to discuss possible solutions and strategies for our members to combat the threat of Dynamic Pricing. As we learn more, we will share with the membership. What I can say is that Dynamic Pricing is something that should not be ignored and, at the very least, every business owner should be closely following this program.
A Call for New Members
Finally, do you have an industry colleague that owns their own business but is not an ABPA member? Let’s work together to encourage them to join the ABPA! Our Association is only as good as the support of its members. Despite the large increase in membership over the past two years, I feel that we can do more to unify our industry. If you know of someone who may be interested to join ABPA refer them directly to me. I would be happy to discuss the benefits of membership and how we fight for their business.
Please take the time to enjoy the summer months with your friends and family. I hope to see many of you in my travels in the near future.