After two years away, Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) returned with an in-person event last month in Grapevine, Texas.
More than 2,000 people from the independent aftermarket distributor and supplier communities were on hand to discuss the many challenges and opportunities that exist for the independent aftermarket and to discuss how distribution can continue to remain competitive in an increasingly evolving industry.
With educational sessions, awards programs, essential one-on-one meetings and a two-day long trade show, HDAW 2022 was a busy week for all who were in attendance. If you couldn't keep up with everything, or you were unable to make the trip to Texas, here's our Trucks, Parts, Service recap of the aftermarket's biggest week.
HDAW technically began on Monday, Jan. 24, but it was Tuesday, Jan. 25, when the event kicked into high gear.
During the opening general session, TPS announced its 20th Distributor of the Year Award winner and Tim Kraus — longtime Heavy Duty Manufacturer's Association (HDMA) leader — was named to the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Hall of Fame.
Tuesday's session also included a futuristic presentation with Noregon Systems and Mitchell 1, which detailed how smart technology and the data it acquires will enable the trucking industry to adapt predictive maintenance in the years ahead. During that discussion, Noregon and Mitchell 1 both shared how independent distributors and service shops will need to leverage their relationships with customers and supplier partners to remain valuable partners in a prognostic service future.
Another educational session held Tuesday included a smart, detailed address from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Vice President Tony Lee on how businesses must be willing to adapt their hiring processes to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging hiring market. During his presentation, Lee shared 13 tricks that business owners and leaders can leverage to modernize their recruitment and retention practices to maximize candidate pools and hire the best available workers.
Also on Tuesday was a fireside discussion with Port of Los Angeles’ Executive Director Gene Seroka and Deputy Director and Police Chief Tom Gazsi on the current status of the port and the supply chain, and a followup discussion with aftermarket suppliers, distributors and fleet executives on how they are adapting to the industry's new normal. The latter conversation was a highlight for many in attendance as it allowed all in attendance to hear how suppliers are working to circumvent product availability and shipping issues, as well as hear how end user customers would like to be notified when products they require are nowhere to be found.
The supply chain was explored further Wednesday at Service Opportunities Learning Days. After another brief segment from Seroka and Gazsi, a panel discussion including aftermarket suppliers and service shops tackled how both sides can work better together to reduce downtime for customers and keep the nation's economy running. Wednesday's discussion also touched on the vitality of intra-supply chain communication, and how vital supplier transparency is to end user experiences and satisfaction.
Finally, there was the topic of technician hiring. Trucking's technician shortage is not new or unique when compared to other industries, but during Wednesday's session a number of educators shared how the trucking industry does have incredible agency to solve the shortage if it so chooses. By showcasing how industry and education can work together to build better vocational programs, HDAW's final educational segment offered a glimpse at a better future — provided the trucking industry is willing to put in the work to make its recruiting pipeline stronger.