MacKay duo stresses support at Aftermarket Symposium

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Updated May 23, 2014

The commercial vehicle industry had its moment in the sun Wednesday during day two of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium in Rosemont, Ill.

After a full day of light-duty discussion Tuesday, MacKay & Company Vice Presidents Molly MacKay Zacker and John Blodgett kicked off Wednesday’s event with a pair of presentations on growth opportunities for suppliers in the medium- and heavy-duty aftermarket.

Speaking primarily to an automotive audience, the duo zeroed in on two specific areas where all aftermarket suppliers could show improvement — all makes value line parts and supplier support.

Once an afterthought in the commercial vehicle industry, customers are becoming increasingly accepting of all makes value lines for their trucks today, says Blodgett. A recent MacKay & Co. fleet survey uncovered nearly two thirds of all fleets who can identify their suppliers’ all makes product lines are using them in their operation.

RELATED: Aftermarket growth predicted at 3.4 percent in 2014.

The problem, Blodgett says, a majority of fleets remain unaware of the existence of these product lines. They simple don’t know they’re an option. And because both suppliers and distributors sacrifice total margin (i.e. total amount of dollars made per sale) to offer improved price points with these products, Blodgett says higher volume sales are the only way to offset the differences.

He notes a dealer selling a genuine OEM product for $100 and its all makes alternative for $73 needs to sell 46 percent more of the all makes product to equal the total dollar amount earned from the OEM brand.

That’s not an easy task for any distributor, and one where suppliers should be trying to help, Blodgett says.

Supplier relationships and general support is another area where aftermarket distribution could use help, says Zacker.

MacKay & Co. research indicates just 57 percent of independent distributors and service providers polled are satisfied by their relationship with their suppliers. While that number jumps to more than 80 percent among OE dealers, Zacker says it’s clear both sides would appreciate more support.

One way to do that, she notes, is through person-to-person communication. MacKay & Co. research indicates commercial vehicle dealers and independent distributors would both prefer more face-to-face and phone interaction with their suppliers than they are currently receiving, and less interaction via email.

“They want you to call,” she says.

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