DOTY finalist: Harman Heavy Vehicle Specialists

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Updated Jul 31, 2016

Last week Truck Parts & Service announced its finalists for the 2016 Distributor of the Year award. We are now taking a brief look at each nominated distributor.

For information on Harman HVS, we turn to Vice President of Operations and Marketing Ian Johnston.

When was your business founded, and by whom?

Harman Supply Company was founded in 1938 by Roy Harman and over the next two decades grew into a brake and spring shop. In 1955 ownership and direction at Harman’s changed, with the Johnston and Everett families buying the business from Roy and transitioning it into Harman Automotive Supply.

Another transition followed in 1984, with the business becoming Harman Heavy Vehicle Specialists, Ltd., under the second generation of Johnston and Everett leadership. Harman HVS has since grown into a heavy-duty warehouse distributor with three locations including a service division and custom driveline manufacturing. We are now in our 78th year of operations, with both Jay and Ian Johnston owning and running the company, making Harman a fourth-generation family business.

How many locations do you have?

We have three locations in southern Ontario, Canada. Our main warehouse and office is in Cambridge, we have a warehouse branch in Woodstock which is moving to a brand new facility in 2017, and our heavy-duty vehicle service division and driveline manufacturing division in Ayr.

How many employees do you have?

We have 50 employees between our distribution and service divisions.

What is your company’s value proposition?

Harman’s has a simple value proposition; great quality service. Give the customer what they want, when they want it for a fair price.

What has been the biggest change in your business over the past calendar year?

I think our single largest change this year with Harman’s has been signing the lease for our new Woodstock warehouse location coming in the spring of 2017. This will allow us to dramatically grow our warehouse size and retail footprint in our Woodstock branch, while adding increased service to the area.

Another large operational change this year was fully integrating our service division as a true branch location, adding in parts sales, integrated computer systems and inventory capabilities on top of our vehicle service and driveline manufacturing.

Why do you believe the heavy-duty aftermarket has nominated you for this award?

I think our peers nominated us again this year as we continue to be a leader in our marketplace and we still continue to be actively involved in the heavy-duty industry at as many levels as we can. We have always tried to lead in our marketplace but we also try to be good stewards of our industry by being involved with things like GenNext, Heavy Duty Aftermarket Canada (HDAC), the Right to Repair movement, etc. By giving to these associations, groups and initiatives we are able to give back to the industry that has given so much to us for over 78 years.

For more on Harman HVS, go to, and check Truck Parts & Service magazine in the coming months.

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