Change is underway at VIPAR Heavy Duty.
Within minutes of being named the third president in VIPAR Heavy Duty’s 24-year history, Chris Baer was up at the podium Monday at the company’s annual business conference in Orlando outlining his goals for the buying group into the next decade.
Baer says VIPAR Heavy Duty is thriving. It’s growing at faster rate than the aftermarket at large, and thanks to past President Steve Crowley’s 16-plus years of leadership, it’s well positioned to sustain its market success. But Baer also acknowledges the aftermarket is changing, and VIPAR Heavy Duty is readying itself to adapt to those changes to ensure its distributor network remains on top of the market for years to come.
“First and foremost VIPAR Heavy Duty is a buying group,” Baer says. “Everything we do needs to support the organization and our distributors to grow profitability.”
On Monday Baer outlined five key tenets VIPAR Heavy Duty is working to improve that he believes will help move the company forward: Index to Market; Operational Efficiencies; Competitive Advantage; Technology and NEXUS Automotive International.
Baer says this “Game Plan For Growth” capitalizes on VIPAR Heavy Duty’s most valuable resources—its stockholder and employees’ expertise, as well as Global Parts Network and its NEXUS partnership—but will also strengthen other areas of the business to bring up the performance of the entire organization.
“We are fine tuning the machine,” he says.
In addition to Baer’s words on the future, Monday’s general session also featured business development, program management, GPN and marketing updates, as well as an introduction to NEXUS and a presentation from Dick Friedman on e-commerce and its opportunities and threats.
The introduction to NEXUS was led by CEO Gael Escribe, who helped found the business in 2014. A 20-year global aftermarket veteran, Escribe says NEXUS was formed to help create a “global aftermarket alliance to create dialogue with globalizing suppliers.”
Friedman’s presentation, which will continue on Tuesday, was focused primarily on Amazon Business. Friedman says Amazon Business has replaced Amazon Supply is already doing more than $1 billion in sales. With more than 300,000 sellers (of which Amazon is only one), Friedman says Amazon hopes to make Amazon Business a place where businesses come to buy. He says the site already has product categories that only allow businesses to purchase. And Friedman says Amazon itself plans to do more with the platform than just list products. He says the company is identifying high-moving, bulk purchased products that will be singled out as featured items, and says Amazon plans to develop product training for those products to offer as a value added service for purchasers.
Tomorrow, Friedman plans to offer VIPAR Heavy Duty distributors detailed guidance for combating such a competitor.