Phoenix With more than 70% of its membership in attendance, the 28th Annual Automotive Parts Associates (APA) Shareholders’ & Manufacturers’ Conference, held March 5-7 in Phoenix, proved successful in proclaiming that this group is serious about supercharging its business through networking and sharing best practices, and participation in educational sessions.
Central to the program’s mission were the Manufacturer One-on-Ones, where APA shareholder members met with APA vendors to discuss concerns or issues and garner business-building ideas. APA vendors also had the
opportunity discuss new products and promotions.
At the general session, three new board members were applauded and APA board election results were announced. Dan Freeman, APA president and CEO (who was acknowledged for 20 years of service to the association at the opening reception), also recognized eight new members, who each received new member plaques.
The general session included a Recognition Awards Ceremony that acknowledged Vendor of the Year MAS Industries; Branded Vendor of the Year Centric Parts; and Outstanding Marketing Partner KYB.
Two board members were also recognized for service to APA: Jeff Levine, Levine Auto & Truck Parts; and Wayne Pare, Chicopee Automotive Warehouse.
In addition, two members celebrating 50 years or more in the business, were recognized with an Automotive Aftermarket Service Award: 70 years Automotive Products, Inc. and 57 years Morris Automotive Supply.
Following the general session, Rod Bayless with Activant discussed the importance of customer service and merchandising, and encouraged the WD shareholders to partner with their installer customers to help them work smarter and sell more parts, and provide “intelligence” about failure spikes on certain models.
He also discussed helping installer customers increase their average revenue per repair order; target new customers; increase gross profit and optimize their parts supply chain.
After the general session, attendees enjoyed an energetic and animated “Winning Through Faster Teamwork” presentation by keynote speaker Derek Daly (native of Ireland who won the 1977 British Formula Three Championship and competed as a professional F1 and IndyCar driver for 17 years).
Daly spoke to the audience about looking for new ways to beat the competition, and advised attendees to encourage their employees to harvest and present ideas, and share information and techniques.