Perspectives: Do You Know Your Parts?

Perspectives: Do You Know Your Parts?

The Know Your Parts campaign is the brainchild of AASA's Marketing Executives Council, which studied a growing trend among parts stores and service shops that are featuring lower-cost, often lower-performing aftermarket parts.

By Jeff Stankard, Publisher

The following excerpt is from a letter to the editor we received a couple weeks ago. This is not the first time I’ve heard this opinion, but the timing of it was interesting.

"If I put aftermarket parts on a car and I have warranty issues with those parts, I will not use them anymore. And, if those parts become improved, I won’t know it because I am never going back to them again to find out if they have been improved. Or, if a certain brand lets me down, I switch to a more reliable brand, never to go back, unless it can be proven they have corrected the problems they had 15 years ago. And, that is my point on this particular subject — parts can improve, but how will a shop know this unless the outside salesman can show the improvement? Once burned, twice shy."

I say the timing of the comment above is interesting because I just attended AASA’s Vision Conference where the theme of the meeting was “Know Your Parts.”

The Know Your Parts campaign is the brainchild of AASA’s Marketing Executives Council, which studied a growing trend among parts stores and service shops that are featuring lower-cost, often lower-performing aftermarket parts in an attempt to offer more competitive pricing and/or improve profit margins.

As AASA President and COO Steve Handschuh explained to Vision attendees, low-cost, low-quality parts may not meet original specifications and could pose a potential danger to both the technician installing them and the consumer driving the car on which they are installed.

And, the entire aftermarket could suffer from the resulting loss of public confidence in our parts and services. The best way for everyone throughout the supply chain to ensure safety, performance and value of auto parts is to specify brand-name products from trusted, full-service suppliers.

It is the responsibility of parts manufacturers, WDs and jobbers to continually work to communicate and educate service shops about the value, quality and worthiness of their product offering. Likewise, it is the responsibility of service shop personnel to seek the information they need to guarantee the highest quality repair. Service shop owners have more and more choices every day that need to be evaluated, along with giving a second look to brands that they may have cast off years ago (as many parts manufacturers work to continually improve their products).

When the service shop owner asks the counterperson, “What’s the difference between the “better” part and the “best” part?” and the answer is “$5.75,” we are all in trouble. Confidence in the repair starts with confidence in the part. And, your reputation is ­riding on delivering expert repairs. Make sure you know what you’re installing.

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