Finding capable people throughout the entire automotive aftermarket is the biggest change needed, according to executives in the industry.
Speaking during the Buyer’s Panel at the AAPEX 2021 Keynote Session, the leaders were asked what was something that they’d like to see changed in the industry.
For Kevin Herron, president and chief operating officer of the U.S. automotive parts group at Genuine Parts Co., it was the need to embrace the technician shortage that only promises to get worse if it’s not tackled.
“Well, I think the biggest change that we all need to embrace going forward is the shortage of technicians,” he said. “As you think about where we are today, and where we’re headed — the complexity of vehicles — as an industry, we have to embrace the next generation of technicians.”
For example, that means staying aligned with trade schools to ensure they’re teaching students about the latest in vehicle technology so they’re prepared for the vehicles of tomorrow.
“We need to change the image of the technician going forward. We need to create apprentice-type programs … and develop that next level of technician that’s going to keep our industry going forward,” he added.
For Tom Greco, president and chief executive officer of Advance Auto Parts, he sees talent as a broader issue. The aftermarket has to adapt to what people want in order to draw them in.
For example, flexibility is top of mind for employees. “We have to adapt to that world to get those talented people into the key jobs,” he said.
And those key jobs are helping transition the industry from being so reliant on brick-and-mortar building to offering more online, Greco pointed out.
“It’s a very competitive environment … I think we’re all going to have to be very cognizant of the environment that’s out there to get great people into our organizations,” he said. “We’re going to have to be very cognizant of how we have to compete in those environments and make sure we get the best people that we can into our industry.”