We reached out to a number of leaders and executives from the supply chain to jobber stores and asked them to highlight how business will change in the year ahead, what the biggest challenge for the industry is moving forward and what they see as the top opportunity in 2022. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…
Sean Stokes, VP of Auto Parts and General Manager | Partsource
Inflation will drive higher prices in the automotive aftermarket and supply chain disruptions will continue into 2022. I anticipate that total kilometres driven should climb back to 2019 levels by the end of the year, which will help drive maintenance categories like brakes, oil changes and tires.
Inventory, for the right VPOP (vehicle population) in the market, will continue to dominate while the transformation of digital customer service will continue to accelerate.
I think one of the differentiators in 2022 will be a jobber’s ability to attract and keep good talent in order to provide their customers with the best service.
Rising costs (product, supply chain and personnel) will threaten the profitability of businesses if they have been a low-cost provider to the market. Demand for high-quality products will continue to grow even in the face of inflation. Installers don’t want to risk needing to reinstall a part again and denigrating profitability more. We have been focused on creative ways to mitigate cost pressures and keep commercial pricing as competitive as possible.
With continued SKU proliferation in the market and supply disruptions, the importance of strong supply partnerships (with other jobbers or vendors) will be critical to driving customer satisfaction and overall gross margin return on investment for the jobber.
I anticipate that aftermarket sales will grow in 2022 but it will continue to be a challenging environment. I think the biggest opportunity for jobbers will be to continue to invest for future growth.