Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2003   by Auto Service World

AIA Update: Forum Promises New Approach

8th Annual Automotive Aftermarket Forum November 19, International Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ont.

This year’s Automotive Aftermarket Forum promises to offer attendees thought-provoking presentations designed to open their eyes to a new way of approaching the industry.

“From our theme ‘Out of the Box,’ as you can imagine we’re trying to generate some out-of-the-box type of thinking,” says Beverlie Cook, vice-president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada. “All of the speakers bring an interesting slant to business–and not necessarily just the aftermarket business.”

On tap for the event are presentations from Donald Cooper, former executive vice-president of sporting goods supplier Cooper Canada; Tom Turchet, vice-president, mid-market, IBM Canada Ltd.; Dennis DesRosiers, DesRosiers Automotive Research, and John Washbish, president of Dana Corporation’s automotive aftermarket underhood business. There will also be a lunchtime presentation by sportscaster Rod Black.

Overall, though, the presentations will seek to provide new perspectives on business.

“That is critical,” says Cook. “The forum steering committee thought it was important to expose our forum attendees to the best practices in other industries, not just our own.”

Rather than having a representative from IBM come and talk about computers, for example, Turchet is coming to talk about running an “on demand” business.

“It is something that they have done and they can share their experience. It is a little different twist,” says Cook. “Even Dennis DesRosiers,” she continues, “who can always be counted on to give us some interesting twists and turns, will be talking a little more about the OE and what they are doing and the impact they will have on us.

“As usual we hope he will be stimulating, interesting, and as always a little controversial.”

The aforementioned Donald Cooper may have learned business in the sporting goods world, but his experience doesn’t end there. For 13 years, he operated visionary retail operation Alive & Well. The business took a unique “warehouse boutique” approach to selling ladies’ clothing and gifts, and generated triple the national average of per-square-foot sales. Since 1991 he has been acting as a consultant to companies in more than 40 industries.

Cook says that he will come prepared. He has already had extensive meetings to learn the specifics of the automotive aftermarket prior to his presentation. “He is certainly very interested in our industry. He does extensive background research on the industries he speaks to. It won’t just be ‘presentation number three.'”

John Washbish will tackle certainly one of the more compelling subjects. At the forum he will talk about his experience in helping Dana make the transition to more complex supply chain management solutions. It is, however, a presentation that is more about his journey than Dana’s.

“Confessions of a Technophobe” tackles the reality of executive decision-makers who are faced with understanding supply chain management solutions embraced by their information technology staff and other departments, while they may struggle to understand how they can best fit into the enterprise.

He is both a stimulating and highly amusing speaker, says Cook. “There are some very good points in the humour. It isn’t meant to be a counterbalance to any other presentations, but sometimes we believe computers will solve all of our problems and it is helpful to remember the brain power required.”

Overall, says Cook, the forum will focus on conveying best-in-class practices to as many people as possible.

“Everyone is welcome. It is a way to spread the word.”

The 8th Annual AIA Automotive Aftermarket Forum

November 19, 2003 International Plaza Hotel – Plaza Ballroom

655 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON Register at (613) 728-5821 ext. 232

YES Canada Vision 20/20 Leadership Conference

The day prior to the forum, the AIA’s Young Executive Society will hold a leadership conference featuring presentations on customer relationship management, career development, and success stories.

The leadership conference will also include a celebrity speaker–as yet unnamed–from the world of sports.

Registration for this event is $150. Contact the AIA at (613) 728-5821 ext. 232.

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