The Belt and Hose market is becoming increasingly difficult to service. Remember when garages had most of the stock they needed on hand? Well, no more: molded heater hoses, curved hose, and one-size-fits-one serpentine belts have made sure of that.
This means that they rely on you to have the right inventory in place for your market area.
Step one is always to check your activity levels for any part numbers on their way up. Watch, in particular, for serpentine belt numbers to vault from low to high demand quickly.
Keep an eye on vehicle fleet aging. With the growth of unique numbers, this is as good an indicator as any. When a popular fleet vehicle hits its four-year replacement cycle, demand will rise quickly.
Watch for timing belt replacement opportunities, too. While the 100,000-km life may be common knowledge to the aftermarket, it may not actually be clearly indicated in the owner’s manual.
Always coordinate your activity history with the supplier’s vehicle population and popularity data. Your own sales activity will anchor the potential in terms of what your own customers are calling you for, but the larger popularity lists may uncover some untapped opportunities.