Auto Service World
Feature   January 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: January 2000

Interactive Business Training for Jobbers and Installers

In a new AIA initiative, jobbers can help installers receive the business training they need without having to travel or wade through dry business texts. And, in an equally important move, jobbers will be able to receive business training in the same way.

One of the main issues faced by everyone in the aftermarket who has ever tried to conduct or attend training is accessibility. AIA has partnered with the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) network to initially deliver the business-training courses through the CARS Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) system.

“AIA is pleased to announce that it is launching a new education and training program for installers,” says AIA president Ray Datt. “This new and exciting AIA project will initially be comprised of courses on Customer Relations, Business Management, and Business Financials.”

Topics will include how to read a financial statement, profitability, effective communication and small business management.

Currently in use at hundreds of locations across Canada, IDL allows real time transmissions through satellite technology to a television located on-site, so that training can be conducted right at the workplace. IDL is fully interactive, allowing students to call the instructor during the class to ask questions. Exams after the course can be taken immediately via phone or later over the Internet. Participants can either choose to have a fully interactive system or a more passive system that still allows questions to be asked via a tollfree number. The full IDL technology includes a computer and special telephones at a cost of $5,000 plus a monthly fee of $190. The “passive” system, which does not include the computer or special phone equipment, is available for $230 a month.

The AIA has initiated the program in response to recent research and concerns in the industry that indicated the need for business skills training in the aftermarket. Technical training is generally an accepted aspect of doing business in the aftermarket–there are technical training IDL programs already in place–but there is not a similar recognition regarding the benefits of business skills programs.

Almost 70% of owner-operators/installers have an annual income of under $40,000. One contributing factor is the lack of any formal training by owner/operators in management, marketing or customer service, all of which have been identified as critical elements in ensuring a profitable, sustainable business enterprise. The concern expressed is that because of this training shortfall, many installer businesses are simply not maximizing their potential.

“Not only will this project provide assistance to installers,” says Datt, “it will also offer jobbers the opportunity to help their installers become more successful while forging a stronger relationship with them.”

AIA is currently working with its jobber membership to establish IDL business training sites across Canada. To sign up for IDL, or for further information, contact CARS at 1-905-709-1010.

Quebec Businesses Gain Flexibility

Quebec jobbers and repair shop owners will have greater flexibility to schedule workers, as a result of a new agreement between industry groups and the government.

Jean-Marc Laroche, who has worked with the “Comit Parit” for 16 years–and just been named as the AIA field representative for the province–says that the agreement, yet to be ratified, marks a significant step forward for the industry. In the province, businesses are regulated by a series of regional “decrees” on wages and how work hours must be structured.

“All the decrees talk about a minimum salary, so we have been able to maintain a salary [which is] comfortable for the wholesalers (a rate lower than car dealers), so we are in a good position to compete,” says Laroche. The previous minimum wages had been unchanged for a decade.

In addition, hours of employment created difficulties for jobbers and installers in the province. While rules vary by region, in Montreal, a 40-hour work week would have to be registered between Monday and Friday. Any hours outside of this would be declared as “overtime” with the resulting increase in pay, regardless of the number of hours worked.

Under the new system, for example, a counterperson could work a 40 hour week beginning or ending on any day, allowing the employer to rotate his counterpeople’s hours to accommodate weekend opening without automatically incurring overtime costs.

AIA Kicks Off Run-Up To Canadian International Automotive Show

The Canadian International Automotive Show will feature a revamped format to ensure that both visitors and exhibitors will benefit.

The show and accompanying AIA convention are scheduled for mid-April this year. Among the features designed to bring in visitors is a strong educational program for installers. Clinics on offer include five-gas emissions analysis, a briefing on the Motorist Assurance Program, a live Interactive Distance Learning presentation on OBD-II, information on Quebec’s I/M program, Internet information, a presentation on customer service and three autobody clinics: Waste Assessment; Top Ten Steps to Surviving a Shop Inspection; and Reducing Costs and Payments to the Workers Compensation Board. In addition, there will be $30,000 in prizes given away during the show.

Jobbers will benefit from two new aspects to the biennial event. The first is a strong convention program with a one-day format. A presentation on information technology by a representative of renowned technology firm CGI Information Systems will fill the morning keynote slot, and in the afternoon, two business sessions, “Emissions and the Environment,” and “Technology and Business–The Aftermarket Highway,” will bring jobbers up to speed on subjects destined to have a profound effect on their future.

Also, the first day of the show, Friday, is restricted to jobbers and national account visitors only. This means that a jobber who wants to visit the show and convention can do so in two days, rather than three. And, since the Saturday stayover is often a cost savings measure, a three-day stay can offer the convention and two days at the show, plus a Saturday night in Montreal (which has its own benefits).

The AIA has also made it easier for weekend visitors by offering daycare services. Throughout the show, children under 12 will be provided with supervised activities while their parents attend the show. So, while children are not allowed on the show floor, they can come “to the show,” and enjoy Montreal in the Spring, making it a family affair.

For more information, contact AIA at (613) 728-5821.

Agency Forms Wheel Service Division

A.D.G. Forward Canada Inc. has formed a division to handle its growing wheel service equipment offerings.

The company’s Wheel Service Equipment Division will operate with Bob McVey at the helm. McVey brings 25 years of warehouse distributor and national account sales experience and will serve as director of sales.

“With the addition of the Accu-Turn and Beissbarth product lines to our structure, we felt it was the right time to grow our business and meet the challenges of the new millennium,” says Joe Facciol, president.

Machine Works Purchases <winona Van Norman

Machine Works, Inc., the parent company of LS Industries, has acquired Winona Van Norman Company from D & S Manufacturing in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

The acquisition, which was expected to be completed on January 1, will leave Winona Van Norman as a separate entity. Winona Van Norman has supplied engine-rebuilding equipment for the better part of this century. LS Industries, which was formerly known as Little Swede’s, has supplied cleaning equipment such as washers, blasters, and vibratory shakers to the automotive engine and electrical rebuilder markets since 1977.

“There have been a lot of rumors regarding the future of Winona Van Norman which can now be put to bed,” said Linda Weir-Enegren, president of Machine Works, Inc. “We intend to keep Wino
na Van Norman operational as a separate entity. Any changes that we make from this point forward will be customer-driven and based on research into the needs of the marketplace.”

The acquisition gives Machine Works, Inc. a stronger presence in the automotive rebuilder market than it has had in the past. Although the two companies will be operated separately, there are some anticipated benefits such as shared administrative expenses.

Shad’s Inaugurates New Board

Aftermarket fundraising organization Shad’s R&R has announced changes to its board.

New on the board are Ray Osika, Gates Canada, and Lube Koval, Matthew Scott Data Control Marketing, who join as directors. Also, a number of longtime directors are retiring, although they will stay on as consultants to ensure a smooth transition: Don Hannah, John Mooney, Steve Mara, and Greg Stone, who had served as chairman. In his place, John Vanstone, Specialty Sales & Marketing, assumes the role of chairman.

Vanstone says that no changes are planned to either the goals of the board or the way that it raises funds. Over its history, the organization has raised more than $2 million to fund research into Muscular Dystrophy and 100% of all contributions are forwarded to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada as all facilities and door prizes are donated.

The 2000 Shad’s R&R charity golf tournament will be held June 8, 2000 at the Kleinburg Golf Club.

Osram Enters into Agreement with Grant Brothers

Osram Sylvania’s automotive lighting business will be represented by Grant Brothers Sales.

Grant Brothers has been retained to grow the existing automotive lighting products account base in the traditional automotive aftermarket and to develop new business opportunities.

In addition to traditional business channels, Grant Brothers will also be involved in the penetration of “specialized trade channels.”

Quebec Driver Named Truck Hero

Richard Nadeau of Fleurimont, Que., who saved two people from a burning car on the highway near his home last March, has been named the 1999 Bridgestone/Firestone Canadian Truck Hero.

The owner-operator was on his way home near Sherbrooke, Que., in the early hours of March 29th when he spotted a burning minivan on the side of the road. He first rescued a woman and then returned to pull an unconscious man from the vehicle, cutting the seatbelt free before he could remove him. Unfortunately, Nadeau was unable to rescue the couple’s five-year-old son.

Nadeau received second degree burns to his hands and face in the rescue, but declares he did nothing special. “It all happened so quickly I didn’t really have time to be afraid of the fire. I just did what I could to help. It was important to work quickly because of the fire and heavy smoke. I guess someone was looking out for me.”

The award has been presented annually for 43 years, but this is the first time since 1965 that a Quebec driver has been honored.

Tracer Products Launches Patent Infringement Suit

Tracer Products, manufacturers of leak detection dyes and equipment, has launched suits against ten competitors in the U.S. and Canada, charging patent infringements on its inspection lamps.

The Titan inspection lamps use special filters that permit the use of high-intensity light sources in compact lamps. The company says that patents covering these lamps were infringed upon and has filed summons and complaints against: Bayco Products, Century Manufacturing, Cliplight Manufacturing, CPS Products, FJC, Fluoro-Dye Products, Mastercool, Robinair Division, SPX Corporation, UView Ultraviolet Systems and UVP.

Randall Perks, general manager of Karbelt Speed & Custom Inc. of Ajax, Ont., has been elected to serve a two-year term as a director of the Performance Warehouse Association (PWA). Larry Pacey of National Performance Warehouse of Miami, Florida, Donnie Eatherly of P&E of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and Ralph Accino, president of Racer’s Equipment Warehouse of East Providence, Rhode Island, were all re-elected PWA directors as well.

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Universal Automotive Industries, Inc. announced today that its North American Friction manufacturing business unit has been awarded ISO9001 registration for design of friction material compounds and the manufacturing and assembly of friction material parts for the private and commercial Automotive (replacement) Aftermarket.

Spectra Inc. has joined the growing community of Internet merchants, with the recent launch of its e-commerce site. Spectra’s website,, now includes online shopping for Brake Safe visual brake stroke indicators and other truck-related products.

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PartSource has announced plans for stores in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ont. Each will comprise 7,000 square feet and both are scheduled to open in the Spring.

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Lucas Autospecialty products are now being warehoused at Goss Industries International Inc. at 6226 Danville Road in Mississauga, Ont. Order Desk: 1-800-275-2377, Technical Support: 1-800-275-3617, Option 2.

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