Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2005   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter September 2005

Aftermarket Associations Investigate Industry Data Warehouse

Three leading automotive aftermarket trade associations will study the creation of an industry data repository and delivery system.

Industry studies indicate that significant sales are lost each year due to old, inaccurate, and inconsistent data available to the aftermarket.

To address this shortfall, the associations have formed a consortium, known as the Aftermarket Data Trust (ADT), which includes staff and member representatives from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). The ADT has already held a series of meetings to research potential solutions to the industry’s challenges of inconsistent data and delivery methods.

A possible benefit to aftermarket parts manufacturers is the elimination of multiple methods of preparing and disseminating data to customers. Currently, each supplier spends significant dollars on creating paper catalogues, CDs, and publishing data online.

Aftermarket resellers would benefit from having accurate and current data at the store counter level, which would enable counterpeople to direct customers to the right part for the right application and avoid losing sales to other local sources.

The ADT recently selected Digiton, a Raleigh, N.C.-based consulting firm, to conduct an industry-wide study to identify the needs of companies in the aftermarket supply chain, evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an industry solution, develop a technical model of a solution, and help guide the ADT in selecting potential vendors for building and managing the ultimate solution.

“The automotive aftermarket depends on a tremendous amount of product attribute and catalogue application data to conduct business,” says Dr. Mitch Javidi, Digiton chief executive officer. “Just as important as the ability to publish and read this data electronically is the requirement for fast, accurate exchange of data between trading partners. Data about a product or application that is out of date or months behind is a liability and usually results in lost sales.”

Javidi notes that several studies and editorials have tried to assign an annual cost to slow, incomplete, or inaccurate information in the aftermarket value chain. “It is sufficient to say the cost of the problem is measured in the billions of dollars,” he says.

R.K. Buzzell Celebrates 85th Anniversary

R.K. Buzzell, surely one of the oldest continuously operating automotive businesses in Canada, celebrates its 85th anniversary this year.

Founded by railway electrician Robert K. Buzzell in Moncton, N.B., the business’ original focus was on electrical repair. Wholesale distribution operations began in earnest in 1934.

Today, with the fourth generation of the Buzzell family now involved in the business, R.K. Buzzell Ltd. operates 10 branches in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a separate service outlet in Moncton, and the Atlantic Air Cooled Engines division. The operation currently employs more than 100 people.

NAPA Gains Associate

Dave Ware and Dave Wisson have joined to purchase the NAPA corporate store in Milton, Ont.

That store will now become a NAPA associate store.

Ware, who owned Muir’s Auto Supply in the same Ontario centre, will close that operation as a result. Wisson has more than 10 years’ experience in the automotive aftermarket.

Siemens VDO Certified

Siemens VDO Automotive, Service & Special Solutions has been awarded certification for the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System Standard. This certification is the result of an extensive and stringent audit of the systems and procedures in place at the Siemens VDO Automotive Service & Special Solutions facilities in Allentown, Penn., especially in the areas of Management Responsibility, Resource Management, Product and/or Service Realization, and Measurement, Analysis and Improvement activities.

Petro-Canada Certigard Ranks Highest in Satisfying Automotive Service Customers

Petro-Canada Certigard ranks highest in customer satisfaction with automotive service, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Canadian Customer Commitment Study.

Consistently building effective processes that address both technical and customer-handling areas has paid off in terms of customer satisfaction for Petro-Canada outlets under the Certigard banner.

“Part of the branded independent channel that has seen mixed success over the past few years, Petro-Canada’s Certigard operations have been promoting strong customer-handling processes at all of its outlets since 2002,” says Rohan Lobo, manager of research projects at J.D. Power and Associates. “A successful implementation of this approach results in the biggest retention driver of all: a relationship so strong that customers entrust their vehicle to the facility on the assumption that their best interests are being addressed, while factors such as price become less critical.”

The study, which measures the service satisfaction and loyalty of owners of 2- to 12-year-old vehicles, finds that increasingly, service customers are seeking a strong relationship with their service facility. Cost, which was the second most important selection criterion in choosing a service facility for off-warranty vehicle owners in 2004, has been replaced by the desire to have the mechanic who usually repairs the vehicle. Having a previous good experience continues to be the most important selection criterion.

While customer satisfaction has improved for the industry as a whole, quick lubes have the strongest showing, with a 16 index-point improvement compared to 2004. Jiffy Lube in particular has moved up 13 positions to 7th place overall, a performance based partly on the benefits associated with strong customer-oriented processes in place at its facilities.

Battery Recycler Jailed Under Environmental Protection Act

The first jail sentence under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act has been handed to an employee of an Ontario scrap battery recycling firm.

Jeffrey Dressler pleaded guilty on July 22, 2005, to two charges under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations made pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

He received a sentence of 30 days on each count, to be served concurrently.

The charges were related to actions taken by Dressler while employed by Battery Broker Environmental Services Inc. of Etobicoke, Ont.

Judge Lacavera heard that on December 18, 2003, and on March 19, 2004, while working for Battery Broker Environmental Services Inc., Dressler oversaw the export of more than 37,800 kilograms of waste batteries for recycling to the United States.

There were no permits in place authorizing the exports. In addition, Dressler failed to ensure that copies of the relevant waste manifests were forwarded to Environment Canada, as required. It was his responsibility to do so on behalf of the company.

Charges were laid on February 25, 2005, after a year-long investigation by Environment Canada. The next court appearance for Battery Broker Environmental Services Inc. and its president is scheduled for September 13, 2005, in St. Catharines, Ont.

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