Auto Service World
Feature   February 1, 2015   by Auto Service World

TIME TO CELEBRATE THIS INDUSTRY


There are two undeniable characteristics of the automotive aftermarket as I know it: the people are awesome; and there’s a more than average chance that they know how to enjoy themselves.
This is not to say that every work-related or industry-related event turns into an off-the-hook bacchanal festival. It’s much more professional than that, but it’s always been true that the people who make this industry what it is can sit side by side with competitors and have a laugh.
This goes for everyone up and down the supply chain. Sure, there’s the occasional sourpuss, but frankly those folks really don’t fit in well with an industry that has quite a giving culture.
You only have to look as far as your front counter to find cases where this industry will help out a competitor to ensure that a customer is taken care of, and the reputation of the aftermarket as a whole is preserved.
Naturally you don’t want to make a habit of running to your competition’s rescue, but every now and then, it’s good to make a deposit into the karma bank. Call it enlightened self-interest, if you will, but it’s part of what makes this industry work.
And, almost as if recognizing the fact that this does not tend to be the highest-paying industry (it never has been, in case those youthful members among you were wondering), it has always compensated its members with a heaping spoonful of fun promotions, events, and celebrations.
However, over recent years, margins at all levels have been squeezed and with it some of – maybe a lot of – the fun has been squeezed out too.
It has become a common refrain, within the jobber community and beyond, that there just doesn’t seem to be the fun factor and celebration that people used to rely on to counteract the stresses that this high-pressure industry can generate.
Recognizing this is the genesis of what we are calling the Canadian Automotive Aftermarket Professional Awards. The CAAP Awards will celebrate all facets of this industry, building on our Jobber of the Year and Counterperson of the Year awards and our sister publication’s Bodyshop of the Year award (among others). With this new accolade, we want to recognize other outstanding individuals and organizations in the aftermarket, from all parts of this industry.
I’ve heard words of support from some of you independently, and we have an idea of how we should do this, but I’m certainly open to hearing from more of you about how you think we should choose the best (for example) apprentices, the best independent sales reps, even a Person of the Year.
As I said, we’re looking to celebrate the best from across the industry, and to make a real event out of it. What do you think? Drop me a line and let me know.
— Andrew Ross, Publisher and Editor aross@jobbernews.com