As incredibly difficult it has it has been to navigate the changeable business environment throughout this pandemic, as vaccination rates rise and bring the possibility of a sustained economic opening, new challenges will present themselves to the aftermarket.
If there is anything we have learned over the past year and more, it’s that to be successful in this new environment – or just to make it through at all – we are going to have to lean on each other from time to time.
That might include the partnerships you have at home with family, navigating remote working, virtual schooling, and challenging economics. Or it may involve working through customer and supply challenges with our business partners. In both cases, the importance of connecting, coordinating, and supporting has risen immeasurably.
For the aftermarket business, this has come into sharp focus as local, national, and international supply chains have had to work very hard to meet customer expectations, maybe harder than ever.
There is ample evidence to suggest that with the general economic opening will come a rise in aftermarket parts and services, but it’s not likely that we will see a smooth uptake.
More likely than not, we will see spikes and dips, with some regions opening more robustly while others continue to have challenges. Overlaid on this general economic rise will be the fits and starts of staffing challenges, supply chain issues, shifting costs, demand, and local market realities.
And of course there will be the inevitable winding down of government policies and supports enacted to keep the wheels turning throughout the past eighteen months or so.
This is going to take an unprecedented level of partnership, for everyone within the aftermarket, to ensure that they don’t fail the driving public.
More than ever, we are all going to have to work together to ensure that the many challenges that each and every business in this industry will face over the next year or more, are invisible to the driving public.
Your customers, our business customers, and most importantly the consumer, need to have unbridled confidence that when a vehicle arrives at an aftermarket business for service it is going to be repaired effectively and efficiently.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that we don’t want an aftermarket version of the computer chip shortage dogging automakers that is playing out in real time across global media. That particular situation may have a knock-on benefit for the aftermarket as some new car supply performance is squeezed, but it should make anyone in the supply chain world sit up and take notice and look for ways to avoid similar situations. (Especially the way it played out in the public eye.)
Aside from the general business common sense that you don’t want to share your internal challenges with customers, that approach stands in the way of what most people really want: a return to normalcy.
Keeping that confident image may take more effort than previously. It may also take a few new partners to add bench strength to your supply offering. But working together, the aftermarket can make a great impression on the driving public that it continues to be there to serve them reliably – no matter what the future holds.
Let me know what you think in the comment section, or e-mail me at [email protected]