The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) holds an annual conference and career fair strictly for ABSC students. Through this event students have the opportunity to meet aftermarket industry leaders, job seekers, and most importantly the aftermarket’s perspective on many trending topics. Trending topics were the feature of each panel. This year the panel topics were Technology and Customer Management panels and was discussed at length by industry leaders.
With the panel consisting of Kristine Brown (Wakefield Canada), Susan Hitchon (Schrader), Malcolm Sissmore (Delphi Product & Service) and Dave Illes (Tenneco), each representative from their respective company discussed the impacts and changes of technology to the industry and their organization.
A topic that is always trending in the aftermarket industry is the relationship with the OES (Original Equipment Service). As technological advancements are made and patents by the OEM become more prevalent, the aftermarket industry faces the challenge of repairing these technical systems and features with limited access to resources. Consequently the aftermarket industry’s right to repair is jeopardized. While actions have been made with a voluntary agreement signed amongst key players of the automotive industry, the limited access to theses resources (due to a variety of factors including price) still remains a concern (Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard CASIS).
With the environment being a growing concern the direction of paperless documents are being led by technological advancements. In further depth this includes the electronic billing and collecting of accounts, therefore being environmentally friendly and efficient. In terms of efficiency, companies are dispatching transportation and shipments on the basis of a computerized system. This computerized system considers a variety of factors from load to location and calculates the most efficient route while combining several other shipment locations to this route. As technology continues to advance, the aftermarket industry will continue to evolve.
Customer Management Panel
The Customer Management Panel consisted of Tony Canade (Assured Automotive), John Watt (J-Watt – Consultative Automotive Inc.), Linda Donnini (Uni-Select), and Mathew Wilson (Exide Technologies).
It is clearly described that customer management is the “life blood of any organization.” The concept that customer management tools are used to deliver expectations was thoroughly discussed. However, a great emphasis was put on the appropriate use of these tools. The panel emphasized that these tools will not automatically perform the role of customer management on its own. These tools are a resource in performing satisfactory customer management. While having a high volume of customers is important, the analogy of an overflowing cup was used to represent the mishandling that comes along with high volume. Furthermore, each representative of the panel discuss loyalty programs and the importance of listening to their customers needs in order to grow. In today’s competitive marketplace, loyalty is becoming a rare trait in consumers, where the saying, “If you want loyalty buy a dog” was coined. As a result, the example of offering new and competitive rates in sectors like insurance is important in retaining customers. Overall, with the opportunity to impress customers are being coming smaller, the importance of developing and maintaining a trusting and respectable relationship is very important in customer management. In correlation to the panels presented by industry leaders, there were two student presentations that were selected to provide insight on their research conducted on each top above.
Student Presentation: The Connected Car & Customer Management
The Connected Car’s presentation discussed new technology being integrated into vehicles and the effects on aftermarket and technician training. The Customer Management presentation examined the effective use of CRM software and responding to CSI scores.
Winner and AAEC Certificates
With two student presentations, the Customer Management presentation was voted to present in Quebec City at an AIA event in the new year! Furthermore, those who have completed AAEC (Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Certificate) received their certificate and shared the experience with the industry leaders.
Prizes and Jeopardy
Three $1000 scholarships, a MacBook Pro, and everything in between were given by a variety of sponsors at the event. A leisure game of Jeopardy was played at the end of the day to sum up our findings and provide the students a chance to win many amazing prizes thanks to the aftermarket companies present!
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Presentation
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal presentations was one of the highlights of the day, where our very own Professor John Jackson, Professor Danica Kelso, and Dr. Marie-Noëlle Bonicalzi received a Jubilee Medal for their contributions to the automotive industry. What a very proud moment for the Automotive Business School of Canada!
Career Fair and Sponsors
With an array of aftermarket industry sponsors, the events had 15 booths promoting their products and the available careers within their company. This offered ABSC students the great opportunity to network and align themselves with future employers (or co-op placements).
Read the local coverage on this event featured in: The Barrie Examiner
Please enjoy more photos from the event below.