Q - What were the highlights of your presentation?
A - The essence really is first of all; that like-minded Tier 1 parts manufacturers have come together as a group to form OESAA (Original Equipment Suppliers Aftermarket Association) to try to dispel some of the claims made by some aftermarket parts manufacturers suppliers that their parts are of matching quality.
My view is that because the industry at the moment doesn’t have a standard i.e. parts are not certified, everybody’s perception of quality varies massively.
There are so many aftermarket parts manufacturers suppliers where, when a part is copied, there is always an influence of price, and I think when there’s always an influence of price, there is always a compromise somewhere. As a garage owner, and as someone who wants to give an expert service, value for money, and do the job right, I advocate fitting the same parts that were fitted in the factory originally, the OE part. Then, at least I know it has passed through some kind of a process or assurance to reach a level that is suitable for the likes of BMW/Mercedes/Citroen etc. to use in the production of their vehicles. And that is how I base it. OESAA has come together to try and urge people to listen, to give them an opportunity to understand that some aftermarket companies and their components are really not good enough. And, the price gap between an aftermarket and an OE part is shrinking.
A - For example, the difference in clutch prices could be £45 or £65, so when the job takes four to five hours, is it really worth the risk? The fact is most garage owners using these aftermarket parts are not even making sufficient profit on these parts; Our industry, as a whole, has always been very price-sensitive. Consumers come to us already in that price-sensitive mode.
nother frustration for me is the constant use by most garage owners who use terminology like fully-skilled technicians, fully-equipped workshop; it’s impossible for the consumer to differentiate. ‘Fully-skilled’ is a myth as our industry is an environment of continuous learning. By associating yourself with OESAA members and OE parts, you have the ability tap into their academies and the people who physically make the parts, along with cost-effective (and sometimes even free) training.
Why shouldn’t we, as garage owners or technicians, tap into that? I’m only as good as my stakeholders; that’s my staff and my parts suppliers. The only commodity that garages sell is labour, parts are a by-product of how much labour you sell. The garage business environment is already challenged by the lack of skill across our industry, why would anyone make the job harder and possibly leave themselves vulnerable by not using the right OE part?
Q - Why is now a good time to do this?
A - Chiefly due to availability. Availability has never been better thanks to the factors & distributors throughout the country stocking parts from OE suppliers, allowing for same day delivery and in most cases within an hour. When I worked 20 years ago, you got what you wanted the next day; There is no excuse anymore.
Q - What has the interaction been like during your presentations?
A - Our interaction with audiences throughout Automechanika has been fantastic. Why? Because I want to interact, I want to ask, I want to get opinion, I want to be challenged. Let’s have a constructive discussion. In mostly all cases of any product or service if you buy cheap, you buy twice, end of. It’s no different in our industry.