GRAPEVINE, TEXAS — The recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week, held for the first time at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, gathered aftermarket professionals nationwide for an impactful event. With a captivating keynote delivered by “Shark Tank’s” Daymond John, multiple informational sessions and a lively showroom, attendees were given plenty of avenues for education and inspiration.

Chasing the Aftermarket

For those eager for industry insight, the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association hosted “Chasing the Aftermarket” on Jan. 26. The meeting was a TED Talk-style presentation, delivered by four aftermarket thought leaders. Each presenter offered expertise on logistics, training, sales, fleet growth and the OEM invasion.

Joe Figueroa, owner of LASCO, kicked things off with a discussion on the global supply chain and how it affects distributors and end-users. He noted an increase in international partnerships, identified market disruptors and pinpointed customer expectations when it comes to branded versus unbranded parts, like quality, support, delivery and warranty.

“There are more choices and opportunities than ever before. This can cause great confusion and great time consumption and resources at the distributor and end-user level.” Figueroa said, emphasizing the affect an abundance of choices has on decision time and purchasing.

The presentation on an increasing presence of OEMs was also of particular interest. John Adami, principal at NW Heavy Duty, described the current and future landscape, then reiterated how valuable data is for equipment uptime.

Adami said OEMs will use improved uptime as a battle cry, because they have access to real-time data on equipment conditions and can make fleets smarter. Also discussed was the ability for OEMs to identify if an engine has been replaced with nonstandard equipment via the internet of things and how the Right to Repair regulation is heating up.

Delivering Efficient Solutions

Rich Ferguson, managing director of Ferguson Partners LLC, presented “Delivering Efficient Solutions” and dove into key historical and future trends of the aftermarket.

Ferguson said the industry has endured through increasing emissions regulations by implementing exhaust gas recirculation and diesel particulate filters, but only 60% of Class 6-8 vehicles have a DPF. This means drivers and operators still lack the knowledge to clean filters, leaving an opportunity for revenue in cleaning and replacement.

Remanufacturing continues to be a viable option because of its cost effectiveness, ease on the environment and expanded product offering.

Ferguson emphasized efficiency through parts availability. Suppliers can meet customer needs best by having the right part at the right place at the right time. “That customer focus is extremely important,” Ferguson said. “Offer them a diversified product.”

Although customers are largely responsible for business success, equally important is technician job satisfaction. Without them, the product doesn’t make it out the door. Providing education and career advancement is necessary to help narrow the shortage.

What does the future hold for the aftermarket? The industry continues to hear a few common topics, like electric powertrains, automation and advanced driver assistance systems. The independent aftermarket section needs to be prepared for the evolution and incorporation of cameras, sensors, radar units and electronic braking systems.

This year’s HDAW delivered insightful education, motivational takeaways and networking opportunities. By demonstrating adaptability, the aftermarket can expect to maneuver through market changes with confidence and excitement.