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Brake Job Mathematics ● Enter Guess The Car, Page 8 ● Working Without Paper

June 2014

Program Groups • How They Get The Right Mix Of Parts • Where They’re Expanding Globally • What The Future Holds


June Volume 32, No. 6

features The Program Groups By Mark Phillips

We talk to the leaders of program group distribution about their global plans, getting the right mix of parts on the shelf and the future of the groups. ..............



Tech Features By Larry Carley

Brake noise? Don’t be so quick to blame the pads. ..................................................



Communicate with your customers about engine part availability. ..........................


Offer your customers a premium oil filter upgrade. ..................................................


Shocks aren’t replaced as often as they should be. . ......................................................



Mechanic Connection By Gary Goms

54 The science of drive shaft repair. ....................56 Brake sales mathematics.


columns 4

Editor’s Ink By Mark Phillips.......................................................................... Write down those great ideas.


From The Publisher By S. Scott Shriber............................................. Where is everybody going?



By Mandy Aguilar.............................................................

Apps can make for paperless note-taking.

By The Numbers


By Tom Dayton ..................................................

“Papa Alpha Romeo Tango Sierra” (PARTS). COUNTERMAN (ISSN 0739-3695) (June 2014 Volume 32, Number 6): Copyright 2014 Babcox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved: Published monthly by Babcox, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, Fax (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COUNTERMAN, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333-8318. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 275, to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69. Samples and back issues - Domestic - $10, International/via air mail - $15. Canada: $89 for one year, $149 for two years. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add 5.75% sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to COUNTERMAN, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. Visa, MasterCard or American Express accepted.


June 2014 | Counterman

departments 6


S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229

Aftermarket News...........................................................................................


Aftermarket News presents news, views and analysis of current trends and events in aftermarket distribution

Mark Phillips, Editor 330-670-1234, Ext. 299


NASCAR Performance ...........................................................................

This monthly special section takes you behind the scenes of this fast-growing sport.


MarketPlace .....................................................................................

Every month, MarketPlace showcases the newest automotive product and service innovations your customers are asking about


Classifieds ........................................................................................................

Amy Antenora, Editor, aftermarketNews Managing Editor, Counterman 330-670-1234, Ext. 220 Larry Carley, Technical Editor CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Mandy Aguilar, Columnist Gary Goms, Commercial Accounts Gerald Wheelus, Columnist Jerry King, Cartoonist Thomas Dayton, Columnist GRAPHIC DESIGN

Lisa DiPaolo, Graphic Designer 330-670-1234 , Ext. 281 ADVERTISING SERVICES

Tina Purnell Advertising Services Manager 330-670-1234 , Ext. 243 CIRCULATION SERVICES Pat Robinson, Circulation Manager 330-670-1234, Ext. 276

41 Front row, from left: John Bartlett, APH; John Oster, Tall Sales; Jim Kruger, N.A. Williams; Crystal Nutt, WACOSA; Mark Hoffman, East Penn; Steve Anderson, Dayco; and Corey Bartlett, APH. Back row: Jared Lamont, North Central Truck Accessories; Pat Ryan, North Pro Reps; Steve Howard, WACOSA; Jay Knopick, Action Sales; and Dave Berge, Dayco.

ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVES Home Office: 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, OH 44333-8318 330-670-1234 FAX 330-670-0874 Bill Babcox 330-670-1234, ext. 217 Publisher: S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229


Sales Representatives: Dean Martin 330-670-1234, ext. 225 Jim Merle 330-670-1234, ext. 280 Bobbie Adams 330-670-1234, ext. 238 Roberto Almenar 330-670-1234, ext. 233

June 2014 | Counterman

Glenn Warner 330-670-1234, ext. 212

Sean Donohue 330-670-1234, ext. 206

Doug Basford 330-670-1234, ext. 255

John Zick 805-845-1400

Jamie Lewis 330-670-1234, ext. 266

Classified Sales: Tom Staab 330-670-1234, ext. 224

David Benson 330-670-1234, ext. 210

List Sales Manager Don Hemming 330-670-1234, ext. 286

Ellen Mays, Circulation Specialist 330-670-1234, Ext. 275 DIRECTOR OF eMEDIA & AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Brad Mitchell 330-670-1234 , Ext. 277 CORPORATE Bill Babcox, President Greg Cira, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller

Edward S. Babcox (1885-1970) Founder Tom B. Babcox (1919-1995) Chairman Founded 1983. Copyright 2014 Babcox Media, Inc., All Rights Reserved COUNTERMAN (ISSN-0739-3695) is published monthly by Babcox Media, 3550 Embassy Pkwy., Akron, OH 44333. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH and additional mailing offices. Member, BPA International


DITOR’S INK By Mark Phillips

The A-Ha! Moment ould you pay in advance to eat at a restaurant, hold a printed paper ticket and wait in line to be seated to eat your food? While this has been the procedure at fast food restaurants since almost fast food was invented, this is relatively new in the world of fine dining. I recently read about a restaurant in a major city that charges $150 per person in advance. Guests can print out their own tickets at home then wait in line at the restaurant. Everything is paid for in advance. So why the disparities between how fast food has been run and what some fine dining restaurants are moving to? Fine dining has a problem: No-shows. No-shows mean a table that is waiting for a party to arrive sits empty as other people who would be willing to take it are turned away. Restaurants have tried for years to take a credit card as proof people will show up. Some places ding your card $25 or more for not showing. But people willing to pay $300 a couple sometimes make multiple reservations, then take a ding or two on the credit card when they finally decide where they want to go at the last minute. The $25 is just a slice of what the restaurant could have gotten out of a bill, so some restaurants are going big, for the whole enchilada, so to speak, and charging everything up front. You may think, “Ha! I’d never go there.” That

W The next time a da Vinci-type moment strikes, that a-ha! moment of clarity in which you see the light and think up a truly innovative solution to the problem you’re facing — write it down!

may be true. But at the restaurants I’ve read about, the lines are around the corner and down the street. They’re not only creating buzz, but expectations and desire on the part of would-be diners. Plus, the no-shows have essentially been reduced to zilch. After you pay your $150 in advance, now you HAVE to go, right? Think of the $150 charge not so much as a punishment if someone doesn’t go but as a method to weed out the people who aren’t truly committed to go to that restaurant. I have to hand it to these restaurateurs — they’ve identified a problem, where sometimes 25 percent of their reservations don’t show up, and attacked that problem head-on. Ah, yes! Auto parts, right? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to use the rest of this column to discuss point-by-point issues that affect auto parts distribution and list innovative ways to address them. But consider how some restaurants took a well-worn process — making reservation, sitting down, ordering food, eating, paying for food — and turned it completely on its ear and solved a nagging problem that ate into their profits all at the same time. I bet there are plenty of you out there who have seen problems every day and thought, in a moment of reflection, how you might fix it or improve things. Then you probably got right back to work and forgot all about it. The next time a da Vinci-type moment strikes — that a-ha! moment of clarity in which you see the light and think up a truly innovative solution to the problem you’re facing — write it down! Stop what you’re doing and jot down a note, put it in your pocket and don’t throw your pants in the wash without first removing that note. That note may just contain the single greatest contribution to the future of our business. CM ■ ■ ■

For more information: Twitter: @CountermanMag


Federal-Mogul Vehicle Components Division Is Now Federal-Mogul Motorparts SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Federalparts, and co-CEO of FederalMogul Holdings Corp. has anMogul Holdings Corp. nounced the next step in its “Our aftermarket products are deongoing strategy to drive the globsigned and engineered around the al growth of its premium products principle that vehicle safety and and leading brands. The compaproduct performance matter most. ny’s Vehicle Components division Federal-Mogul’s premium brands has been renamed Federal-Mogul are synonymous with quality, which Motorparts. will continue to be Federal-Mogul “Our unrelenting focus going the way we differMotorparts is a entiate our prodforward will be to support ucts from others leading provider of premium our premium products and available in the brands, including clearly communicate their market. NotwithMOOG, Fel-Pro, standing recent advantages to our channel trends in some afChampion, Wagner, ANCO and termarket catepartners, professional Ferodo to the gories, our service technicians and global aftermarunrelenting focus consumers.” ket. Federalgoing forward will — Daniel Ninivaggi, CEO be to support our Mogul of Federal-Mogul Motorparts, premium products Motorparts also and co-CEO of Federal-Mogul and clearly comprovides highHoldings Corp. municate their adquality vehicle braking, chassis vantages to our and wiper components to global channel partners, professional servoriginal equipment manufacturers. ice technicians and consumers,” “For more than a century, we Ninivaggi said. have remained focused on providFederal-Mogul Motorparts maning the highest-quality compoufactures vehicle braking, chassis, nents across each of the product sealing and other service compocategories and regions we serve. nents, and also benefits from the Vehicle manufacturers recognize engine expertise of the Federalthis, as our friction products are Mogul Powertrain division. found on seven of the top 10 vehiThe new Federal-Mogul Motorcle models in Europe, and the parts name and logo will be rolled best-selling vehicle in North out globally effective immediately, America,” said Daniel Ninivaggi, leading into new marketing camCEO of Federal-Mogul Motorpaigns for its product brands.


June 2014 | Counterman


Federated Announces Shop Of The Year:

Brighton Auto Service Left to right: Federated Shop of the Year, Brighton Auto Service: Tom Summers, Les Jankowski, Chris Donovan, Mark Boon, Alan Abdella, Eric Muir, Bill Wasylyk, Bobby Lee Keeney Jr.

STAUNTON, Va. – Brighton Auto Service of Brighton, Mich., has been selected as the 2014 Federated Shop of the Year. The Federated Shop of the Year program recognizes a top shop with a demonstrated track record of excellence in such areas as customer service, quality repairs, knowl-

edgeable staff and community involvement. Winning shop owners Bobby Lee Kenney Jr. and Eric Muir were guests of Federated at the Federated National Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., and received special recognition during the May 1 awards banquet. Federated member Motown Auto-

motive nominated Brighton Auto Service for the honor and was onhand to present the prestigious award. Brighton Auto Service has been providing top quality repairs and customer service since 1986. Known for the motto “We fix almost anything on almost any vehicle,” the successful repair business has eight bays and the capacity to doublestack vehicles for a total of 10 service stations. While its six ASE-certified technicians specialize in both import and domestic vehicle repairs, the shop is recognized as the import expert in the Brighton area. “The shops nominated for the Federated Shop of the Year award were all very impressive, making the decision a very difficult one, but Brighton Auto Service rose to the top,” said Phil Moore, senior vice president for Federated.

Guess the Car / Win $100! This Month’s Puzzle

Last Month’s Correct Answer: What vehicle does this picture represent? If you think you know the answer, go to and click “Guess the Car” on the nav bar. Submit your answer and contact information. A winner will be randomly selected by the Counterman staff from all correct answers. The deadline to enter is July 1. The winner’s name will appear in the next issue. Stay tuned!

#77 8

June 2014 | Counterman

#76 Toyota Supra Congrats to Chaz Wilkin, Anderson, Ind.

Subscribe Subscribe to the Counterman eNewsletter, the industry's freshest twice-weekly, 100 percent free, mobile-device-friendly eNewsletter. Developed specifically for the auto parts distribution channel, the Counterman eNewsletter delivers timely news, new products, promotions and other special features needed to gain an edge in the marketplace. Subscribe at to receive the Counterman eNewsletter two times per week — every Tuesday and Thursday — in your inbox!


The Network Extends Parts Plus Brand Into Puerto Rico JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Automotive Distribution Network is expanding the Parts Plus brand into Puerto Rico, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. UniPiezas, a group of jobbers on the island, will be flying the Parts Plus banner starting immediately. “Puerto Rico is a vibrant, three-step jobber market that places an emphasis on brand quality and value,” Lambert said. “As the first group of jobbers to fly the Parts Plus banner in Puerto Rico, UniPiezas is eager to utilize the brand to strengthen customer loyalty through a more professional image.” The Network will provide the new Parts Plus jobbers on the island with marketing and product programs as well as private-label lines like filters, chemicals and batteries to help UniPiezas increase its profitability and market share. “The Network looks forward to working closely with our new partners in Puerto Rico in the coming months to help shape a Parts Plus program specific to this unique market,” Lambert added.

The Network Signs Third Parts Plus Member GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The Automotive Distribution Network continues to expand its Parts Plus Mexico footprint with the signing of OASA (Oxigeno y Acetileno S.A. de C.V.) into membership, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. “The Parts Plus program tailored for markets in Mexico continues to be a growing success with the strong addition of OASA, our third Parts Plus Mexico member,” Lambert said. “A family owned operation serving traditional three-step jobbers as well as conducting significant retail business with the public, OASA is a large industrial supply and tool-and-equipment company, with their larger stores carrying auto parts. OASA adds more volume and greater name recognition as the Network continues to establish the Parts Plus Mexico brand.” With headquarters in Mexicali, on the east side of Baja, Calif., OASA has 21 locations, including stores in Ensenada, Tecate, Rosarita, San Quintin, San Felilpe, Puerto Penasco and Hermosillo. OASA is a secondgeneration company owned and operated by four brothers: Alfonso, Alejandro, Jose Manuel and Ernesto Garcia.“At a time of growing competition in the marketplace, partnering with Parts Plus Mexico will enable our company to add additional lines and carry more auto parts inventory at all locations as we expand this category,” said Ernesto, president of OASA. 14

June 2014 | Counterman


AutoZone Third Quarter Same Store Sales Increase 4 Percent MEMPHIS, Tenn. – AutoZone has reported net sales of $2.3 billion for its third quarter (12 weeks) ended May 10, 2014, an increase of 6.2 percent from the third quarter of fiscal 2013 (12 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 4 percent for the quarter. Net income for the quarter increased $19.6 million, or 7.4 percent, over the same period last year to $285.2 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 16.4 percent to $8.46 per share from $7.27 per share in the year-ago quarter. For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52 percent (versus 51.8 percent for last year’s quarter). AutoZone said the improvement in gross margin was attributable to higher merchandise margins and lower shrink expense, partially offset by higher supply chain costs associated with current year inventory initiatives (25 bps). Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 31.5 percent (versus 31.1 percent last year). The increase in operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, was primarily due to higher store payroll (14 bps) and annualizing the benefit recorded last year for the net gain on disposal of certain assets (18 bps). Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 795 thousand shares of its common stock for $420 million during the

third quarter, at an average price of $529 per share. Year to date, the company has repurchased 1.877 million shares of its common stock for $912 million, at an average price of $486 per share. At the end of the third quarter, the company had $307 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization. “We are pleased to report our 31st consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO. “AutoZoners across the company are dedicated to providing superior service to our customers and that dedication is evidenced in our consistently strong performance. For the third quarter, overall our sales performance was generally consistent with the second quarter. While failure related categories were particularly strong in the second quarter, as expected, the deferrable maintenance categories rebounded in the third quarter and we expect that trend to continue through the summer. Our inventory availability test initiatives continue to show promise although we still have significant testing to complete before we determine our long-term approach. As we have routinely stated, we will remain committed to our disciplined approach to growing operating earnings and utilizing our capital effectively.”, an online auto parts retailer based in San Diego, will now be distributing Stigan Auto Parts. Stigan manufactures high-quality aftermarket turbochargers, both standard replacements as well as high-performance upgrades. The addition of Stigan will expand's offering of quality name-brand turbochargers. 16

June 2014 | Counterman

DAN COX owner, H&C Brakes & More

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Over the Counter By Jerry King

Federated Selects KYB As Co-Man Vendor Of The Year NGK also recognized for order fill. STAUNTON, Va. – Federated Auto Parts has named KYB Americas Corp. as its Outstanding Co-Man Vendor of the Year. In addition, NGK was recognized as the Federated Co-Man Vendor of the Year – Order Fill. “The Federated Co-Man program has been increasingly successful because of the good work of our suppliers. They work very closely with our members and understand the importance of the operation to the entire Federated organization,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “KYB has demonstrated exceptional performance, doing their part day in and day out to make sure our CoMan operation runs smoothly and efficiently.” “Order fill is very important to our membership and essential to the overall success of the Federated Co-Man warehouse operation,” said Bishop. “NGK is a valued supplier partner and we congratulate them for leading the way in this vital category.”

Tech Tip

Uni-Select Unveils New Banner Strategy For Canadian Shops

Courtesy of Gumout

Not All Fuel Additives are Created Equal


our customers deserve the best products and they trust you for quality recommendations. Gumout® performance additives clean and condition more engine parts than other additives—including piston tops, cylinder heads, GDI injectors and the combustion chamber. Our latest innovation, Gumout Multi-System Tune-Up delivers a powerful combination of cleaning and conditioning agents scientifically formulated to make fuel system maintenance simple and effective in any engine or fuel type. See how Gumout puts science to work in every bottle to help maximize engine performance.

Visit us at to learn more.


June 2014 | Counterman

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec – UniSelect Inc. has unveiled its new banner strategy for Canadian repair shops. According to Uni-Select, this new strategy lets shops choose the banner under which they want to operate (Auto-Select, Uni-Pro or SelectAutoXpert (SAX)) and supports their growth with a flexible and diverse lineup of services specifically adapted to each shop’s particular needs. Joining one of these programs provides shops with more visibility, the support of a network in promoting their services and helps increase customer loyalty. The Uni-Pro program is a buildyour-own program that offers an optional brand image and an À la carte menu of options, with many warranties for the shops and their customers. Technicians can also take advantage of training programs, diagnostic tools and business management coaching.


The Network Signs Portland Transmission Warehouse As New Auto Pride Member GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The Automotive Distribution Network continues to extend its Auto Pride footprint across the country with the signing of Portland Transmission Warehouse.

According to Mike Lambert, president of the Network, Portland Transmission Warehouse is an important addition to the group as the Network further expands on the West Coast.

What started as a repair shop in 1938 has evolved into a successful warehouse distribution company specializing in drivetrain components, said Ross Bradshaw, president of Portland Transmission Warehouse. “My grandfather started the business in 1938. In the ‘50s, his became one of the first shops in town to service automatic transmissions. Today, from our single location in Portland, we serve customers in Oregon, Washington and parts of Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Through the Network and Auto Pride, we’re planning to expand and add some new lines to better serve our customer base.” The election of Portland Transmission Warehouse into Network membership reflects Auto Pride’s strategy of signing distributors that have great potential for growth, added Cora Roark, director of Auto Pride. “Portland Transmission is a perfect fit for the Network’s Auto Pride division, where the niche distributor is just as valuable as the full-line warehouse. Auto Pride will help provide everything the company needs to grow, including competitive buying programs, innovative IT initiatives, an extensive equipment catalog, and access to the Network Products co-op warehouse,” she said.

DENSO has acquired

of EASE Simulation Inc., to help accelerate research and development of its vehicle diagnostic and telematics business in North America. DENSO International America Inc. completed the transition of ownership of the Pennsylvaniabased vehicle diagnostics and telematics company on June 4.


June 2014 | Counterman


Spectra Premium Industries To Purchase Assets Of Richporter Technology Ltd. BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec – Spectra Premium Industries Inc. announced it has entered into a binding purchase agreement for all assets of Richporter Technology Ltd. The acquisition is set to close around May 16. “Spectra Premium welcomes the Richporter Technology group and looks forward to incorporating its global manufacturing network of high-quality engine management products to our already extensive product lineup,” said Jacques Mombleau, president and CEO of Spectra Premium. “We will continue to pursue the aftermarket entrepreneurial spirit and product development strategy of Rich-

porter Technology that was led by its CEO, Mr. Patrick Richardson.” “A key component of our growth strategy is to expand our business model into complete vehicle repair solutions. Coupling the existing fuel and cooling system categories with these new engine management products allows us to grow sales opportunities for our partners in the global automotive market,” stated Jason Best, vice president aftermarket sales and marketing, Spectra Premium. “We are pleased to announce that leading our engine management team as vice president operations will be Martin Brazeau of Richporter Technology, who will be headquar-

tered in the new offices of Spectra Premium located in Taiwan.” Founded by Keith and Patrick Richardson along with Lawrence Hung, Richporter Technology was founded in 2001 based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with distribution handled from Champlain, N.Y., and manufacturing presence in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Richporter develops, manufactures and distributes engine management and ignition products for the automotive aftermarket industry. Today, the company offers a full line of mass air flow sensors (MAFS), coils, distributors, synchronizers and cam and crank sensors, with more new products coming soon.

Johnson Controls is growing its presence in China by

opening a new automotive battery manufacturing plant that will produce 6 million automotive batteries per year in the world's largest new vehicle market, where 22 million new vehicles are produced annually. The global multi-industrial company's new 133,000-squaremeter facility in Chongqing City reflects an

investment of $154 million. Located in Fuling District of Chongqing, in

Western China, the new plant will bring state-of-the-art technology and services to customers.


June 2014 | Counterman


Epicor Selected As Business Technology Partner Of The Year By Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance AUSTIN, Texas – Epicor Software Corp. has been selected as Business Technology Partner of the Year by Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (the Alliance), one of the world’s largest auto parts distribution and marketing organizations. The award recognizes the role Epicor played throughout 2013, helping extend the competitive benefits of the Alliance Technology Suite. Epicor has been a key technology provider to the Alliance for more than a decade. The companies recently signed a multi-year agreement covering product data, business intelligence and connectivity solutions. Several Alliance shareholders also rely on a variety of Epicor business management so-


June 2014 | Counterman

lutions, including Epicor Eagle and Epicor Vision. “The Alliance continues to innovate and lead the aftermarket with highly advanced business technologies for our shareholders, and Epicor has played a vital role in helping us expand the competitive benefits of these solutions,” said Alliance Chief Information Officer Dale Hopkins. “Their expertise within the automotive aftermarket, and a talented team, have helped us achieve our business goals.” Epicor and the Alliance have collaborated in the development of a wide range of innovative business intelligence capabilities, including the award-winning Al-

liance Data Warehouse, comprehensive inventory planning and modeling tools, and vertical category management initiatives. The Alliance is a longtime user of the industry-leading Epicor replacement parts database and other product intelligence solutions. “The Alliance team has a deep understanding and appreciation for the ever-increasing role of technology in today’s aftermarket industry,” said Scott Thompson, vice president, automotive, retail distribution solutions for Epicor. “We are proud to have earned their trust as we collaborate in developing new business intelligence solutions for use in every Alliance shareholder business.”


New York’s Big City Acquires Fellow Network Member All Parts Distributors GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – New York-based Big City Automotive continues its expansion into New Jersey with the acquisition of All Parts Distributors, d.b.a. Associated Auto Parts, a fellow Automotive Distribution Network member located in Linden, N.J. The announcement was made by Kenny Maurer, president and CEO of Big City. “The acquisition of Associated Auto Parts is a tremendous opportunity for Big City to make our presence known in New Jersey on a much larger scale after buying our first store in the state last year,” said Maurer, who also serves as the Network’s chairman. “The 52,000square-foot main warehouse in

Linden and three additional satellite locations in Edison, North Plainfield and Berkeley Heights will help Big City expand throughout northern New Jersey.” The sale came about through Maurer’s working relationship over the years with Ron Brody, outgoing president of All Parts Distributors and a founding member and former chairman of the Network’s Auto Pride brand. “I was the negotiator for the Network when Auto Pride merged with the group, so I’ve known Ron and of his company for a long time,” Maurer said. “For more than four decades, Associated has been a great operation with great people.”

Redline Forms Partnership With ISN Canada PLACENTIA, Calif. — Redline Detection, a leading provider of OEM-approved automotive diagnostic leak detection equipment and developer of one of the world’s best-selling diagnostic leak detectors, the Smoke Pro, has formed an exclusive master distributorship agreement with Integrated Supply Network (ISN) Canada to meet the growing demand for Redline products in the Canadian market. “At Redline, we are committed to providing world-class service and products to customers around the world,” said Alex Parker, executive vice president of Redline Detection. 25


Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Holds Summer Meeting In Baltimore BALTIMORE, Md. – The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance convened its Summer Meeting at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel earlier this month before a


June 2014 | Counterman

record number of attendees. More than 200 distributor member personnel representing all 54 group shareholders joined with nearly 250 supplier channel

partners, making it the largest such event in the organization’s history. “Our summer meeting is an outstanding event that enables our shareholders to roll up their sleeves and tackle some of the serious issues facing us as a group,” said John R. Washbish, president and CEO of the Alliance. “It gives us the opportunity to bring our heads together and push our collaborative endeavors forward, as well as celebrate some of our accomplishments.” Key among those accomplishments being celebrated was the remarkable achievement of the John Washbish, Alliance and its President and CEO shareholders winning the coveted R. L. Polk Inventory Efficiency Award for the fourth consecutive year. Personnel from shareholder members Automotive Parts Headquarters, Performance Warehouse and Auto-Wares joined with headquarters staff representing the past four winners of the award. The Alliance meeting also featured presentations on product and category management, information technology and e-commerce and branding and marketing. The event culminated with a vendor expo and a chowder cook-off where supplier channel partners interacted with shareholders while enjoying some of the finest local seafood from the Chesapeake Bay.


AutoZone Names Dorman Vendor Of The Year gether with AutoZone to grow the business and strengthMEMPHIS, Tenn. – AutoZone recognized Dorman Products Inc. as its Vendor of the Year during the com- en customer loyalty,” said Mark Finestone, senior vice president of merchandising and store development. Extra pany’s annual AutoZone Vendor Summit held recentMiler winners were: ly in Memphis, Tenn. Budge Industries LLC, Each year, AutoZone Johnson Controls, Neotek holds the Vendor Summit hosting more than “Dorman exemplifies an industry-leading vendor. Corp. Inc., OSRAM SYLVANIA, Prestone Prod500 vendors for celebraucts Corp., Qualis tion, training and recog- The entire Dorman organization is dedicated to Automotive, Shell Lubrinition activities. innovation, collaboration and speed to market.” “Dorman exemplifies — Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO of AutoZone. cants and Wells Vehicle Electronics. an industry-leading Additionally, WITTDTJR (What It Takes To Do The vendor. The entire Dorman organization is dedicatJob Right) Awards were given to suppliers as recognied to innovation, collaboration and speed to market,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO tion for taking the initiative to make sure AutoZoners and customers have what it takes to complete the job. of AutoZone. AutoZone also recognized a special group of suppli- WITTDTJR award winners included: Bearing Technologies, Dayco, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americers with the company’s Extra Miler Award. as Inc., MOTHERS, Motorcar Parts of America and “The Extra Miler Award recognizes those suppliers who have set a high standard for consistently working to- Premier Accessory Group.

Bob Leone Of ADVICS Appointed To CAWA Manufacturers Advisory Council SACRAMENTO, Calif. – CAWA Chair Ron Aparicio of MOTUL USA has appointed Bob Leone of ADVICS to the association’s Manufacturers Advisory Council (MAC). “In adding Bob Leone to our MAC, we are adding a true leader in the auto care industry. I have known Bob for many years, and he brings a well-respected ‘real world’ viewpoint to our group,” said Aparicio. “Bob’s valued input from his experiences in the aftermarket, and representing a prestigious OEM supplier such as ADVICS will greatly benefit the association. We look forward to his contributions to the Manufacturers Advisory Council and his role within CAWA.”


June 2014 | Counterman


Sanel Auto Parts Recognized As Exemplary Distributor By Bendix CONCORD, N.H. – Sanel Auto Parts Co. has been honored by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems as an Exemplary Distributor, with Platinum ranking. Bendix executives stated that Sanel delivered exceptional performance for fleet customers across North America. The Platinum ranking reflects the top 10 percent of distributors in the company’s independent aftermarket distributor network. Bendix distributorship performance program utilizes objective performance measures as opposed to work volume alone. As a result, all Bendix distributors, regardless of size, have an equal opportunity

“We are proud to have distributor partners who strive daily to provide the heavy-duty aftermarket with the highest levels of safety, performance, value and post-sales support.” —Tom Otter, Bendix vice president, sales and marketing

to earn rewards and recognition. “Bendix relies on strong partnerships with our distributors to meet the needs of today’s heavy-duty aftermarket. Because of these partnerships, customers can count on having the right part in the right

place at the right time, so they can keep their vehicles on the road and in the safest condition,” said Tom Otter, Bendix vice president, sales and marketing. “We are proud to have distributor partners who strive daily to provide the heavyduty aftermarket with the highest levels of safety, performance, value and post-sales support.” “We are truly honored by this recognition,” said David Segal, president of Sanel Auto Parts, Co. “Our commitment to excellence for our customers is paramount.” Sanel Auto Parts has been a family-owned business for the past 95 years.

Affinia Group Completes Sale Of Global Chassis Group GASTONIA, N.C. – Affinia Group Inc. announced it has closed the sale of its global chassis business to an affiliate of Federal-Mogul Corp. The gross consideration was $150 million. “The divestiture of our Global Chassis group gives us a greater opportunity to focus on our Global Filtration and Affinia South America segments, both of which provide strong growth opportunities in the markets they serve,” said Keith Wilson, president and CEO for Affinia Group Inc. “We extend our appreciation to the individuals within the Chassis team who helped lead and grow this business group over the years and wish them continued success.” The chassis business is comprised of more than 350 people in five locations, including operations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Ramsey, New Jersey; McHenry, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. 29


Federated Presents Co-Man Member Of The Year And Car Care Excellence Awards At National Meeting STAUNTON, Va. – Three Federated members were honored during the annual Federated Auto Parts national meeting held April 30 through May 3 in Phoenix, Ariz. Indianapolis-based TBA & Oil Warehouse was named Federated Co-Man Member of the Year. Accepting the award were Charlie Crouse and Ryan Wrege. The Federated Co-Man Member of the Year is presented annually to the participating member that has shown outstanding dedication and support of the member-owned Federated Co-Man warehouse operation and its programs. This year, Federated added a new honor to its award ceremony. The inaugural Federated Car Care Excellence Award was presented to two members, Cold Air Distributors of Florida and Parts Distributing Milwaukee, and recognizes Federated members who have excelled at implementing the Federated Car Care program. “On behalf of the entire Federated organization, we thank these three members for their exceptional commitment to the success of Federated and its programs,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts.

Continental Releases Glossary Of Industry TPMS Terms ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket, one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of complete OE Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), OE-engineered TPMS replacement parts and the maker of the VDO REDI-Sensor MultiApplication TPMS Sensor, has just released a glossary of industry terms that was recently developed for TPMS service. The new 10-page glossary includes definitions and descriptions for more than 93 industrywide TPMS service related and parts terms. According to Continental Product Manager Steve Landis, the new glossary was developed to help both parts suppliers and professional technicians better communicate and understand the complexities of TPMS service and the wide variety of industry terminologies used in this rapidly expanding automotive service category. The new glossary is available free on the VDO REDI-Sensor website at and can be downloaded for easy reference as a PDF. 30

June 2014 | Counterman


Federated Membership Names Standard Motor Products Outstanding Vendor Of The Year STAUNTON, Va. – It was a “three-peat” for Standard Motor Products (SMP) as the company was selected as Outstanding Vendor of the Year by the Federated Auto Parts membership for the third consecutive year. The Federated vendor award was presented to SMP by Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts, during the group’s national meeting and annual awards dinner in Phoenix, Ariz. Accepting the award on behalf of SMP were Bill Collins, Leon De Long, Joe Donaggio, Phil Hutchens, Eric Sills and Ken Wendling. “It is a great accomplishment to be chosen as the Federated Outstanding Vendor of the Year and it’s even more impressive to be honored with this top award three years in a row,” said Bishop. “SMP received the most votes from Federated members again this year and we want to extend our sincere gratitude for their continued commitment to excellence.” In addition to the Outstanding Vendor of the Year award, Federated presented its Outstanding Supplier Support Awards to those suppliers deemed exceptional in five key categories: ● Order Fill Vendor of the Year – Hastings ● Education and Training Vendor of the Year – East Penn ● Marketing Vendor of the Year – Dorman ● Sales Representation Vendor of the Year – Federal-Mogul ● Electronic Cataloging Vendor of the Year – CARDONE “These five categories are particularly important to our membership and essential to the overall success of Federated,” continued Bishop. “We salute these valued supplier partners for leading the way in each of these vital categories.”

Left to right: The SMP team with Federated CEO Rusty Bishop: Leon De Long, Phil Hutchens, Ken Wendling, Bishop, Eric Sills, Joe Donaggio and Bill Collins. 31


O’Reilly Automotive Reports First Quarter 2014 Results SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – O’Reilly Automotive has announced record revenues and earnings for its first quarter ended March 31, 2014. Sales for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014, increased $143 million, or 9 percent, to $1.73 billion from $1.59 billion for the same period one year ago. Gross profit for the first quarter increased to $878 million (or 50.8 percent of sales) from $799 million (or 50.4 percent of sales) for the same period one year ago, representing an increase of 10 percent. Net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014, increased $20 million, or 13 percent, to $174 million (or 10.1 percent of sales)


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from $154 million (or 9.7 percent of sales) for the same period one year ago. Diluted earnings per common share for the first quarter increased 18 percent to $1.61 on 108 million shares versus $1.36 for the same period one year ago on 113 million shares. Commenting on the company’s first quarter results, President and CEO Greg Henslee stated, “We are proud to report a very strong and profitable start to 2014, highlighted by a 6.3 percent increase in comparable store sales and an 18 percent increase in diluted earnings per share to $1.61, which marks our 21st consecutive quarter of 15 percent or greater diluted

earnings per share growth. Our comparable store sales results for the first quarter exceeded our expectations, and the top end of our guidance range, driven by Team O’Reilly’s relentless focus on delivering the highest level of customer service in the industry. Once again, our record-breaking performance is the direct result of the hard work and commitment of our dedicated team members, and I would like to thank each of you for the vital role you play in our ongoing success.” Henslee continued, “During the first quarter, we opened 50 net, new stores across 23 states with many of those stores opening in Florida where our newest distribution center in Lakeland began providing daily inventory replenishments to our stores in those markets in early January.”


BBB Industries Receives Sales Excellence Award From NAPA MOBILE, Ala. – At the most recent NAPA Vendor Summit held in Atlanta, Ga., BBB Industries was awarded the Sales Excellence Award. Citing BBB’s product value, superior sales service level, creative promotional and sales support activities and cooperative efforts with the NAPA field sales organization, BBB was recognized for going the extra mile to make 2013 an exceptional year for NAPA-branded products. Accepting the award for BBB was Matt Knott, account manager for NAPA. Also in attendance from BBB headquarters were Don Bigler, Trey Smart and Joe Felicelli. “We are extremely proud of Matt and the entire team that supports our presence at NAPA,” said Bigler, executive chairman. “We consider NAPA to be a true partner and even in our fairly short time as a supplier, we think of NAPA as an extension of our business. We are proud to be able to work with the NAPA team and will always do our best to earn their continued trust.” Currently, BBB supplies the NAPA organization throughout North America with rotating electrical and power steering products. BBB Industries has been supplying rotating electrical products to NAPA since 2008 and power steering racks, pumps and gears since 2011.


June 2014 | Counterman


OptiCat Launches New Offerings For Automotive Aftermarket Data Suppliers and Data Receivers SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – OptiCat LLC reports that its programs used by data suppliers and receivers to supply and access supplier catalog data have received important enhancements that will provide increased flexibility and value. These enhancements are provided at no cost to data receivers, according to OptiCat. “These new OptiCat programs add significant value to both suppliers and data receivers such that products will reach the market faster with fewer catalog errors related to data translation problems,” said Charley Johnson, OptiCat CEO. “More profitable operations will result for suppliers and receivers.” Enhancements include: OptiCat can now receive supplier product attribute data in flat file form via its OnBoard program and export it in PIES format to data receivers via its OnDemand program. This will assist non-PIES compliant suppliers and their data receivers to communicate more effectively.


June 2014 | Counterman

Data receivers using OptiCat’s OnDemand program will be able to specify custom PIES data output formats, in XML or flat file structures, based on the PIES data standard. According to OptiCat, this capability integrates with the OnBoard data import capability described above. Therefore, if the data receiver’s systems require specific portions of the PIES data that are resident in the OptiCat data repository, these can be custom-specified by the receivers or by suppliers acting on the receiver’s behalf. OptiCat has added the new “OnMail” option of data delivery for suppliers and receivers that use a secure email delivery program. Many data receivers prefer to receive supplier data from the OptiCat data repository via the OnDemand FTP delivery program after they have been automatically informed by OptiCat that supplier data is available. However, some receivers prefer to get the data immediately upon its release by the supplier via email.


Uni-Select Reports Solid Earnings Growth In The First Quarter BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec – Uni-Select Inc. has reported its results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014. The company said EBITDA and net earnings improved sharply compared to the same period last year notwithstanding a slight decrease in overall sales. The corporation generated 1.7 percent organic growth. “I am pleased to report strong consistent profitability growth since the implementation of our Action Plan last summer,” said Richard Roy, president and CEO of Uni-Select. “During the quarter, our team efficiently executed operational improvements, which, in turn, generated positive sales despite unfavorable weather conditions that prevailed across many U.S. regions. Its unparalleled commitment accounts for our success. It translated into positive outcomes for our customers, suppliers and shareholders.” “In the coming months, we will continue to focus on organic sales growth while seeking profitability and efficiency gains through the implementation of the final stages of our Action Plan. We shall follow our operational plan, which should lead to reduced inventory and lower operating costs and reduced debt. We intend to remain the partner of choice for independent wholesalers and to continue to strengthen our leadership position in the automotive aftermarket product distribution,” added Roy. Uni-Select recorded a decrease in sales of 2.1 percent to $413 million in the first quarter of 2014, resulting from projected store closures under the Action Plan, a weak Canadian dollar and temporary closures caused by severe winter conditions in many U.S. regions. In the first quarter, organic sales grew by 1.7 percent. Sales of the U.S. operations reached $311 million, up 1 percent organically. Canadian operations delivered $102 million in sales in the same period, organically up 3.8 percent. The overall positive organic growth comes from the success of the various sales initiatives and the recruitment of new customers, supported by improved service levels stemming from now fully implemented ERP system. The corporation’s adjusted EBITDA margin increased by 22 percent to reach 5 percent compared to 4.1 percent last year. This solid increase is mainly attributable to savings realized under the Action Plan, including the closure of non-profitable distribution locations and headcount reductions. Organic growth and tighter expense controls also contributed to the increase. 37


Prolong Super Lubricants Sponsors Allen Berg Racing Schools POMONA, Calif. – For thrill seekers to serious students of auto racing, Allen Berg Racing Schools (ABRS) offer the experienced instructors and professional curriculum that can make up-and-coming racers great. As a leader in car care products, lubricants and protectants, Prolong Super Lubricants is now sponsoring ABRS, helping students achieve their goals by providing its full additive product line for engines, transmissions and fuel systems, as well as its SPL100 Super Penetrating Lubricant Spray, Waterless Wash & Shine and Super Protectant for all vehicles available to students. "We understand the wear and tear engines go through and Prolong's Anti-Friction Metal Treatment (AFMT) technology can help engines run cooler and more efficiently, enhancing the students' education as they learn to operate ABRS's high-tech racecars," said Jon ApogÊe, general manager, domestic sales, marketing and motorsports, Prolong Super Lubricants. "Our


June 2014 | Counterman

cleaning and protecting products can also help the students streamline the high level of maintenance the exteriors of these vehicles require." AFMT technology protects against high temperature oxidation, wear and viscosity breakdown during severe use. AFMT bonds to metal surfaces, diminishing the effects of metal-to-metal friction and redirecting the engine's fuel-combustion energy straight to the horsepower necessary for optimum performance and fuel economy. Berg, a former Formula One Grand Prix driver, developed the school's programs to provide students with an authentic racing experience at two racing venues, offering six Formula Car racing programs and two driver safety courses that teach students safety and accident avoidance techniques. ABRS operates programs at various locations throughout California and Arizona. To learn more, visit


Vast-Auto Distribution, Eastern Automotive Warehousing Join Forces MONTREAL, Quebec – John Del by grouping their activities, the Vasto, president of Vast-Auto, and quality and flexibility of the comDavid Vaughan, vice president of bined marketing programs will alEastern Automotive Warehousing, low them to better serve their announced they have existing customers “This transaction formed a strategic and develop the full supports our growth potential of the marpartnership through the acquisition of the ket in an optimal strategy and business operations way. “The expanded strengthens our of Eastern Automooperational and supposition in Eastern ply chain infrastructive Warehousing. The newly formed ture enables us to Canada.” entity, Vast-Auto Dis— John Del Vasto, better service the tribution Atlantic, president of Vast-Auto needs of our cuswill be responsible tomers in Atlantic for all distribution acCanada and accelertivities in the Atlantic Provinces. ate our growth plans,” said The company owned stores will Vaughan. “At the end of the day, continue to operate under Auto we are proud of our family’s 100Machinery. year tradition in the industry and “This transaction supports our feel that partnering with Vastgrowth strategy and strengthens Auto will make us stronger. It is a our position in Eastern Canada,” new and very exciting era for said Del Vasto. “Atlantic Canada is Eastern Automotive Warehousing a very important market for us and and Auto Machinery.” we are committed to offering parts The transaction will expand Vaststores access to a quality product Auto’s footprint of Auto Value assoassortment and provide value ciate and corporate part stores and added services to fulfill the needs its network of professional repair of the customer base.” shops in Eastern Canada. David The two companies stated that Vaughan will continue to administer in addition to the synergy and inthe business as vice president and creased efficiency made possible general manager.

Snap-on Acquires Pro-Cut International KENOSHA, Wis. – Snap-on Inc. has acquired substantially all of the assets of Pro-Cut International Inc. for approximately $42 million in cash. Pro-Cut, with 2013 sales of approximately $24 million, designs, manufactures and distributes on-car brake lathes, related equipment and accessories used in brake servicing by automotive repair facilities. “We believe Pro-Cut will be an important addition to our Repair Systems & Information Group and will help us move further along our coherent growth runway of expanding with repair shop owners and managers. We look forward to welcoming Pro-Cut associates to the Snapon family,” said Nick Pinchuk, Snap-on chairman and CEO. “Pro-Cut’s advanced brake servicing product line enhances and increases Snap-on’s offering of productivity solutions for vehicle repair facilities, including independent shops, national service chains and OEM dealerships,” Pinchuk added. 39


Hahn Automotive Warehouse Hosts 2014 National Sales Conference ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hahn Automotive Warehouse held its annual national sales conference March 1415 in Rochester, N.Y. As the company continues to grow, so does the size of this event, which hosted 248 people. Headquartered in Rochester, Hahn has physical locations in 10 states and services 19 states from Indiana to South Carolina. The balance of the first day was spent attending a vendor booth show. The 100,000 square feet of space was lit up with auto parts, supplies, accessories, tools and equipment. Staffed by the best representatives in the business, each booth offered a wealth of knowl-

Tech Tip

edge and information for the participants to take back to their sales areas and use right away. Day two started off with an exciting and humorous presentation by Garrison Wynn. Wynn started his career as a stand-up comedian and then set his focus on corporate training. His message of customer service combined with his presentation style made an indelible impression on the entire crowd. The afternoon brought presentations from four key vendor channel partners – Dorman Products, Tenneco, Federal-Mogul and Standard Motor Products. This was an opportunity for in-depth information

to be shared with the group as they prepare for the rush of spring business. Dorman had some fun with the group and hosted a live game of Jeopardy on the stage with prizes for the participants. During the evening awards banquet, 60 different members of the Hahn team won awards for their sales and profitability efforts in the previous year. Vendor Channel Partners also were recognized for their hard work and achievement, with top honors going to Tenneco this year. To complete the event, the Mike Futerman Memorial Award is given to a worthy recipient who represents the standards, ethics and beliefs of the company founder. This year’s recipient was Barry Williams from the Nu-Way Auto Parts division.

Courtesy of Lubegard

Perform Transmission Fluid Service By ‘Severe Duty’ Change Interval


mproved lubricants have allowed service intervals to extend for many vehicles with automatic transmissions, utilizing “lifetime fluids.” In the past, service recommendations for automatic transmissions were based on time/mileage tied to requirements of new vehicle warranties (2-3 years or 30,000 miles). Lifetime fluid recommendations are now 5-10 years or the life of the vehicle (100,000 miles) unless the vehicle is subjected to “severe duty.” The question that often comes up next: When is it appropriate to perform a fluid service? Taken directly from OEM owners’ manuals, “severe duty” has historically been defined as: • Operation of vehicle when ambient temperature is above 100° F or below 0° F. • Carrying heavy loads or multiple passengers on a daily basis. • High-speed highway or interstate driving for extended periods of time. • Driving in hilly or mountainous areas. • Stop-and-go driving.


June 2014 | Counterman

By definition, drivers are engaged in severe-duty vehicle operation most of the time. The severity and non-stop cold weather of this recent winter is a perfect example of severe-duty conditions that really stress and deteriorate all of the lubricants in a vehicle. The standard recommendation is to cut the recommended change interval (30,000 - 100,000 miles) in half and perform service based on severe duty (15,000 50,000 miles). Most drivers are looking to minimize the cost of ownership and still meet the warranty requirements. Most warranties clearly state that failure to perform routine maintenance will void the warranty. When we service vehicles, we owe it to our customers to qualify their driving habits. We need to show them if they operate their vehicle in a manner that may require a more frequent service cycle. When we provide the customer with the advice and service they need to maintain their vehicle and OE warranty based on real world considerations, we instill trust, confidence and loyalty.


Multi Parts Supply Announces

SPARK Initiative JUPITER, Fla. – Multi Parts Supply (MPS) used the occasion of the 2014 Global Aftermarket Automotive Symposium (GAAS) to announce the new MPS SPARK Initiative. Developed by the MPS senior management team, the SPARK Initiative’s purpose is to ignite deeper interest in the auto care industry among the next generation of technical and executive professionals. The SPARK Initiative’s inaugural event will take place at the 2014 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) Show, Nov. 4-6, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. For the SPARK Initia-

tive 2014, MPS is selecting six GAAS scholarship winners, providing each an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2014 AAPEX Expo. SPARK selectees will be treated to an activity-packed, three-day industry immersion. SPARK Initiative 2014 selectees will benefit from a dynamic one-ofa-kind introduction to the industry, that includes specifically designed and developed programming at the show, meet-and-greet encounters with key industry leadership and in-show outings orchestrated by MPS.

APH Chili Cook-Off Raises $62,000 For Adults With Disabilities Eight chili dishes were entered and $62,000 was raised for WACOSA, a nonprofit day program for adults with disabilities in central Minnesota. ST. CLOUD, Minn. — During the final stop of the 84th Annual Auto Value Product Expo Tour, Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc. (APH), in partnership with almost 50 manufacturers’ representatives, hosted its fourth annual chili cookoff. Eight chili dishes were entered and $62,000 was raised for WACOSA, a nonprofit day program for adults with disabilities in central Minnesota. “APH, Auto Value and the Bartlett family are strong believers and supporters of WACOSA,” commented Russ Redman, sales representative for William Shimp Sales and chili cook-off champion. “Adults with disabilities are often the hardest hit when county, state and federal funding cuts need to be made. For that reason, we are extremely proud to help the APH team, Russ Redman, chili in any way we can, raise money and awareness cook-off champion for this important program.” Russ Redman, chili cook-off champion. WACOSA connects local businesses with a workforce of more than 500 adults with mental or physical disabilities. Through training and coaching, WACOSA workers provide reliable and affordable business solutions through in-center work opportunities or community employment. 41

Track Talk Military Tributes, Pit Road Accolades Significant for Joe Slingerland of Hendrick Motorsports For Joe Slingerland, rear tire changer on the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, the first quarter of the 2014 race season is bookended with special moments. “It’s hard to put into words,” claimed Slingerland about the season-opening Daytona 500 win. “It was my first Daytona 500 win and to get it with an Earnhardt made it extra special. It was an awesome night.” Equally as important an

because of his family. “My dad was in the military,” he said. “My older brother (Jeff) was in the service and my younger brother (Jason) is still in the military. He did three tours in Afghanistan as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.” Slingerland and his younger brother enjoy exchanging tales about their trades. “It’s pretty cool. I talk about my brother all the time being the Black Hawk pilot. And, he

The No. 88 Team captured the first quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award due in no small measure to proper training, technique and uniform selection.

event for Slingerland occurred Memorial Day weekend when NASCAR kicked off its annual NASCAR: An American Salute program to honor active and retired service members and military families through July 4th. The military tributes, for Slingerland, are cherished

talks about me with all his military buddies.” And while there is a significant difference between active military duty and the role of a NASCAR rear tire changer, there are some parallels in the jobs. “There is a lot of teamwork for both,” said Slingerland. “My brother used to be the crew chief

on the Black Hawk before he became a pilot. He worked with the pilot who had to entrust that he was fixing the helicopter right before each mission.” “So, there are a lot of things we do on the race car that correlate to what he does from the teamwork perspective.” With competition in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing so tight, the battle on pit road is critical to racing up front and Joe Slingerland. Rear Tire Changer and proud brother. winning races. Teamwork is essential, and Slingerland petition. believes the key to the No. 88 pit “It’s an honor to be voted on crew’s success is years in the by all your peers as the best pit making. crew on pit road,” said “This is my 13th season,” Slingerland. “The gloves we use said the 35-year-old native of have come a long way to give us Inverness, Fla. “And for most of more protection from the heat our guys, it’s their fourth or fifth of the tires during a race.” season.” In celebration of NASCAR: Today’s pit stops are so fast An American Salute, glove that pit crews have to gel pretty provider Mechanix Wear has quickly. outfitted the No. 88 crew and “To have the 88 team togeth- other teams with a brand new er for these years and not have camouflage-pattern glove line many changes is really impor- called MultiCam, which maintant. We all know what each tains the dexterity and ultimate other’s next move is going to be, hand protection today’s pit so it’s seamless on the pit stops.” crews have become accustomed Slingerland and the No. 88 to. over-the-wall crew’s performFittingly for Slingerland, he ance so far this season is not now has a new pair of militarygoing unrecognized. The team inspired gloves to tell his brothwas recently voted among crew er about. chiefs as the first quarter winners of the Mechanix WearMost By Steve Post Valuable Pit Crew Award com-

Follow NASCAR Performance on Twitter and Facebook ■


Bond Auto Parts Awards Top Vendors At Annual Manager’s Retreat BARRE, Vt. – Bond Auto Parts has presented awards to several of its vendors at the annual Bond Auto Parts Manager’s Retreat held May 16-18 in Stowe, Vt. Every 18 months, Bond hosts all of its managers and key sales people for this event, which delivers competitive advantages to its team by aligning training, customer service, vendor interaction and team-building activities to help them better succeed in their local markets. Each year, Bond Auto recognizes its suppliers for their accomplishments in support of the Bond Auto Parts mission. Bond Auto Parts works very closely with many vendors on a daily basis to help provide the best inventory for its store locations. The company recognized top vendors with the following awards: ● Parts Master Vendor – Alliance Parts Warehouse For providing overall support including, but not limited to, product quality packaging, manpower, shipping performance, customer service, marketing support and training. ● Retail Vendor – East Penn For providing overall support to help Bond Auto Parts attain a greater retail market share. ● Paint, Body & Equipment – PPG Industries For providing support at all levels, to help Bond Paint & Body reach its overall goals. ● Customer Service – LTD Parts/Vision-OE For providing outstanding support at all levels to help Bond Auto reach its goals. These include, but are not limited to, warranty issues, technical support and overall response time. ● Training Support – Standard Motor Products For providing outstanding training support and opportunities to help make the Bond Auto Parts team more knowledgeable. ● Outstanding Technology Support – Dorman Products For supplying technology to increase Bond Auto Parts sales and profits, enhance efficiency and reduce costs and provide differentiation and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

● Logistics Vendor – Spectra Premium Industries For providing quality of shipment, electronic documentation, two-way communication and meeting delivery expectations. ● Marketing Support – Gates Corp. For providing outstanding pull-through marketing programs/promotions and financial assistance to help Bond Auto Parts attain a greater market share. ● Manpower Support – Tenneco Inc. & WIX Filtration Products For providing outstanding field support at all levels, including dealer sales calls, with personnel who are knowledgeable about their products and programs. ● Vendor of the Year Award – Federal Mogul Most valued vendor partner that helps Bond Auto Parts achieve its overall business goals. 43

MARKETPLACE › TechSmart Spring 2014 Line Expansion Standard Motor Products (SMP) has announced its latest TechSmart line expansion for 2014. TechSmart has added 28 new premium parts to its growing line of engine control products and solution-based parts. Highlighting this release are expansions to some of TechSmart’s most popular categories: keyless entry transmitters (key fobs), electronic throttle bodies, park assist sensors, headlight wiring harnesses and more. These new products cover more than 9 million additional vehicles-in-operation (VIO) for domestic and import applications through model year 2013.

Arnott Releases New Air Suspension Compressor For Bentley Continental GT, Flying Spur Arnott Inc. has released a new, heavy-duty air suspension compressor for the 2003-2012 Bentley Continental GT, and the 2006-2012 Bentley Flying Spur (OE part number 3D0616005K). Arnott’s air compressor for the Bentley is new — not remanufactured — and made by WABCO, the OE manufacturer. The powerful, reliable compressor ships complete with new air fittings, a thermal sensor, and intake hose assembly. The Bentley compressor is completely assembled, tested and includes an easy-to-follow installation manual with detailed instructions on reusing the Bentley mounting bracket. Arnott’s Bentley air compressor, part number P-2740 retails for $1,093.75. Arnott backs each new Bentley compressor with an unlimited mileage two-year warranty.

Standard Motor Products Releases More Than 500 New Parts for Intermotor Import Line Standard Motor Products (SMP) has announced the addition of 503 new part numbers to its Intermotor line of genuine import parts. The Intermotor line expansion features more than 220 new switches, including multi-function, combination, windshield wiper, steering wheel audio control, fog lamp, cruise control and more, covering more than 46 million additional vehicles-in-operation (VIO). Intermotor also has added more than 180 sensors, including more than 100 ABS speed sensors, covering an additional 23 million VIO. Also added was significant coverage for clone-able TPMS sensors, brake master cylinder fluid level sensors, turbocharger boost, transmission input and output sensor, vehicle speed and more. Additional key category expansion includes ignition starter switches, ignition lock cylinders, fuel pressure regulators, PCV valves and relays.


June 2014 | Counterman

MARKETPLACE › ContiTech Introduces Wear Resistant Multiple V-ribbed Belt for Quiet Operation It puts an end to problems typically associated with cold starts, dampness and pulley misalignment. The CONTI UNIPOWER TOUGH GRIP multiple Vribbed belt with textile surface developed by the ContiTech Power Transmission Group greatly minimizes noise buildup when accessories like the air conditioning system, power steering pump or generators are in operation. The belt’s special feature is that the pulley side consists of a fabric reinforcement, and is highly resistant to wear. The quiet drive belt features high wear resistance that is required for starter-generator applications. “The CONTI UNIPOWER TOUGH GRIP also solves problems in other components,” said Ralf Berger, of ContiTech’s Power Transmission Group. “This multiple V-ribbed belt shows itself to be extremely sturdy when having to operate with misaligned components in the drive system.”

New Products From CARDONE At CARDONE, we’re determined to have the right parts in stock when you need them. To accomplish this, we’re constantly adding new parts to our catalog of more than 46,000 SKUs. This month, we’re pleased to announce the release of 24 A1 CARDONE reman numbers and 25 CARDONE Select new part numbers. This release features some exciting new exclusive SKU’s. Below are just a few highlights:

Brake Caliper 18-B5474 – left 18-B5475 – right 2013 Ford Fusion/Mercury MKZ Over 180,000 VIO

Water Pump 58-728 11-13 Ford Mustang/F150 5.0L Over 185,000 VIO

ECM 78-1120F 2005 Ford F150 CARDONE Exclusive! Over 89,000 VIO 45


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Brake Noise? Don’t Be So Quick To Blame The Pads

rake pads often get a bad rap for causing such problems as noise and pedal pulsations. Worn brake pads obviously need to be replaced when the friction linings are worn down to minimum thickness (typically 1/8 inch or less), but worn pads are seldom the primary cause of brake noise or pedal pulsations. Brake noise occurs when there is undampened movement or play between the pads and calipers. Movement allows vibration, which causes squeals and rattles. Brake noise can also occur if the pads are not held securely in the calipers, or the noise shims or anti-rattle clips for the pads are missing, severely corroded or installed incorrectly. Brake pad mounting hardware should always be inspected and replaced as needed when the pads are changed. Many replacement pads come with preinstalled shims or internally molded shims to dampen vibrations and noise. Applying high-temperature brake



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grease or a noise suppression compound to the backs of the pads also can help dampen noise. Noise also can be minimized by spraying the rotors with an aerosol break-in compound that controls noise while a new set of pads are breaking in. The type of friction material in the pads can also affect noise. Ceramic friction materials are usually softer and quieter than semi-metallic friction materials, and the latest generation of low-copper/ceramic pads are probably the quietest ever. The design of the pads can also dampen or amplify noise. Highergrade brake pads typically have slots and chamfers to help dampen noise. Chamfering the edges of the pads concentrates the surface load more or relocates it slightly to dampen noise-producing vibrations. Some premium pads also have special surface coatings such as titanium dioxide, copper, graphite, etc. to help break-in the linings and dampen noise during the first few hundred miles of operation. Many premium pads are “preburnished” to eliminate many of the problems that can occur if the pads are not broken in properly. When brake linings are manufactured, the resins that bind the in-

gredients together may not be fully cured. When the linings are installed on a vehicle, the heat produced by normal braking bakes the linings and cooks out the residual chemicals from the resins to improve the friction characteristics of the lining. But if the vehicle owner stomps on the brakes too hard during this initial break-in period and overheats the brakes, it can “glaze” the linings, which will cause noise and performance problems. So to eliminate the break-in period, many pads are now fully heat-cure (burnished) at the factory. Premium-grade pads also use better materials than economy grade pads, so they usually run quieter, last longer and provide superior braking performance. Premium pads cost a more than standard or economy pads. But when you consider the cost of the pads as a part of a complete brake job (pads, rotors, calipers, labor, etc.), the extra cost is insignificant — and for professional customers, the extra cost is well worth it because it means fewer comebacks. Brake pedal vibrations are usually caused by variations in rotor thickness, not the type of friction material in the pads or movement between the pads and calipers. Uneven rotor wear can be caused by rotor runout, variations in the harness of the iron in the rotors, or by hard spots that develop in the rotors as a result of high braking temperatures. Replacing the pads won’t cure a pedal pulsation problem because the real problem is the rotors, not the pads. The rotors need to be replaced. CM


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Engine Parts Last Longer Than Ever Before re engine parts such as crankshafts, bearings, pistons, rings, cams, lifters, pushrods, valves and other valvetrain components called “hard parts” because they are hard to sell? No, they are called hard parts because they are the hard metal components inside an engine. However, they tend to be slower-moving parts because there is less demand for engine parts and engine kits. Engines are lasting longer than ever these days and those that are being replaced are often replaced with a new or remanufactured crate engine rather than being overhauled. Many engine hard parts are not kept in stock but are ordered from a warehouse or distributor as needed. So it’s important to let your customers know that some parts may not be available for immediate delivery. Engine hard parts often require a higher level of product knowledge to accurately identify the correct part for a particular application. Many internal engine parts can vary from one model year to the next, or even from one model application to another depending on the powertrain options. Consequently, you often need the VIN number as well as the year/make/model/engine size to figure out which parts are the correct ones for a given engine application. One thing to keep in mind about engine parts is that a customer who is buying such parts often



June 2014 | Counterman

needs a LOT of parts, not just a set of pistons or bearings or whatever for his engine. If the lower end has worn parts, chances are the engine will need a reground crankshaft with matching rod and main bearings, a new oil pump, timing chain set, oil filter, oil, coolant and gaskets. If a customer is working on the top end of an engine, he might need valves, valve springs, valve guide seals, pushrods, maybe a net

set of lifters and a cam, and gaskets (valve cover, intake and exhaust manifold, and head gaskets, plus head bolts). Replacing the rings and bearings also is a more complicated job than just replacing the old parts with new ones. At the very least, the cylinders will have to be deglazed with a hand hone to provide the proper surface to break-in the new rings. If the cylinders are worn, they will have to be bored and honed to oversize, and the stock pistons and rings will have to be replaced with the correct oversize parts. Figuring out which set of pistons an engine requires can be challenging because of all

the different ring sizes and compression ratios. An engine kit can take a lot of the guesswork out of correctly matching parts while providing your customer with most if not all of the most commonly replaced parts in one box — including many of the smaller items that otherwise might have been overlooked. Valve springs are an often overlooked engine part that should be replaced when overhauling a high mileage engine. Valve springs weaken with accumulated mileage and should be replaced whether or not a new camshaft, lifters and/or pushrods are being installed in an engine. Weak valve springs can allow the valves to float or bounce at high rpm, causing the engine to misfire or worse. Exhaust valves are another item that usually need to be replaced in high-mileage engines. Exhaust valves run hundreds of degrees hotter than intake valves, and consequently suffer the most wear. If a valve gets too hot, it may “burn” and lose its ability to seal the combustion chamber causing a compression leak, misfire and loss of power. One very important item that should be included with every engine parts sale is a tube of engine assembly lube. Protecting wear surfaces such as cam lobes, lifters and crankshaft journals and bearings with a layer of moly-based lube is critical for the initial breakin when an engine is fired up for the first time. CM


Fuel Handling Tech Tips from Delphi heck the condition of the fuel. Some contaminants are visible; problems such as the wrong fuel type (e.g., ethanol) are not.


If pressure is low and amperage is above specification, check: 1) Fuel filter 2) Fuel line restrictions 3) Possible defective fuel pump If pressure is low and amperage is below specification, check: 1) High circuit resistance, voltage side 2) High circuit resistance, ground side 3) Possible defective fuel pump The pressure relief valve must have pressure less than 750 KPA. Delphi units are tested at 18.8 percent lower in pressure and meet all OE specifications. Install the float arm onto the level sensor of the fuel module, where applicable. Failure to install the float arm will cause the fuel level sensor to operate incorrectly and create a customer complaint. Where applicable, detailed instructions on how to properly install the float arm onto the level sensor are included in the fuel module service kit. Examine the fuel tank and fuel module bucket for contamination. If contamination is found, the fuel tank should be drained and cleaned before installing the new part. Also look for rust inside the tank or bucket of the

fuel module, which indicates water in the fuel delivery system. Backed by a lifetime warranty, Delphi tests its fuel pumps to be durable up to 150,000 miles and in more than 20 percent ethanol so they deliver 100 percent satisfaction.

Learn more at


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Offer A Premium Oil Filter il filters keep the oil clean by trapping dirt, wear debris and other solid contaminants (such as soot in the case of diesel oil filters). The life of the filter depends on its filtering efficiency and dirt-holding capacity. Filtering efficiency actually increases over time because the more debris the media traps, the more efficient it becomes at trapping additional debris. The downside is that eventually the media becomes saturated with debris and plugs up. The restriction causes the filter’s bypass valve to open, preventing a catastrophic loss of oil pressure that would ruin the engine. Oil continues to flow past



June 2014 | Counterman

the filter, but it is unfiltered oil that carries contaminants. If the filter is not replaced, the concentration of contaminants in the oil will continue to increase, accelerating engine wear. Believe it or not, smaller particles cause more engine bearing wear than larger particles. Most wear is caused by particles in the 5 to 20 micron size range because that’s the minimum oil film clearance between many bearings and their journals. A standard oil filter that contains a pleated cellulose filter media is most efficient at trapping particles that are 25 to 30 microns and larger in size. It might trap 98 percent of

particles that are 25 microns and larger, but allow many of the smaller particles pass right through. It’s filtering capacity of particles 10 microns and smaller might only be 40 percent or less. A filter that uses a combination media made of cellulose with glass microfibers or other synthetic fibers creates a finer mesh that is more efficient at trapping smaller particles. Such a filter might trap up to 99 percent of particles down to 10 microns, and 95 percent of particles down to 5 microns. High-efficiency filters are a special class of oil filters that use even finer filtering media or a centrifugal (spinning) design to separate the

smallest wear particles (as small as 1 to 5 microns) from the oil. This type of filter is used primarily on large trucks and fleet vehicles to extend oil service intervals. The smaller the particles trapped by the filter media, the more the filter restricts oil flow. Consequently, most of these high-efficiency filters are either two-stage filters (combination fullflow/bypass in one can) or are mounted in a separate bypass circuit. Most of the oil flows through the primary fullflow filter while 5 to 10 percent is routed through the higher efficiency bypass filter. The high-efficiency bypass filter is slower to accomplish its work, but over time produces much cleaner oil that allows the oil to go much further between oil

changes (up to two to three times further) depending on the type of oil used (full synthetics and synthetic blends can go further than conventional oils). The extended service intervals of 5,000 miles to 7,500 miles (or higher) that most automakers now recommend for “normal” service on passenger cars and light trucks are based on two things: using a highquality motor oil and a high quality oil filter. Premium oil filters usually have higher efficiency ratings for particles in the 5 to 20 micron size range, and up to two to three times more dirt holding capacity than a standard economy oil filter. Most of today’s 5W-20 and 5W30 motor oils are actually synthetic

blends that combine higher-quality synthetic oils with the conventional base stock oil. The use of higher quality base stocks is necessary to meet the more demanding performance requirements of today’s engines. Because of this, most oils can outlast a standard oil filter — which means oil change intervals are really based on the life of the filter rather than the life of the oil. Upgrading to a premium-quality oil filter assures the filter will last as long as the oil and won’t plug before the next oil change. This is especially important with oil change intervals of 7,500 miles or longer, and with vehicles that use a service reminder light or oil quality sensor to indicate when the next oil change is needed. CM 51


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Shocks Not Replaced As Often As Needed hocks are not replaced as often as they should be because wear is not easy to measure. It’s not like a brake pad or brake rotor where the thickness can be measured to determine if the part is worn out. It’s more subjective with shocks. The gradual loss in ride control over time often passes unnoticed and is considered more of a ride comfort issue than a safety issue by many motorists. Yet tests have shown that weak shocks reduce handling stability, braking distances and overall driving safety. Another obstacle that hinders the sale of replacement shocks is the high cost of some of today’s sophisticated electronic dampers (the magnetic type as well as the adjustable variety). Some of these units can cost hundreds of dollars, and may only be available from a new car dealer. On some vehicles, electronic shocks can be replaced with less expensive conventional shocks, or in the case of original equipment air shocks, converted to standard shocks if the original dampers or air compressor have called it quits. These conversion kits are very popular for older luxury cars such as Buicks, Cadillacs and Lincolns with aging air ride suspensions that have gone flat. Maintaining good ride control across a broad range of driving conditions is important because not only does it improve ride quality but also handling stability and driving safety. By dampening the movements of the suspension, shocks and struts keep the tires in contact with the road surface. This prevents the tires from bouncing and skipping



June 2014 | Counterman

with every bump and dip in the road. Tires that do not stay in contact with the road can’t provide good traction, steering stability or braking friction. Too much tire bounce may even trigger the ABS system unnecessarily when braking. The issue of vehicle stability is especially critical with SUVs because of their higher center of gravity. When making sudden steering maneuvers or turning sharply, the body experiences a lot more roll than a typical passenger car. Although most newer SUVs are now equipped with stability control, if the shocks can’t keep the body under control, it may increase the potential for a rollover. Another reason for replacing shocks (even brand new ones) is to upgrade handling performance. Most shocks and struts today are pressurized with nitrogen gas to minimize foaming and shock fade. This also provides a firmer, more stable ride. In a twin-tube shock, 100 to 150 psi is typically used though some performance twintube shocks may contain as much as 250 psi inside. With monotube shocks and struts, a floating piston separates the gas from the oil. Because of the larger surface area, a much higher gas charge is normally used: typically 360 to 400 psi. Replacing the original equipment shocks or struts with high-performance aftermarket shocks/struts can improve handing agility. Adjustable dampers are even better because they allow the vehicle owner to dial in the desired firmness they want for changing driving conditions. CM


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

This typical hat-type disc brake assembly includes the hose located at the 12:00 o’clock position and the caliper at the 3:00 o’clock position. Hat-type rotors are often more easily replaced than resurfaced.

Brake Sales Mathematics n today’s highly competitive undercar markets, the mathematics of providing good value with an acceptable profit margin on routine brake service has left many of your independent dealer accounts struggling. The problem for most service dealers is that equipment, training and information costs are rising by the day. For this reason, routine brake service is a high-income producer for most dealer shops because it requires the

I 54

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least equipment, training and information resources to perform. The Basic Labor Charge It might surprise you, but replacing the whole disk brake assembly takes only slightly more time than just replacing pads. To illustrate, the brake caliper usually must be removed before the brake pads can be replaced. After the caliper is removed, the brake technician checks for worn brake rotors, calipers and brake hydraulic hoses. While the

pads and rotors can be replaced in an hour on many vehicles, an extra 30 minutes to an hour is required for bleeding the brake system when a hose or caliper is replaced. Even at that, the major variable in the brake repair is in the cost of the additional parts. Pad Math Numbers To keep it simple, we’ll confine our discussion of pad math numbers to the generic single-piston, floating caliper design. At the professional level, the most important part of brake repair is preventing comeback complaints like brake noise, vibration, pedal response, and wheel dusting. The simplest brake repair is the “pad slap,” which consists of removing and replacing the caliper to replace the brake pads. Remember that, at the professional level, the premium pad will vastly reduce the number of noise, pedal response, and dusting complaints. Mathematically, let’s say that a typical economy pad replacement Continued on page 58

M The Science Of Drive Shaft Repair

ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

s with all automotive technology, the art and science of drive shaft repair is rapidly changing. During the early years of the automobile, automotive engineers were confronted with the problem of transmitting power from a fixed position at the transmission to the rear axle, which is traveling through a vertical plane. They solved this problem on many early vehicles by using a “torque tube” drive shaft, which consists of a single universal joint mounted at the transmission and a torque tube solidly bolted to the rear axle. While the torque tube drive is a model of simplicity, it doesn’t fare well at high speeds


due to the vibration and harmonics problems caused by using a single universal joint. So, during the 1950s when higher vehicle speeds became the rule, the torque-tube drive train was phased out in favor of the current Hotchkiss design, which uses an “open” drive shaft that uses a universal joint mounted at either end to connect the transmission to the rear drive axle. Basic Technology When operating at an angle, the drive shaft begins to experience an acceleration/deceleration cycle inherent in the typical cross-type universal joint. Engineers canceled that acceleration/deceleration cycle of the front universal or

The “Do Not Replace Without Rebalancing” drive shaft label in this photo will dictate replacement rather than repair.


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“u-joint” by mounting a second ujoint at the drive axle end. To effectively cancel vibration, the rear u-joint must be aligned to the same clock position as the front u-joint. In addition, the total run-out or offcenter of the drive shaft shouldn’t exceed 10 one-thousandths of an inch (.010-inch). Generally, when the drive shaft run-out exceeds .010-inch the shaft will begin to produce a noticeable vibration at approximately 50 miles per hour or at approximately 2,000 drive shaft revolutions per minute. Market Changes Because modern engines, tires and suspension systems are designed Continued on page 59

MECHANIC CONNECTION Brake Math continued from 54 with labor retails at $120. The premium pad with labor retails at $190. The customer pays $70 more for better performance and your dealer makes an additional $30 profit, not to mention dealing with far fewer brake comeback complaints.

Brake Rotor Math Brake math is pretty simple on hat-type rotors because, in many cases, the labor times for measuring, cleaning and resurfacing the rotors is very close to their replacement cost. In addition, the new rotor will last much longer and produce fewer comebacks than a resurfaced rotor.

So, as an add-on sale, it’s more costeffective for your dealer to replace, rather than resurface, hat-type rotors. Mathematically, the customer might pay $95 retail for a pair of new rotors while your dealer makes a very quick and trouble-free $37 profit on the sale. Brake Caliper Math Brake caliper replacement requires bleeding the brake hydraulic system, which adds at least another 30 to 60 minutes of labor to the brake service operation. Nevertheless, if the vehicle owner complains of brake pulling or dragging, it’s time to consider replacing the calipers. And, while the brake hydraulics are open, it’s a good time to replace the brake hoses if they are hardened or weather-checked. Since the brake hoses can usually be installed at no extra labor charge, the customer pays only for the hoses. But, for the calipers, a typical mathematical example would be an extra $170 retail for a pair of calipers and an additional $70 profit for your dealer account. From The Service Bay Clearly, your professional technician might lose some price-point customers who insist on the lowest price at the expense of safety and performance. But we must also remember that we’re repairing brakes on vehicles with an original purchase in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Keep in mind also that, when discussing retail prices, most dealer shops sell parts at a 30 to 40 percent profit margin to help pay for acquisition/warranty costs and provide additional profit on the service. On the other hand, selling a complete brake service will increase profitability and drastically reduce brake performance comebacks, both of which will result in a much better-looking bottom line for you and your independent dealer shop. CM


June 2014 | Counterman

MECHANIC CONNECTION Driveshafts continued from 56 to operate very smoothly and quietly, drive shaft vibrations have become more objectionable than ever in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles. In years past, an average technician or talented amateur mechanic could successfully replace universal joints mounted in a conventional steel drive shaft. In some cases, the drive shaft yoke might become distorted during the process, which increased drive shaft vibration. But, in the vehicles of the day, that slight amount of vibration wasn’t generally noticed. Beginning with imported vehicles, drive shaft design began to become more compact and more therefore more difficult to service. While the universal joints could be replaced in many of these drive shafts, their installation required special drive shaft equipment to eliminate run-out and to re-balance the drive shaft if required. In addition, replacing ujoints without damaging the drive shaft yokes and tube in the popular aluminum drive shafts requires more tooling and expertise. In short, the new-generation drive shafts have become more timeconsuming to service and are more prone to producing expensive comeback complaints.

and far less likelihood of a vibration or noise complaint. In addition, the supplier’s warranty reduces the dealer’s risk and liability if a vibration or noise complaint arises. For that reason, it’s becoming easier and more profitable for repair shops to replace than repair. Because it’s a

bottom-line issue for both technician and supplier, it’s becoming more important for you, as the parts professional, to inform your wholesale or dealer account of your available drive shaft replacement options for remedying that annoying drive shaft vibration or noise complaint. CM

From The Service Bay It’s important to understand the relationship between time and money when servicing your wholesale or dealer accounts. Time in a modern production shop is valued in tenths of an hour. Given a modern two-piece drive shaft equipped with a center support bearing, is it more profitable to replace or repair? Considering corrosion damage and other variables, repair times can easily consume an hour or more. In contrast, replacing a Hotchkiss type of drive shaft with remanufactured or new generally requires about 30 minutes. Remanufactured or new provides a predictable profit 59


WORLDPAC Hosts Third Supplier And Training EXPO By Mary DellaValle

ith a sharp focus on supporting its customers through specialized training, WORLDPAC held its third Supplier & Training EXPO, May 15-18 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla. Fulfilling the theme, “Leading Through Education,” more than 500 hours of training were conducted over the three-day event. Business owners and technicians numbering 1,400 traveled from near and far — from 45 states, Canada and even Puerto Rico — to partake in the worldclass training for which WORLDPAC is known. That number is up from 1,000 attendees at its second event in 2012. A customized lineup of 120 instructor-led technical training sessions and business management classes were offered, also significantly up from 75 classes in 2012. With technology accelerating at every turn, so too has the need for advanced technical training so business owners can meet the service and repair challenges on an increasingly sophisticated vehicle fleet. That’s why many WORLDPAC customers closed their businesses on Friday to attend the event, realizing the value of being a part of something bigger that will pay dividends in shop productivity and profitability. Twothirds of the owners and techs were first-time attendees, and the



June 2014 | Counterman

overall sentiment was “how could they afford not to be there.” “Many business owners said ‘how fantastic it is that WORLDPAC would do this for us,” said Mario Recchia, WORLDPAC’s senior vice president – marketing, who added, “We believe in education, but if they don’t come, the event won’t happen. They’re making an investment in their time. “Focusing on the customer is an overused phrase, but it’s really evident here from the top down…all of our senior management is here,” continued Recchia. WORLDPAC customizes topics that are most suited to its customers’ needs, aimed at helping them better diagnose and service late-model vehicles, more of which they are adding to their broadening service portfolio. The classes are conducted by some of the industry’s most respected instructors, some traveling from Germany and the U.K., and includes many from the WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI) and its supplier community, as well as OEM suppliers like ZF, Denso, Bosch and Delphi. The vehicle-specific training, including classes on hybrids, is complemented by business management courses, which are often the first to sell out. “Training and hiring are our customers’ two most pressing challenges,” explained Recchia, “so our business-

related classes are very popular.” WORLDPAC is also first-to-market with training on newer models, like Fiat, the group says. Beyond the wealth of knowledge acquired from the wide array of training classes, owners and techs benefit from time spent networking and sharing best practices with their peers from all across North America. “The business owners’ world is five to 10 miles from their place of business,” explained Recchia. “Here, you can build relationships with owners from 45 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.” And that they did, especially during the heavily trafficked Supplier EXPO, held Friday and Saturday evening, featuring more than 100 international suppliers (up from 80 in 2012). Realizing that training is pivotal to their success, owners and technicians welcome educational venues of this caliber with open arms. WORLDPAC says it is committed to over-delivering on the training and education front. All of this fits within the realm of WORLDPAC’s value-proposition that focuses on delivering the “Right Part at the Right Time,” an ease of doing business spirit, listening to its customers, having a vested interest in their success, paying attention to the details and never resting on its laurels. Bottom line for WORLDPAC: It’s all about the customer. CM


Executive Interview with Ken Selinger, Aftermarket Director of Sales and Marketing, Akebono Brake Corp. cent made in the USA, which allows us to have proprietary control over quality.

By Mark Phillips Akebono was one of the first manufacturers to introduce 2021-compliant low-copper brake products on the market. Aside from the environmental benefits that the federal legislation seeks to achieve, what are the performance or other benefits that Akebono is seeing with these new formulations?

The primary benefits we have observed since 2005 when we first launched our low-copper technology formulations ahead of the rest of the market is delighted customers. Prior to launching, Akebono painstakingly validated our technology to ensure we continued to deliver on our value proposition to our customers: this meant continuing to definitively solve for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), solve for disc thickness variation (DTV) and of course, keeping customers’ wheels clean. In early 2013, Akebono announced an $82 million expansion of its Clarksville, Tenn., location. Could you bring us up to speed on that project?

Akebono continues to enjoy a significant partnership with all of our OEM customers. This investment represents Akebono’s commitment to continuously support the growth of our valued customers’ brands through all of our brake system technology expertise in not only friction but also in rotors, drums, hub assemblies and, of course, calipers. Due to our OEM customers embracing our advanced brake system design technology, this investment will create


June 2014 | Counterman

How does the aftermarket side of Akebono benefit from the company’s involvement in OE?

Ken Selinger

the needed capacity to support their demand for our products well into the next decade. Akebono is proud to manufacture both our OEM and aftermarket brake products in the USA. Since 1985, Akebono continues to expand our investment in the USA and employs a significant skilled American workforce. Today, Akebono employs over 3,600 associates in the USA and this number will grow over the coming years. Akebono was recently honored by Honda with the company’s Excellence in Quality award for supplying advanced brake and friction material products. Explain Akebono’s approach to manufacturing that resulted in this award.

With more than 85 years of brake design expertise, Akebono brakes are the most application-specific formulations in the market. The ultra-premium ceramic brake pads are OE-engineered to enhance the model-specific performance demanded by each vehicle. Akebono aftermarket brake pads are 100 per-

Akebono is the largest brake system and brake component supplier in North America to the OEMs by a significant margin. Akebono’s leading market share position provides us with technological knowledge and insight that our Aftermarket division is able to leverage to deliver the perfect, application-specific braking solution to our customers. What other trends is Akebono seeing in the brake category, in terms of being first to market with coverage, new formulations, etc.?

Once again, since we enjoy one of the strongest relationships and largest market shares with our OEM partners, Akebono works harmoniously with the OEMs on future vehicle designs and is therefore providing advanced insight and knowledge regarding these new vehicle configurations and their specific braking requirements. This allows Akebono to intensely focus our robust R&D resources to anticipate, innovate and design new technologies that fulfill not only the creative vision of our OEM customers, but to also continue to delight our customers with safe, best-in-class innovative braking solutions. This process enables Akebono to continue to be the definitive “Brake Experts” exclusively capable of delivering “The Essence of Braking.” CM

John Washbish..................65 President, CEO Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Roy Kent............................72 Chief Strategy Officer and President, New Business Development Federated Auto Parts Mike Lambert....................76 President Automotive Distribution Network Gary N. Martin ..................80 President, CEO Automotive Parts Associates Ron Pierce .........................84 General Manager AIM/Uni-Select

The Program Groups We talk to the leaders of program group distribution about their global plans, getting the right mix of parts on the shelf and the future of the groups. By Mark Phillips


June 2014 | Counterman



The Alliance’s John Washbish:

Offering A ‘Trifecta’ John Washbish President, CEO Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry have many shareholders who are engaged Association recently rebranded itself in businesses that are not “car care”-relatthe Auto Care Association, favoring ed, such as performance parts and accesthe phrase “auto care” over “aftermar- sories, heavy-duty, stationary engines, ket.” Will you and your group adopt pumps and generators and many more acthis new language? What are your tivities that are clearly aftermarket busithoughts on moving away from the nesses and not car care businesses. In those term “aftermarket?” specific trade instances, the aftermarket name will remain relevant and in place. The Alliance fully supports the move by It is very similar to the way we refer to our trade association to better and more “jobbers” when talking clearly communicate among those in the with those who may be trade, yet refer to the confused by or hold same entities as “parts conflicting views of stores” when talking to what the term “afterThe Aftermarket those outside our indusmarket” means. This Auto Parts Alliance try. We need to use a change is most critical in 2706 Treble Creek Ste. 100 similar filter as we tranthe association’s efforts San Antonio, TX 78258 sition and introduce the to communicate with Phone: 210-492-4868 term “car care” into our lawmakers on Capitol Fax: 210-492-4890 vocabulary describing Hill. Our legislators in our industry. Apply it where it makes sense their verve to serve often craft legislation that contains unintended consequences for and not try to force it where it does not. The Alliance will support and practice small business. If our association representatives can get to those critical issues rather the use of the jargon “car care industry” where it makes strategic sense and fits. If, than waste even a minute of the time, they over time, it becomes the prevailing way have with lawmakers explaining what the people choose to describe the industry in aftermarket is, the change is clearly the the way that “remanufactured” came to reright thing to do. Certainly, when it comes to consumers, bringing our association place “rebuilt” years ago, so be it. In the name in sync with our vehicle owner outmeantime, we will remain the Aftermarket reach “Be Car Care Aware” creates useful Auto Parts Alliance. synergies in our communications. That said, the term aftermarket as “trade The aftermarket truly has become a jargon” is firmly rooted in our collective globally-reaching industry. How much a business culture. It is the business we are part of your group will be represented in and have so called it for more than a by stores or warehouses outside the century. As an industry we must be careful United States? not to become ensnared in the all too comThe Alliance itself has long been a multimon practice of the day, politically correct national group. Today, 33 percent of our 52 speech. “Auto care” is an important and North American shareholders are in Mexico (11) and Canada (six). What has made apt description for what we do. However, us a truly global group and is now facilitatit is not a synonym for “aftermarket.” We 65

PROGRAM GROUPS // Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance

ing global expansion is our joint membership venture with Temot International in Europe. Together, we are the most globally connected and focused program group in the international marketplace today. With 44 members in 40 countries, AAPA and Temot will sell nearly US $8 billion worth of parts in 2014. We have hundreds of distribution centers selling over $8 billion annually to servicing hundreds of thousands of technicians on four continents. This powerful base fosters global group growth in two ways: First, it is a strong attraction for new members in new countries; Second, it provides resources for start-ups if and where that’s the right approach. We currently are in discussions with potential shareholder members in both Central and South America. The North American aftermarket is mature and nearly flat. The real growth opportunities for us are in foreign markets and you will see our global presence expanding in the years ahead. 66

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How can eCommerce be used as a strategic benefit to program groups? Any business that is today not making robust use of technology as a point of competitive advantage is simply pretending to be a player. As with our global presence, the Alliance is leading the way in eCommerce enablement in the aftermarket. The centerpiece of our eCommerce initiative is MyPlaceForParts, a wholly owned customer lookup and order entry technology that enables the user to lookup any part (application, supplies, accessories, tools, universal, etc), any place, 24x7 on any device. MyPlace Mobile continues to lead with functionality such as the fastest, most user-friendly VIN scan app for Android and Apple smartphone and tablet devices. How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? For the distributors of auto parts, there is no greater challenge that keeping up with parts prolifera-

tion. As OE makes, models, platforms and engines expand and grow, the SKUs to repair them grow, inventory expands and turns decrease. It can sap the very health of the business in reduced efficiency and profitability and increased working capital. The only effective method of dealing with today’s proliferation is the deployment of progressive technology to predict how to have the right parts when and where the customer needs them. The Alliance has established an industry-leading track record in this area as evidenced by the group and its members winning the coveted Polk Inventory Efficiency Award five of the nine times it has been given and for the past four consecutive years. We provide our members with the most comprehensive technology tools available in the automotive aftermarket for inventory and supply chain management. That’s why Alliance members have made monumental strides in improving fill rates and inventory turns all while lowering capital requirements. Our Alliance Technology Suite (ATS), which consists of the Alliance Data Warehouse, our own Inventory Optimization Tool, our Supplies, Accessories and Tools catalog and MyPlaceForParts, enables our members to monitor and manage their inventories from back to front in their own operations like no one else can. The results and accolades speak for

PROGRAM GROUPS // Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance

themselves. Improved turns, increased sales, improved use of capital and four consecutive Polk awards. What particular attributes about your group give you a leg up over the competition? The three questions you asked previously effectively sum up the substantive advantages that the Alliance enjoys over other program groups; 1) our global affiliations, 2) our eCommerce enablement and 3) our inventory and supply chain technology superiority. This “trifecta” is something no other group can boast. No other group can talk about membership affiliations in 43 countries around the globe. All but a few can say they have their own eCommerce solution that is integrated with the major shop management systems. And in the area of inventory and supply chain management, no one can say that they have won the Polk Inventory Efficiency Award for four consecutive years running. Beyond the three areas you mentioned, I think it is worth noting our procurement and brand development/management expertise. Having come from the supplier side, I have observed that most groups approach product procurement as a “buying” function. That is, the process of line selection is reduced to who can get me the lowest price. While gaining cost efficiencies is important to the Alliance, our product procurement process is far more comprehensive. A few years back, we evolved our buying practices to bring more category management and brand management into the process. This has enabled us to better align our customer’s product needs and expectations with our stocking requirements. In some cases, that has resulted in consolidating multiple grades of products with a


June 2014 | Counterman

single supplier. In other cases, we have introduced multiple brands into a single category of products. In still others, we have launched our own exclusive national brand of product. However, in every case, the decisions we made based on what customers want and need, not just on what makes our shareholders the most margin. And in the end, when you keep customers happy, they reward you with their business. In addition, the Alliance is a group of kindred independent businesses in both size and focus. Our membership is comprised of the blue chip distributors from around North America. Check any roster showing the top independent distributors and you will see that the Alliance dominates that list. Even our smaller distributors are powerhouses in their individual markets. Other groups seem to grant membership to drive headcount and take any comers or any size or shape. At the Alliance, we believe that membership should be reserved for those businesses with the vision and acumen to dominate in their marketplaces Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? How will they look in 10 years? As a veteran of nearly 50 years in the business (remember I started when I was still in the womb) I have witnessed the birth, evolution and maturation of program groups in the aftermarket. As I reflect on your question, I am struck by how similar the business is to what it was years ago and at the same time it is so very different. Let me explain. Groups are similar in that they were formed to enable relatively smaller independent businesses to gain access to efficiencies and capabilities that were beyond their

reach individually. This made it possible for them to compete with larger more vertically controlled businesses. That is essentially unchanged. What has changed is what business efficiencies and capabilities the individual members are looking for. Ten years ago, groups were focused on purchasing and programs; how they could buy better from suppliers and sell more to customers through marketing and promotions. Today, I think there has been a shift. As I said earlier, the Alliance has moved from a traditional purchasing orientation toward a category management/brand management approach to product procurement. That is a trend that will continue with us and increasingly with others. The most significant changes however have been in the area of technology. During my short fiveyear tenure here at the Alliance, the size of the IT department has increased by 466 percent. It has become the largest department in our headquarters operation. Why? Because today any business that is not making robust use of technology is not positioned well for the long haul. The Alliance will continue to invest in the competitive advantages that can only be realized through a pioneering approach to technology enablement in every aspect of our business. In terms of what is ahead, I believe it is clear that the natural business forces of consolidation, merger and acquisition will continue to impact the market. Going forward technology enablement will be a major driver toward a marketplace with fewer but bigger groups. Following that logic could lead to speculation that in 10 years there may perhaps be only one “independent program group.” CM

Association President and/or CEO

Private Brand

PROGRAM GROUP AIM Group 1155 Roberts Blvd., Suite 175 Kennesaw, GA 30144 Phone: 770-386-4750 Fax: 770-386-4833 2706 Treble Creek San Antonio, TX 78258 Phone: 210-492-4868 Fax: 210-492-4890

Ron Pierce Phone: 770-386-4750

Ron Pierce


Jon Owens 210-861-1008

John R. Washbish Parts Master

APA — Automotive Parts Associates Inc.

10551 Lackman Rd. Lenexa, KS 66219 Phone: 913-310-9250 Fax: 913-310-9255

Gary Martin

Gary Martin

Professionals’ Choice Auto Parts

Automotive Distribution Network —

3085 Fountainside Dr., Ste. 210 Bob Barstow Germantown, TN 38138 Phone: 901-682-9090 Fax: 901-682-9098

Mike Lambert

Parts Plus, Auto Pride, Auto Saver, Auto Star, Trust

Group Name


Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance

Parts Plus, IAPA, Auto Pride

Address,Phone & Fax

Contact Information


2635 East Millbrook Rd. Raleigh, NC 27604 Phone: 919-573-2500 Fax: 919-573-2501

Shipman Northcutt 919-573-3785

Ron Cannon


Engine Pro/Engine Parts Group

4891 Independence St. Ste. 155 Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 Phone: 303-424-3200 Fax: 303-424-4999

Don Weber

Don Weber

Engine Pro/Engine Pro Performance

Federated Auto Parts

508 Greenville Ave. Staunton, VA 24401 Phone: 540-885-8460 Fax: 540-885-7612

Rusty Bishop

Larry Pavey


HDA Truck Pride

608 Lambert Pointe Drive Building C Hazelwood, MO 63042 Toll Free: 800-432-2033 Fax: 314-291-1018 2999 Circle 75 Pkwy. Atlanta, GA 30339 Phone: 770-956-2200 Fax: 770-956-2201

Tina Alread

Don Reimondo

Dan Askey


National PRONTO Association

204 N. Dooley, Ste. 300 Grapevine, TX 76051 Phone: 817-430-9449 Fax: 817-430-9559

Murray Sullivan

Bill Maggs



2404 S. Grand Blvd. Ste. 200 Pearland, TX 77581 Phone: 281-485-9908 Fax: 281-485-4101

Steve Upton

Steve Upton



3550 Busbee Parkway Ravine 3, Ste. 400 Kennesaw, GA 30144 Phone: 770-701-5000 Fax: 770-701-5001

Brent Windom Phone: 770-701-5000

Richard G. Roy

Auto Extra


n/a 2,000+

Technician, APW (Alliance Parts Jobber, WD, Hands-on and Digital Warehouse) (Alliance University)

Training Programs


National Accounts


Member Insurance/ Benefits


Credit Card

Combined Sales (at Retail)


No. of Stores Serviced


No. of WD Locations

No. of WD Members

National Warranty

National Advertising/ Marketing Support

Store Management Software

Installer Management Software

Dedicated Factory Rep.

Installer Marketing Program

Trade Advertising, Signage

Parts Consolidation Program



Jobber, WD, Technician

Certified Yes Service Centers

Scholarships, Turnkey 53 CRM Support, Store and Shop Marketing Support, 24-mo./ National POP Program, 24K Sweepstakes Programs miles


Professionals’ Choice Tech Centers


Incentive Trips, Merchandise, Speedway Sweepstakes, Scratch & Win Games



2000+ n/a


Jobber, WD, Technician

Parts Plus Car Care Center, Auto Service Experts

Network Connect

TV & Radio, Trade, Print Advertising, Direct Mail, Social Media, NHRA Sponsorship



2,500+ n/a


Jobber, WD, Technician, Business

TECH-NET Professional Auto Service




2,600+ n/a

Jobber, Technician, CARQUEST Global Sourcing





15,000 n/a



Federated Car Care


National & Local TV, Radio & Print Ads, Motorsports




Federated Co-Man Warehouse

Jobber, WD, Technician

Nat. Fleet Pgms., Truck Service Experts (More than 400 U.S., Canada locations)


Signage, Wearables, Trade Ads, Vehicle Graphics, Forms, Merchandise



NAPA AutoCare NAPA TAMS Center NAPA TRACS Mitchell OnDemand

Print, TV, Radio Sponsorships Marketing Programs




PRONTO Smart Yes Choice

Nat’l Parts & Labor Warranty, Rdsde. Assist. Prgrm., ASE Remb., Direct Mail, Promotions



1,500+ n/a

TruTech Car Care Centers

POP, ASE, Line Cards, Promotions, Direct Mail, Advertising, Signage, Incentives,Wearables, Internet Marketing




TV & Radio, Trade and Print Ads, Direct Mail, Merchandising, Signage, Wearables, Vehicle Graphics




Auto Service Plus, SAX


Co-Op Advertising, National & Local TV, Radio & Print Ads National Ads, Marketing Pgrms., Sponsorship of Auto Racing Sanctioning Assoc.




WD, Technician Technical Training & Business/Shop Management Training, Regulatory NAPA Balkamp Jobber, Technician


Jobber, WD, Technician


TruStar Distribution Center


$1.8 billion


Jobber, WD, Technician, Alfred State University Partnership



Collaboration Is Key At Federated, Says Roy Kent Roy Kent Chief Strategy Officer and President, New Business Development Federated Auto Parts


The Automotive Aftermarket Industry tages for our current members to pursue Association recently rebranded itself this in a major fashion. If our members or the Auto Care Association, favoring supplier partners see a benefit in increasing the phrase “auto care” over “aftermar- the focus outside North America, we will ket.” Will you and your group adopt respond to their direction and increase the this new language? What are your effort on their behalf. thoughts on moving away from the term “aftermarket?” How can eCommerce We have always felt be used as a strategic that the term “aftermarbenefit to program ket” is an industry term groups? that is not well underWow, in so many ways! stood by consumers. We eCommerce provides use terms such as “Car our members with many Care Centers” for our benefits such as an effishop partners and alcient means of commuFederated Auto Parts nicating with customers, ways try to communicate 508 Greenville Ave. in a manner that will suppliers and each othStaunton, VA 24401 maximize understanding er. It provides informaPhone: 540-885-8460 and effectiveness. We fultion that streamlines Fax: 540-885-7612 ly support the new assocustomer relationships ciation name and feel that it will definitely in a variety of areas. It allows our cusadd to the understanding of what our intomers to improve vehicle maintenance dustry is all about. Promoting “auto care” is and repair procedures and helps simplify a natural for our members and we will the communication of information, such as work to support not only the new name but catalog data, interchanges and specificaalso the concept of taking care of vehicles. tions. Also, eCommerce provides data to There is no doubt that this is a solid upenhance inventory planning, analyze sales grade and one the entire industry should be trends and identify additional sales and diexcited about supporting. rect marketing opportunities to move excess inventory. In short, eCommerce allows The aftermarket truly has become a groups like Federated to support all conglobally reaching industry. How much of stituents, efficiently and effectively comyour group will be represented by stores municating and transacting business through collaboration. or warehouses outside the United States? While we do have members outside the What particular attributes about your U.S. and serve some global markets, it has group give you a leg up over the compenot been a priority focus. Federated exists tition? for the benefit of our membership and We believe the strength of our group is in while we continue to look at global marthe collaborative sharing of ideas, insights kets, we have not found sufficient advanContinued on page 97

June 2014 | Counterman



The Network Offers ‘A Pathway’ To Help Distributors Grow, Mike Lambert Says Mike Lambert President, Automotive Distribution Network


The Automotive Aftermarket Industry and not just a continental U.S.-based firm. Association recently rebranded itself Some of our members also sell into Central the Auto Care Association, favoring and South America so we have expanded the phrase “auto our reach. The global ascare” over “aftermarpect of our company ket.” Will you and deals more with the supyour group adopt pliers we use from this new language? around the world. What are your thoughts on moving How can eCommerce away from the term be used as a strategic “aftermarket?” benefit to program I believe the term groups? “auto care” is a better Providing eCommerce description of our insites to members is a dustry for the outside great opportunity to add world. The term aftervalue to our member market, to non-autodistributors. There are motive people, creates many costs that can be more questions than it shared making things answers. We will cerpossible that individual tainly use it when discompanies could never cussing and describing do on their own. Like our industry to others. our recently released LiFor all of us who have cense plate lookup feaAutomotive grown up in the “afterture on WebShop, and Distribution Network the mobile site with Vin market,” it is a single 3085 Fountainside Dr. Ste. 210 word that simply deScan technology. This is Germantown, TN 38138 scribes our segment of why our group has the industry. I am sure braced eCommerce, proPhone: 901-682-9090 we will continue to use viding a central service Fax: 901-682-9098 it internally. to our members for a decade now. The aftermarket truly has become a globally reaching industry. How much of What particular attributes about your your group will represented by stores or group give you a leg up over the compewarehouses outside the United States? tition? We have just signed up our first 12 Parts The Network recognized that all auto Plus stores in Puerto Rico. We also have parts distributors are not the same but added three new members in Mexico and most have some very common needs. We we have members in Canada. This at least have a place for almost any distribution makes us a northern hemisphere company company under the Network umbrella.

June 2014 | Counterman

PROGRAM GROUPS // Automotive Distribution Network

We have numerous services that we can cost-effectively provide to all of our members. We provide a pathway to help them grow. How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? We provide our members with the most robust demand forecasting tool in the Industry. Network Intelligence leverages historical failure rates by part type, vehicles in operation at the zip code level updated


June 2014 | Counterman

quarterly, and local sales information. Product managers who know their customers and the local market remain essential and give our members an advantage over the chain stores. Network Intelligence provides these product managers the information and tools they need to succeed at what they do. Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? How will they look in 10 years?

Yes, they do for many reasons. First the makeup of many WDs has shifted from predominately three-step to more two-step. This is a natural result of a declining independent jobber base. Technology has really reshaped what we do and how we do it. The IT staff of most program groups is the largest segment of the company. In 10 years, there will be fewer distributors as consolidation continues. CM



APA — A Diversity Of Business Models Gary N. Martin President & CEO, Automotive Parts Associates


The Automotive Aftermarket Industry strategic benefit to program groups? Association recently rebranded itself eCommerce is a clear strategic advantage the Auto Care Association, favoring to those groups and entities that make it the phrase “auto care” over “aftermar- part of their business environment. It is no ket.” Will you and your group adopt secret that eCommerce transactions are this new language? What are your here to stay and are growing by leaps and thoughts on moving away from the bounds. The barriers to entry for eComterm “aftermarket?” merce trade are miniscule, thus making this method of transacting business relaThe actual answer remains to be seen, and tively easy regardless of that’s primarily because entity size. There are of how the our marketmultiple benefits for place reacts to changes users on both sides of more than anything else. the spectrum in the While I understand the eCommerce transaction reasoning and thought Automotive Parts when considering the process behind the Association customer and the merchange, our industry is 10551 Lackman Road chant. Business transacslow to adopt changes of Lenexa, KS 66219 tions are no longer this kind. The effort and Phone: 913-310-9250 Fax: 913-310-9255 bound by the traditional process of “rebranding” geographic constraints will take time. It will be we have been used to dealing with. It is easier to effect this change in the halls of much simpler to broaden the scope of Congress, because they do not have the institutional memory around the term “after- goods and services offered by this medium than the traditional method. Transaction market.” So it comes down to managing costs go down when a well-constructed site the concept of internal and external marand business plan are engaged in because keting of this rebranding within our own of the automation of the process from beindustry walls. I do not see a ground swell ginning to end. of activity going on inside the aftermarket to abandon the historic terminology, but Automotive Parts Associates (APA Group) What particular attributes about your will support the initiative as we see the group give you a leg up over the compeneed and momentum growing. tition? The diversity of business models within The aftermarket truly has become a APA is a clear differentiator for our group. globally reaching industry. How much of We have large mega-distributors that paryour group will be represented by stores ticipate in the traditional three- and twoor warehouses outside the United step market, and then we have the States? specialty market players that cater to the Approximately 10 percent of APA’s busisurging import specialty parts marketness is represented by interests outside of place. The overall market place continues the United States. to constrict at all channels, and being overly invested or involved in one discipline or market strategy puts anyone at a disadvanHow can eCommerce be used as a

June 2014 | Counterman

PROGRAM GROUPS // Automotive Parts Association

tage today. APA is well-known for its appeal to all markets and business models and we are not fearful of engaging all segments of the market by welcoming those various business models into our fold. How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? APA has one of the best, if not the best, business intelligence systems in the market today. Our membership is increasingly taking advantage of the tools we have made available to the membership through this system to understand what parts are being sold out the door and hung on the car in real time. This information, which is just a portion of what’s available to


June 2014 | Counterman

members, provides the tools to make clear decisions about what to stock across all product lines. At the end of the day, we all must know what to put on the shelves and when to do that. Data Solutions is our business intelligence tool and it simply works for our membership by providing a clear advantage over competition. Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? How will they look in 10 years? Groups absolutely look different today than in previous years. The advent of evolving information technology streams places all groups in the realm of a height-

ened competitive environment. The challenge of integrating these technologies into the business places of group members or shareholders, traditionally called “independents,� is at the forefront of what drives the growth and effectiveness of groups. This will continue to evolve at a rapid pace and there will be little time or space for those who do not keep up with that pace. Consolidation within the ranks of group entities will likely continue to some degree, but without a doubt, the driver behind success will be those groups that adopt the technology that provides the cutting-edge business intelligence for group members to stay ahead of the competition. CM



AIM Makes the Right Tools Available, Says Ron Pierce Ron Pierce General Manager, AIM/Uni-Select

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry securing new members. Said another way, Association recently rebranded itself we use it for websites, e-cataloging and the Auto Care Association, favoring electronic data exchange. Business-to-busithe phrase “auto care” over “aftermar- ness for buying and selling. Our group also ket.” Will you and your group adopt uses it in conjunction with “snail mail” this new language? What are your through updates, newsletters, promotions, thoughts on moving away from the etc. with our members. And, today the seterm “aftermarket?” curity of business transactions is a must, as we I believe it is time to rereceive and transmit brand. So many aspects funds from our office to of our business and the all business partners. world have changed eCommerce is a way of since the term “aftermarlife today, and much ket” was first used. Yes, more than a benefit for we will adopt and emour business. brace the change. It is vital we speak as one voice AIM as an industry and ultiWhat particular attrib1155 Roberts Blvd., Suite 175 mately to the end-user. utes about your group Kennesaw, GA 30144 give you a leg up over Phone: 770-386-4750 The aftermarket truly the competition? Fax: 770-386-4833 has become a globallyWe offer a number of reaching industry. How much of your different ways to buy through our group. group will represented by stores or A member can buy direct from our venwarehouses outside the United States? dor partners through our approved lines. We always strive to reach out globally to We also offer a Co-Man option as a conbring in new members to our group. At venience that highlights ease of ordering present, it is a top priority to increase this and competitive pricing. And, with our segment of membership. There are so relationship through Uni-Select our memmany avenues to reach out with the everbers have quick access to Uni-Select’s naincreasing level of available technology. tional network of warehouses or they can Our vendor partners have global reach and enjoy the many benefits of EDS (Enour group has benefited from working hanced Drop Ship.) A great number of with them. Let’s just say with Uni-Select members buy through our group in a vaowning the group that at least 20 percent to riety of ways and this has truly given 30 percent of our group is represented out- them a leg up in this competitive business side the United States. environment. How can eCommerce be used as a strategic benefit to program groups? I no longer see it as a benefit, but a total tool in maintaining our membership and


June 2014 | Counterman

How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? Obviously, this is an on-going issue in our industry. We work with our vendor

PROGRAM GROUPS // AIM partners and assist our members to maintain a ready line of communication with all the avenues listed above concerning eCommerce. Inventory that doesn’t sell or turns slowly hurts everyone. Communicating and making inventory available through the group that another member can use is a service that has met with some success in our group. Giving our members every tool available to make the correct buying decisions and proper in-


June 2014 | Counterman

ventory is always a top priority of our office. Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? How will they look in 10 years? The short answer is, yes, they look and are different than 10 years ago. What hasn’t changed over the last 10 years in our business? The very competitive nature and changing business environment with a shrinking

member base to draw from has its challenges. The concept of mergers in program groups wasn’t around 10 years ago. Consolidations on the manufacturer side are happening more rapidly than a decade ago, also. Looking forward, we see all of the above picking up pace. Program groups will be larger in size and scope. To thrive and survive the strong must continue to evolve with the proper mix of members, vendors and programs. CM



Pronto Promises ‘LaserLike’ Focus, Says Maggs Bill Maggs President and CEO, National Pronto Association


The Automotive Aftermarket Industry percentage goal – we believe our growth in Association recently rebranded itself all of North America will continue. the Auto Care Association, favoring the phrase “auto care” over “aftermar- How can eCommerce be used as a ket.” Will you and your group adopt strategic benefit to program groups? this new language? What are your We use eCommerce in many ways and its thoughts on moving away from the development will continue to grow. From term “aftermarket?” cataloging, ordering, invoicing, advance ship We will adopt and support the rebranding notices, statements and payments. Our ineffort. This is a long-term dustry is utilizing techprocess and the sooner nology faster today than we start incorporating ever before and Pronto “auto care” as our indusmembers are embracing try and consumer focus these advantages. we will be able to spend more time talking about What particular attribNational Pronto the business and issues ... utes about your group Association versus what is the “aftergive you a leg up over market” in many converthe competition? 204 N. Dooley – Suite 300 sations. Will the word Pronto has a laser-like Grapevine, Texas 76051 “aftermarket” be refocus in several areas of (p) 817-430-9449 moved from the industry the business and oper(f) 817-430-9559 forever? Time will tell. ates very efficiently. We (p) 800-477-6686 The other great aspect of don’t try to be the rebranding is that it thing to everybody. Our not only helps explain main areas of focus are: www.prontosmartchoice what our industry is products, marketing about, but removes a negand technology. We ative connotation of what velop programs that the word “aftermarket” come from the membermay mean to people outside of our business. ship and board of directors. With a focus on listening to what the members want The aftermarket truly has become a and not telling them what they need, we globally reaching industry. How much of achieve a lot of support. With 92 members of your group will represented by stores you will not make everyone happy all the or warehouses outside the United time but I will let our record speak for itStates? self. I believe one of the areas that gives We currently have eight members in Mexius an advantage is the way we manage co, three members in Canada and one in the members’ money. We look for a rePuerto Rico. We continue to look for disturn-on-investment in all of our programs. We pay members rebates on a tributors in these countries that fit our membership profile where we can add val- weekly basis with accurate reporting. The most important aspect of a group is in ue to their companies as well as our venfact the members themselves. Pronto dor partners. It’s hard to give a specific

June 2014 | Counterman

PROGRAM GROUPS // National Pronto Association

members are like family – each membership meeting is like a family reunion with members visiting about business issue and problems – and what must be considered for the future success of their companies and the group. How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? Pronto members use many technologies to manage their inventory mix. From our data warehouse information, vendor inventory programs and by utilizing the Epicor Vista program. All of these are available through Pronto.

Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? How will they look in 10 years? Sure they do...nothing stands still. They are different in the numbers, services and direction. In 10 years, while I can’t speak for the other groups, I believe our planning and direction will keep Pronto at the top of the list. We have a very active board of directors and membership. Let’s face it, the distributor base will see significant consolidation in the next 10 years because one of the largest issues facing our in-

dustry is the lack of succession planning. Every group will have members adding locations ... and probably losing some as well. We work extremely hard at Pronto to exceed the needs of our membership as the market changes. What keeps us on focus? Pronto has a tremendously experienced staff. Everyone on the team knows and lives by the fact that “Pronto exists solely for the benefit of its members,” and we have operated successfully with that mantra for many years and will continue to do so in the future. CM

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June 2014 | Counterman



Where Is Everybody Going? recently got an email from a reader that made me think a little bit. “Do you have any good ideas on how to keep technicians?” While the question was specifically about techs, I get the same question about counterpersons. Counterpeople are the face of our business and vital to our success. My answers to the gentleman about the techs also applies for counterpersons. So here are my thoughts. First, let’s get the No. 1 complaint off the table: compensation. Remember, the market sets the rate. If you try to discount that rate, you’ll lose people constantly. It’s important to evaluate your market regularly and have a competitive compensation plan. Don’t do what you hear people are doing three states away or in a different market. Your business model needs to include wages and benefits that are competitive in your area. Evaluate your employees’ skill sets and experience and pay them accordingly. If you don’t, you’ll never get past that first hurdle of retaining good talent. The next issue is a little less clear. Since most of us out there are Baby Boomers, it’s even grayer. We were taught that we were lucky to have a job and should be grateful for a paycheck. That’s all changed. Today,

I Don’t do what you hear people are doing three states away or in a different market. Your business model needs to include wages and benefits that are competitive in your area.


June 2014 | Counterman

it’s, “Is my store a good place to work? What type of environment is it?” Start by looking at the counter. This is as good as it gets in most stores. If you see things you don’t like, it’s only worse in other areas. Remember, you set the example in the store. If you let things slide, so will your employees. This sometimes leads to a not-so-good-looking environment. Your employees spend at least onethird of their lives at work and want it to be a desirable place to be. What’s the demeanor of the store? If co-workers are not nice to each other, how will they be to customers? It’s hard to turn off a bad personality. Do people get along, and does it foster a team environment? If not, people get petty and riffs will be ongoing. Do the workers feel valued? Positive reinforcement and a thank you go a long way. Do your people have the training and equipment they need to do their job to the best of their abilities? This is one area many owners overlook because it takes an investment to stay current. Remember, an updated item of technology can many times pay for itself quickly in efficiency gains. On the training subject, if a counterperson is well-trained and confident, he or she will be more efficient at serving the customer. It really starts with us. People stay with organizations they like. Of course, they have to have the right skill set for their job, but we need to ensure they have a good environment to do that work in. It’s a fact that some will go just because they’re nomadic individuals. You can’t stop this behavior. The others who are good need to stay in our organizations. Be sure you’re paying attention and asking the question, “Is this a good place to work?” Remember, people are our most valuable resource. CM


OUNTER-TECH By Mandy Aguilar

Mobile Document Scanning Made Easy The one paper habit that still plagues my days are those Post-it notes!

Mandy Aguilar is a regional vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based The Parts House.


n this day and age of digital communications, we still remain big consumers of good old paper. The U.S. per capita, per person, per year consumption of paper piles up to an unimaginable 520 pounds, according to the EPA. In our daily lives, paper is with us from the early bathroom rituals to late-night readings, and throughout the day we commit pen to paper to write our notes and messages like modern day scribes. There is a drive to go paperless everywhere; however, I have been searching for a totally “paperless auto parts counter professional” for years to no avail. We all jot down countless notes with VIN, year/make/model info, part numbers and all the phones for every delivery food service within five miles of our stores. One of the most popular promo trinkets our customers ask for are our yearly desk calendars. Why, in this age of digital calendars, are these humongous, throwback paper notebooks so popular with our people? I’ve learned that they don’t really use them as calendars per se, but as permanent records of all of their notes throughout the year; a 12-page, 2-inch by 3-inch notebook attached yearly to their desks. I’m happy to say that in my paper addiction 12-step program I ditched the desktop calendar several years ago. I do use a wall calendar, but do not write any notes on it; as calendars go, I have gone completely paperless by using Google Calendar on my computers, phones and tablets. When in comes to long-form note taking, I have also shed paper aside and gone mostly digital using a number of apps on my iPad. The one paper habit that still plagues my days are those Post-it notes! I have a pop-up Post-It dispenser, and have reloaded new


June 2014 | Counterman

packs of color sticky notes onto to it for more than two decades. I once read that 3M scientists found the not-so-sticky adhesives used on Post-It notes by a mistake. They were actually looking for formulations that will create strong and durable adhesive bonds; their blunder turned into one of the biggest consumer products ever. The biggest problem with paper is that we discard it quickly. Additionally, it is hard to index; while the mnemonic power of notewriting is huge, if you actually forget what you wrote, you need to locate the paper with the note to access that precious bit of information that failed to imprint on your cerebral cortex. Several Post-It notes I’ve used have the lifespan of a Mayfly and go into the trash bin sometimes within hours of receiving a few lines of ink; the ones piled up stuck to my computer screen do me no good when I can’t find the one I need. The other drawback here is mobility; notes stuck to my computer are stuck back in the office while I’m out on the road trying to sell parts. One day while holding my smartphone and searching for a forgotten Post-it, it dawned on me that I could just take a picture of it and carry the info everywhere I went. That day a new habit was born: take pictures of your notes and carry them on your phone. The app revolution on smartphones have taken my habit to a new level. There are two apps that I now use on automatic pilot to manage my Post-It note habit: ScanBot and Evernote. ScanBot ( This is a recent addition to my app library, but I’m using it quite a bit. There are severContinued on page 99

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Visit Mandy’s blog:

PROGRAM GROUPS // Federated Auto Partsline Continued from page 72 and innovations. Federated members are selfless in their approach to helping the sum of the total be as strong as possible. This may be in sharing processes, ideas or experiences in the market. This can be areas where cost and inventory efficiencies are leveraged. One example is our member-owned Co-Man warehouse that receives tremendous support from all members and a large number of suppliers. Another is eCommerce activities, including our in-house electronic catalog and enhanced supply chain program that allow sharing of the highest-quality information. Collaboration also occurs with the Federated Car Care program

where members share ideas, approaches and improvement initiatives. Whatever the area, our members are willing to work together for the common good of all. Individual member success is contingent today on group collaboration and our members are dedicated to this process. How does your group get the right mix of parts on the shelf? We believe that inventory management is a combination of focus and execution. Members need as much information as possible on vehicle population, replacement rates, proper pricing, brands, quality levels, national and regional sales and a host of other input. This informa-

tion is then applied to local markets where individual expertise on area demand and customer needs are added together with supplier input and other distilled data sets so that inventory can be tailored for each market. It is definitely not an exact science, but there is more information available today than ever before, providing insight and support for managing hundreds of thousands of items on a daily basis. Do program groups look different today than they did, say 10 years ago? If so, how? First of all, there are fewer groups and that is a significant change. Those that have survived have found new ways to add value for their membership. Certainly the past 10 years has provided an opportunity to address new challenges such as exploding inventory proliferation, new retail competitors, consolidation of customers, national accounts, eCommerce and data needs. Other issues include new efficiency methods such as bar coding, direct import and working capital challenges. Tools have been developed to help us address some of these challenges, and programs such as our Co-Man warehouse and data sharing initiatives have accelerated in importance. Program groups are much more involved today with associations like the Auto Care Association and AWDA. These organizations work on our members’ behalf to address such issues as evolving technology and the impact of government policies concerning our industry. The bottom line is that program groups like Federated exist today to help members leverage their collective strength in many areas that were not as significant 10 years ago. If we do our job correctly, there will be many new areas to explore 10 years from now. CM 97


ADVERTISE HERE! Tom Staab Classified Sales Mgr. 330-670.1234 ext. 224 Fax 330.670.0874 •

COUNTER-TECH Continued from page 96 al mobile scan apps out there; but, this one does a few tricks that have made it my favorite. Using your phone’s camera, the app creates a high-quality scan of any document and saves it as a PDF file that you can easily email to yourself or, better yet, synchronize it to several cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote or OneDrive. The resolution is amazing at 200-plus DPI which guarantees the usability of the saved file. The real magic of this app is that it takes the picture for you! It detects the edges of the document so all you have to do is hold the phone over the document to be scanned, follow the real-time edge outline guidance the apps provides and it will quickly take the picture for you, ensuring you won’t move the camera by having to press the

shutter with your finger. Furthermore, it will automatically correct the document’s perspective to produce a straightened document before it gets converted to a PDF file — no more skewed pics that cut off the edges of the document. By the way, for a funny interpretation of an askew webpage, simply search the word “askew” on Google and drop me a line if it gets you a laugh! Evernote ( Saving a scanned document to a PDF is just half the job; the magic of mega note-saving app Evernote takes this to the next level. Evernote has become like the Swiss army knife of digital notetaking, archiving, Web clipping and indexing. I urge all of you to take a look at this most useful app; the learning curve is huge, but just like eat-

ing a whale, you do it a bite at a time. One of the most magical tricks Evernote pulls is that it will index all of your notes, including words on pictures and handwriting. This is where the marriage of ScanBot and Evernote is giving me a bit of hope with my Post-It addiction. Any important Post-It now gets scanned with ScanBot and automatically synchronized to Evernote. When I need to recall the information all I have to do is remember some small detail of what was written on the note, and Evernote’s mighty search will crawl through the index of all of my notes to find it for me. It’s a middle of the road solution that leverages the interoperability of these two apps by bridging my physical note taking habit with my digital archives — now my Post-It notes will live forever on the cloud! CM





AAPEX Advics Airtex Corp. Akebono Brake Corp. Amsoil Inc APA Management Group Apex Automobile Parts Apex Supply Chain Arnott Industries Auto Care Association Automotive Distribution Network AutoZone AVI Bardahl Mfg. Corp. Brake Parts Inc. Central Automotive Products Contitech Antriebssysteme GmbH CRP Industries Inc. Delphi Product & Service Solutions ExxonMobil FEDERAL-MOGUL MOTORPARTS FEDERAL-MOGUL MOTORPARTS/Champion Federal Process Corp Federated Auto Parts IHS

12, 13, 74, 75 47 Cover, 19, 39 63 15 81 3 35 52 Cover 3 77 17 95 22 55 32 33 30, 31 49 Cover 4 Cover 2 6, 7 16 5, 73 83

ITW Global Brands Lisle Cor. MAHLE Clevite Mann + Hummel Messe Frankfurt Modern Silicone Technologies Inc. Motul USA Inc. National Pronto Association Nucap Industries Packard Industries PayPal Permatex Inc. Schaeffler Group USA Solv-Tec Spectra Premium Industries Standard Motor Products Stellar Automotive (Lube Guard) Tendeco Sales Inc. ThyssenKrupp Bilstein of America TYC/Genera Corp. UPS US Motor Works WIX Filters Wizards Products/RJ Star Inc.

18, 85 34 92, 93 20 14 58, 59 79 23, 89 28, 29, 94 43 61 21 37 41 27 9, 53, 57 26, 40 25 36 69 10, 11 38 50, 51, 67 87 99


Y THE NUMBERS By Thomas Dayton

‘Papa Alpha Romeo Tango Sierra’ Every day, we speak to customers and suppliers on the telephone, and very often we are trying to communicate part numbers, paint codes or VINs.

f the above headline makes sense to you, there’s a good chance you’re a parts specialist who served in the military, or maybe you have a HAM radio set. It’s written using the NATO phonetic alphabet, and it spells out “PARTS.” Every day, we speak to customers and suppliers on the telephone, and very often, we are trying to communicate part numbers, paint codes or VINs. Many folks resort to using somewhat “colorful” language to get this information across, which I prefer not to repeat in print here. Some customers are already familiar with the NATO alphabet, and will use it on the phone when they call you. One of my best friends and customers has been an amateur radio operator for years, and got me in the habit of using this method. It cuts down on misunderstandings, and besides, talking like Tom Hanks in “Saving Private Ryan” gives you an excuse to say “NINER” instead of just plain old “nine.” Here’s the NATO version of the phonetic alphabet, as used by the U.S. military and amateur radio operators: A-Alpha B-Bravo C-Charlie D-Delta E-Echo F-Foxtrot G-Golf H-Hotel I-India J-Juliet K-Kilo L-Lima M-Mike N-November O-Oscar P-Papa Q-Quebec R-Romeo S-Sierra T-Tango U-Uniform V-Victor W-Whiskey X-X ray Y-Yankee Z-Zulu


Tom Dayton is operations manager for JS Auto Supply in Jamestown, N.Y., and was Counterman’s Counter Professional of the Year for 2009.


June 2014 | Counterman

Some people like to use names, and this is also the preferred version of the phonetic alphabet for many law enforcement agencies: A-Adam B-Boy C-Charlie D-David E-Edward F-Frank G-George H-Henry I-Ida J-John K-King L-Lincoln M-Mary N-Nora O-Ocean P-Paul Q-Queen R-Robert S-Sam T-Tom U-Union V-Victor W-William X- X ray Y-Young Z-Zebra There are exceptions to every rule, and since we are not actually radioing in top secret bomber coordinates, we don’t have to use one particular set of words and are free to substitute our own when appropriate. “Foxtrot” is one word that can sound like two, so some people shorten it to just “Fox.” (Besides, who does the foxtrot anymore?) Some of the code words like Quebec (pronounced “Kee-beck”) and Queen aren’t used very often anyway, since there is no “Q” used in the VIN sequence. I have had customers confuse “Sierra” (like GMC) with “Ciera” (like Oldsmobile), so now I use “Sam” more often than not. Either of these phonetic alphabets will help you get your point across in a professional way, without offending your customers, or making any nearby sailors blush. Whichever one you choose, it can be an effective communication tool. CM

Counterman, June 2014  

Counterman provides professionals at every level of the parts distribution channel (jobbers, retailers and WDs) with the technical and busin...