Tag Archive | "aftermarket"

HELLA TECH WORLD – THE EASY ACCESS SUPPORT SITE

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HELLA TECH WORLD – THE EASY ACCESS SUPPORT SITE


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA

The website, is free of charge to users, available round the clock and kept up-to-date, giving workshops a genuine advantage, allowing them to develop a greater level of technical competence, which will contribute to the overall success of their business. HELLA, one of the world’s leading original equipment (OE) component and system suppliers, created the easily accessible portal to provide technicians with complete online support, including the latest range extensions, which are updated monthly, technical product information and HELLA Online Training – in short – to assist workshops to future proof their businesses.

TECH WORLD also links to the company’s online catalogues enabling them to browse all that HELLA, Behr Hella Service and Hella Gutmann Solutions has to offer. In addition, briefing notes are available, which give detailed information on product features and specifications, as well as links to supporting Apps, such as the ELIVER light comparison App and Behr Hella Services Compressor App.

Technicians can also access a range of practical technical training modules for lighting, electric and electronics and thermal management, and take advantage of the detailed technical information, with access to a know-how tool in which HELLA reveals how components work.

With this insight, they are able to more easily identify the cause of a fault and through this technical background knowledge how to rectify it. What’s more, technicians have the option to view technical clips and diagnostic tips to assist with the repairing process. To optimise the whole repair process, HELLA has continued to invest to provide excellent product availability and depth of range to help technicians complete their work to the highest possible standard. HELLA’s commitment to make the workshops day-to-day business life easier, faster and ready to face the future, demonstrates that the company really is the ‘workshop’s friend.’

To experience HELLA TECH WORLD please visit – www.hella.com/techworld. For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email hella.sales@hella.com

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NEW DIVISION AND DATA FIRM FOR SCHAEFFLER

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NEW DIVISION AND DATA FIRM FOR SCHAEFFLER


Changes at Schaeffler for the New Year

The Schaeffler group is expanding its company divisions with the announcement of its aftermarket subsidiary that will come into effect on January 1st.

The clutch maker will now consist of three separate divisions – Automotive OEM, Industrial and the newly appointed autonomous Automotive Aftermarket business, where all sites operating under this brand will report directly to the company’s head office in Langen, Germany. The full upgrade to division status has also prompted a shake-up in the senior management team appointing Michael Söding to the Board of Managing Directors of whom has been President of the AAM business since it was established in 2009.

“This upgrade to division status within the Schaeffler Group allows AAM to push forward necessary improvements and changes faster and more effectively – for the benefits of our customers”, said Jeff Earl, UK Marketing Manager at Schaeffler, “The UK AAM organisation will also reap the benefits from this stronger position within the group. We will continue to deliver the market leading range of LuK, INA, FAG and Ruville repair solutions, along with the unmatched levels of service that customers have come to expect.”

To further strengthen its position, the group has also acquired Autinity Systems GmbH for an undisclosed sum. Speaking of its latest purchase, Earl said, “autinity systems GmbH specialises in the digital collection evaluation and analysis of machine data in real time, and its acquisition allows Schaeffler to strengthen its data capture and status monitoring capability as key elements in the computer assisted production of its industrial and automotive components,” he concluded. “The acquisition is part of the M&A adopted by the Schaeffler Group, supporting the global concept of “Mobility for tomorrow” and providing additional technological capabilities to assist in the ongoing pursuit of its digital agenda.”

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HELLA WORKSHOP CALENDAR COMPETITION 2019

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HELLA WORKSHOP CALENDAR COMPETITION 2019


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA

HELLA is looking for workshops that have ‘something special’ to feature in the company’s 2019 “Experts At Work” calendar to celebrate the dedication and commitment that technicians make to the industry globally.

HELLA, a world renowned manufacturer of automotive components and lighting solutions, is giving workshops the opportunity to enter the competition to show what makes their business extraordinary. Whether it is a team of excellent employees, working with exceptional cars or perhaps it’s in the most unusual location – HELLA wants to hear from you!

To enter, workshops simply need to send in a few photos that really showcase their premises or what makes it different, along with a short description of why they have got what it takes to be featured in the calendar.
The winners will receive a range of top quality prizes including an exclusive photo shoot by a professional photographer, as well as the international “Experts At Work” award from HELLA, with their pictures used in the calendar, which will be distributed worldwide. Last, but by no means least, the winners will also receive a fantastic package worth almost £500 for their workshops.

The competition is underway, but closes on 6th November 2017, so don’t delay, apply today! https://www.hella-contest.com/en

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GETAC LAUNCHES A140 TABLET FOR WORKSHOPS

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GETAC LAUNCHES A140 TABLET FOR WORKSHOPS


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF GETAC

Getac has recently launched its A140 fully rugged tablet, designed with a leading automotive manufacturer.

“Working with our customers, Getac is continuing to develop devices that really meet their evolving needs. Now more than ever, automotive organisations are concerned with giving their workers rapid secure access to critical information, while working in a diverse range of challenging environments,” explains Chris Bye, President of Getac, UK. “The A140 delivers those capabilities to our customers.”

“Take for instance automotive technicians,” continues Bye. “With increased vehicle functionality comes increased complexity, so technicians need fast performance, the ability to quickly see more data displayed and to operate technology with disposable gloves or other protective wear. They are constantly on the move, so the A140’s optional multifunction hard handle serves as a support stand and cradle when stationary, and an effective way to grab-and-go when time is critical.”

The device offers the most robust suite of security features of any fully rugged tablet, such as TPM 2.0, which monitors and protects system start-ups by ensuring the device is tamper-free before releasing control to the operating system. Optional Absolute DDS allows the user to remotely disable the system if it is ever lost or stolen. Multifactor authentication options, including fingerprint, RFID or SmartCard readers, allow users to take full advantage of Microsoft Windows 10 identity and access control features, including Windows Hello, Microsoft Passport and Credential Guard.
Taking full advantage of Intel’s 6th Generation Skylake Core i5 and i7 processors, the A140 delivers the highest performance in its class. Combined with Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 technology, and a hot-swappable battery design, users will experience maximum around-the-clock performance.

The large sunlight readable HD display incorporates Getac’s revolutionary LumiBond® 2.0 touch screen technology that is more durable and readable and supports touch, rain, glove and pen touch modes. Durability is synonymous with the Getac brand and the A140 fully rugged tablet continues the tradition. The tablet is MIL-STD810G and IP65-certified to withstand drops of up to four feet and survive rain, moisture, vibrations, shock and extreme temperatures from -21°C to 60°C operating temperature and -40°C to 71°C storage temperature. It is backed by Getac’s industry-best, three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty that includes accidental damage and environmental exposure.

The A140 comes with a range of options, including a full HD webcam for crystal-clear video conferencing, an 8MP rear camera with LED flash for crisp images and video, and 4G LTE wireless for fast and reliable connectivity. A slim-profile vehicle dock maximises cab space and allows tri-pass-through antenna ports to simultaneously connect to high-gain WWAN, WLAN and roof-mounted GPS antennas.

For more information about the new Getac A140 fully rugged tablet, visit www.getac.co.uk.

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THE ‘DISRUPTIVE FORCES’ OF THE NEAR FUTURE

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THE ‘DISRUPTIVE FORCES’ OF THE NEAR FUTURE


A senior figure at Delphi explains some of the change to vehicles and how this could affect the aftermarket.

Unless you’ve been living under one of Ned Ludd’s stocking frames for the last decade, you can’t have missed all the brough-ha- ha about the connected car. Trade bodies talk about the issues endlessly and the topics are often brought up in discussions in Europe.

However, the people that discuss the why’s and wherefores are rarely the people who are actually developing the systems. As a result, there are often crucial points that are misunderstood. To counter this, we had a conversation with David Paja, Senior Vice President and President, Electronics & Safety at Delphi, who states that there are are three obstacles (or ‘megatrends’ as he calls them) that need to be addressed before the sort of connectivity that VMs and governments are asking for can be achieved.

BIG DATA
The first huge problem is the sheer volume of data that is captured by next-generation vehicles’ sensors, cameras and radar. “If you think of a vehicle on the road today, the amount of data captured by the vehicle is in the order of several megabytes per second, but as we move towards fully autonomous vehicles, there could be many gigabytes per second that could be generated,” said Paja explaining that a gigabyte is equivalent to 1,024 megabytes.

“Not all of that data is usable, but when we think of the needs of moving it around the vehicle, the needs are first of all one gigabyte per second, moving up to ten gb per second”.

Paja explained that with that amount of data, the ‘current connectivity doesn’t scale’. “We will have to rethink all of the architecture” he said. The key in how to manage all of that information is ‘centralisation,’ – or in other words, upload it to the cloud. Not all of it will have any use or relevance, in fact Delphi says that only around five percent will be stored, although that is still going to be a heck of a lot of data.

This brings Paja to the next point: What to do with all of this info, and who would want it. The answer might surprise you, as the data thrown up by cars turns out to be extremely valuable to those who know what to do with it. “In the future, a lot of value is going to be put on the data,” he said. “A lot of analysts have attempted to size the value data services business. They talk about $750bn of potential value. We’ve been adding capabilities to extract the right data and move into a marketplace where it can be monetized. So we are in a good position to embrace this megatrend.”

There are lots of people who want the data – and not just staticians looking to build electronic road pricing models. All sorts of information that can be useful to marketing experts and insurance companies can be gleaned from the computers by those that know how to cut to the data required. To that end, suppliers are starting to do deals with software firms that offer ‘data solutions’: Delphi for example has acquired Dearborn-based data analytics firm, ControlTec. It has also started work with a ‘data broker’, a firm that buys raw data, structures it and offers it for sale.

Don’t think that all of this computing happens on remote cloud servers though. Indeed, your own vehicle will decide what info needs to go where, so some analytics must be done on board the vehicle. This requires a sharp rise in the size of the computers. “Traditionally a computing power increase tends to follow Moore’s Law, where the capacity doubles over time, but when you think about the computing power increase needed here, it is not a linear curve, but exponential,” explains Paja. “Today, a vehicle can have up to 50 ECUs and modules. With the connected car you could double that… well, that isn’t scalable, there isn’t room on the car for a start. It isn’t practical and would be too expensive so there has to be a significant consolidation.”

The plan from Delphi, and no doubt from other ECU suppliers is to reduce the number of ECUs, including the various body control modules from the current 50 to just three large computers. “Our view is that there only needs to be three, and this will enable savings in mass production,” he said, adding that consolidating the computers and redesigning the network bus accordingly will make affordable, true self- driving cars closer to becoming a real possibility.

SERVICE

So where does this brave new world of scaled data leave the aftermarket? Asked how the aftermarket will connect to the cars, he replied, “That’s a good question, and one I’m not sure I have the answer.” Pressed further, it seems that the OBD port will only be left on the car for as long as legislation actually requires it to be there, because diagnostics data can be streamed wirelessly. This goes back to the question of ‘access to data’. The dealership will be able to communicate with the car, potentially from anywhere as it is connected to the cloud, through a channel, but the connection obviously needs to be encrypted to keep out hackers and would-be car thieves. The problem for us in the aftermarket is to identify who has the ‘right’ to also have access to these secure channels and how this right is enshrined in European law.

However, if you can get on the network then the good news is that electronic fault- finding should be a bit easier, thanks to the huge reduction in the number of controllers and associated wiring, although Paja explains that monitoring live data comes with a caveat: “It certainly does (offer diagnostic advances) across multiple controllers but the amount of incoming data by orders of magnitude… Discriminating data becomes very important when you have such a large amount of it.” The network itself will be different to the CAN that garages have become used to. Some data (firing the injectors, triggering the airbags etc) obviously has priority over other functions, but the wiring won’t be as crude as simply having high – and low – speed network wiring.

MAJOR CHANGE
Whatever happens to vehicle’s wiring looms over the next few years, one thing is clear: It certainly won’t be business as usual, for either the VMs, supply chain OEMs like Delphi, or us in the aftermarket. “I don’t think there has been a situation in automotive history where there have been so many ‘disruptive forces’ happening at the same time,” said Paja. “Electrification will be a disruptive force and autonomy as well as data connectivity. The three things are happening at the same time. There are opportunities as it is pushing companies to adapt and adapt very fast.”

Let’s hope we all manage to adapt, before it’s too late.

DEBATE OVER ACCESS TO DATA
Who will, and who won’t have access to data on the next generation of vehicles is a topic that has been kicked around by the aftermarket and by people speaking on behalf of the VMs for ages, and now the discussion has reached the Commons. Transport Minister Lord Callanan said, “Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected. Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber- attacks. That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry.”

The IMI’s Steve Nash asks who actually has access to this info, which largely falls outside the scope of the new GDPR data protection act, as it relates to the vehicle and not the individual. “With the sector currently unregulated and no national standards in place, it’s not always possible to track the people who may have access to our personal information,” Nash said. “We are working hard to get government to address this area as well as the creation of systems at the manufacturing stage, so that motorists have confidence that they are not at risk.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Exec commented: “A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”

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STANDING OUT FROM THE COMPETITION

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STANDING OUT FROM THE COMPETITION


James Bourn shows CAT around suspension firm Powerflex in Uxbridge, Hillingdon

You might be familiar with the Powerflex purple and yellow livery but did you know its portfolio of polyurethane bushes are produced here in the UK?

The line-up is popular as upgrades from OE parts on cars owned by enthusiasts. Powerflex Sales Director James Bourn explains that the crux of it comes down to the materials for its steel bushes, which he says are not used by many competitors. “We use premium quality materials such as stainless steel in a lot of our products whereas our competitors tend to use a lot of plated steel”, said Bourne. “We’re a UK manufacturer so all of our R&D is done here by us”, he said, adding that the supplier also develops bespoke technical products in line with its core suspension range.

FACTORY UNITS
We’re curious to see how these products are produced, so Bourne takes us to the CNC Factory, where most of the magic happens. The unit is home to many high-tech computer-controlled machining centres and other equipment used for geometry work, metal bending and test fittings; producing bushes, engine mounts and sleeves forged from aluminium and stainless steel. Once created, parts are then tried and tested before receiving the thumbs up.

Indeed, having all of its manufacturing operations in-house has sped up productivity and product turnaround by cutting out a third party who would normally carry out the nuts and bolts of the process. Bourne expands. “Doing this internally gives us greater control over lead times and quality rather than delegating to a third party. We can diagnose and fix problems quickly, likewise with lead times, order turnaround time is fast”.

The firm’s developments of polyurethane bushes and chassis systems in general has enabled it to triple its warehouse capacity by acquiring three extra units. Apart from the CNC Factory, the parts maker has in effect knocked three buildings into one; consisting of a large manufacturing space where bushes begin their journey on conveyor belts, before they are solidified and enter a cutting and fitting area to get rid of built-up material, post production.

BESPOKE SYSTEM
To keep track, a management system has been set up to notify sales staff and technicians of customer orders coming in and the parts required for each job. This can be accessed by factory workers through computer monitors, located at multiple assembly points around the premises. “Believe it or not everything is stock controlled”, said Bourn. “The system tells us what we’ve got to make, how many and by when”. In addition, the system has helped the manufacturer organise its stockroom efficiently; allowing staff to source the correct components without any grievances. This was evident on our tour with trays of suspension bushes, mounts, and sleeves labelled and stacked tidily on each aisle so workers can locate wares and send them out to dealers, post haste.

Bushes begin production in liquid form

To help customers distinguish the differences between products, the company launched its Black Series and Road Series a few years ago not only to highlight the key differences, but also allow trade customers to understand what requirements they’ll need for each one. Bourn elaborated: “For years, our parts were only fitted by people that wanted a performance edge to their car or if their car was being used in motorsport”.

“So what we’ve tried to is move away from that slightly not in terms of how we want the brand to be seen, but so we can establish that our parts are not just a replacement product but a performance and motorsport one. That’s why we launched our Road Series and Black Series – with the Black series targeting track cars while the Road Series is specifically designed for road vehicles” he noted.

PRACTICE AND LEGISLATION
The firm is a member of the Performance Automotive Aftermarket Association (PAAA), which will keep it abreast of any legislation changes that may or may not affect it in the near future. “The idea behind the PAAA is to give companies like ourselves strength in numbers, a greater voice and hopefully greater influence should there be any plans for legislation changes that could impact our business and the performance aftermarket as an industry”, said Bourn, concluding, “We’re going to keep working hard to make sure we’re developing new products and continuing to look after dealers; providing them with the best possible service whilst ensuring we continue to grow and progress as a business”.

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE


New site will go live in January

Component supplier Ferdinand Bilstein has confirmed that warehouses in both Kent and Yorkshire will close as the firm relocates logistics to a new purpose built facility at the Markham Vale industrial complex. In responses to questions asked by CAT, the company confirmed that the closures ‘will unfortunately lead to redundancies’. However, 140 jobs will be created at the new site (see panel for the firm’s complete response).

The switch-on date for the highly automated facility is January 2018, with full operation of both Febi and Blue Print brands expected by the last quarter of the year. Head Office functions such as HR, finance and purchasing will remain in Kent.

A facility owned by Bilstein Group in Ennepetal, Germany, features a large ‘dark warehouse’ automated stock and picking system installed by Witron Integrated Logistics. A similar system is being installed at the new site.

Ferdinand Bilstein UK changed its name from Automotive Distributors Ltd (ADL) in early 2015, following the acquisition of ADL by Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH+Co (now known as Bilstein Group) in 2011.

Q & A: FERDINAND BILSTEIN

1) What date is the Markham Vale set to go live/open its doors for service?

Markham Vale will ‘go-live’ and be operational from January 2018. Blue Print stock will move in first, followed by Febi a few months later. However, full operation of both brands at the site will be from Q3/Q4 of 2018.

2) Have the previous Kent and Yorkshire operations already closed down? When did/will they roll down the shutters for good?

No, the offices in Kent will remain open, and so functions such as HR, Finance, Product Management, Purchasing, IT and Marketing will continue to run on this site. However, the warehouses in Kent will close during the first quarter of 2018. The Yorkshire operations will close during the later months of 2018.

3) What prompted the move to the Derbyshire business park?

Ferdinand Bilstein UK Ltd wanted to improve its efficiency and logistics capabilities in order to improve customer service. The site in Derbyshire proved a fantastic opportunity, with its central location offering excellent transport links just off junction 29a of the M1, as well as close proximity to customers.

4) Have or will there be any redundancies from the transition over to the new premises? If so, how many are expected?

The warehouses at the Kent site will close, and this will unfortunately lead to redundancies. However, we are working closely with training organisations, recruitment agencies and other local businesses to help staff find new positions in the local area. Staff in both Kent and Yorkshire have been offered the chance to relocate.

5) For those who have been kept on, will they maintain their original roles or take on a different one within the company?

Staff who have chosen to make the move to Markham Vale will be able to maintain their original roles and responsibilities from the new site, and some will be offered the chance to develop further, to fill the new requirements at the site with the installation of new technology and systems. Training will be offered to staff who wish to learn these new skills. Staff who are remaining in Kent will retain their current roles.

6) What does the Markham Vale site comprise of?

Markham Vale is to become our main distribution centre. With this in mind, the 14.4 acres site is largely taken up by a 215,000 square foot, state of the art warehouse, complete with manual racking and semi-automated machinery – the Order Picking system. There are offices upstairs, meeting rooms and a canteen.

There is a reception area to greet visitors to the site. There is also a garden space outside of reception to provide a break from the office or warehouse during lunch. And a large carpark. A lot of time and effort was put into the planning stages to ensure the site had the best facilities for our staff.

7) There are currently up to 140 jobs at the Markham Vale site. When are you expecting to get all these positions filled and the new employees into the warehouse?

A recruitment open day was held on 14th October attended by 600 people to let people see the new building/site and what we have to offer them. The warehouse roles will be filled from October until the beginning of next year, allowing time for training before the site is operational in January. Once the site is fully operational, more job opportunities are likely to become available in the offices as well as the warehouse, as the site grows.

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DECEMBER DEBUT FOR AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI

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DECEMBER DEBUT FOR AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTOMECHANIKA SHANGHAI

It’s beyond doubt that Asia’s automobile industry has been developing at a rapid pace in recent years. From 2009 to 2016, China alone was the world’s largest car manufacturer and benefitted greatly from having the biggest sales market. As a result, the country rose to become the world’s top producer and exporter of tyres, with production volume climbing to 150 million in 2016. Not only that, but the global tyre demand is still rising too, with the market projected to reach 2.5 billion units by 2022.

Tyres are also one of the key components in the automotive sector, and are indispensable throughout the entire automotive value chain. With tyres and their many associated products playing such an invaluable role in the continued growth of the automotive industry both domestically and globally, visitors to this year’s edition of Automechanika Shanghai can expect to find the most comprehensive range of products, innovations and news to cover the entire spectrum of the tyre sector. The fair will take place from 29 November – 2 December at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre, Shanghai, where over 130,000 visitors will meet with an estimated 6,000 exhibitors.

For the first time this year, Automechanika will welcome the brand new REIFEN Zone – a co-located area dedicated entirely to products for tyres, wheels and rims, as well as for the repair, management, sales and storage of tyres. As the world’s leading fair for the tyre industry, REIFEN has been a consistently important meeting place since its first ever edition back in 1960 in Germany.

The addition of the REIFEN Zone to Automechanika Shanghai not only represents the tightening relationship between the tyre and aftermarket service segments, but also perfectly complements the existing spectrum of products available at the fair. The move will also help create new opportunities to the fair’s participants, exhibitors and visitors. Tyre dealers have the opportunity to offer even more automotive services, and car dealers and workshops looking to expand on their range of tyre partners.

At the zone, global and domestic prestigious tyre makers will showcase their latest products, designs and materials. To name a few, these include the likes of Linglong, one of the top 20 global tyre manufacturers, as well as Fangxing Rubber, who will feature various kinds of truck and bus radial tyres, passenger car radial tyres and off-road tyres at its booth.

Ms Fiona Chiew, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, says that no stone will be left unturned when it comes to highlighting the tyre sector at this year’s edition of Automechanika Shanghai: “This area of the automotive world is vital to the continued growth of the auto industry in Asia. No matter what technological improvements are made to cars, and regardless of industry trends, there will always be a demand for tyres and their related products. With that in mind, we expect the REIFEN Zone to be a huge success this year, because the industry has been calling out for it.”

Tyre industry’s strong relationship with OE and aftermarket sector reflected throughout show halls

The entirety of Automechanika’s 340,000 sqm show will also be sprinkled with the very latest tyre-related products and services from the entire supply chain. With the increasing demands of tyre services at workshops and service stations, the likes of wheel balancers and aligners, tyre changers, tyre inflators and a range of tyre repair tools can be found in the fair’s Repair & Maintenance sector, while wheels and rims, tyre difficulty relief devices, emergency tyre safety devices and repair kits, tyre lubricants and cleaners, etc. can be found at the Accessories & Customising sector. The likes of tyre pressure monitoring solutions, wheel bearings and hubs, and tyre bolts can be found at the fair’s Parts and Components sector.

For instance, exhibiting company Yingkou Dali Automobile Maintenance Equipment, a Chinese manufacturer of tyre changers, will demonstrate its ‘G-900 Pneumatic Swing Arm Centre Locking System’ with its newest BQC automatic demounting head. Elsewhere, Russia-based Techno Vector will display its 3D four-wheel aligner with its ‘Wide Angle’ technology, which is said to allow for a complete range of working heights of the lift. Tyreplus, Michelin’s Asian car maintenance service branch, will demonstrate a comprehensive range of replacement services using Michelin products during the fair. Meanwhile, Continental Automotive will show its advanced tyre pressure monitoring solutions. The company says that by integrating these functions with the chassis network, the dynamic control of driving is significantly improved. US-based ITW Performance Polymer will demonstrate its ‘Safety Spair’ tyre repair and inflation kit, which enables tyre inflation and repair times of four and seven minutes, respectively.

For more information about the show, please visit www.automechanika-shanghai.com or contact Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, +852 2802 7728 auto@hongkong.messefrankfurt.com

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WIPING UP WITH BLADE PROMOTIONS

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WIPING UP WITH BLADE PROMOTIONS


Offering free fitting is one way to boost blade sales

Staples of retail they might be, but wiper blades are no longer simple items with each supplier offering its own take on hybrid and beam designs. In terms of display, cars today might well have wiper blades of unequal length, which makes stocking twin packs something of a nightmare.However, thanks to various cunning clip designs, most wiper suppliers can now produce a short range of single packs that takes up perhaps just one panel of retail space. Of course, if you have only a small space dedicated to a core product, you had better make sure that the area works for you, both in terms of displaying the product and making it look as attractive as it can be. This is not just to make it look nice, but to make it clear for the motorist
to find the right product for their vehicle.

Kevin Singer of wiper maker Pylon, which has the licence for the Michelin brand in the UK said: “People like to be able to see the blade inside the packaging and it makes it easier for them to understand the product”.Sam Robinson, Brand Manager at Trico made the point that simple carton-style merchandising stands can be used to remind customers of wipers when they are at the counter. “If you can get them in front of the customer you remind them that they are not just summer products” he said.

PACKAGING
Noting that while consumer products are often packaged in small works of art that cost millions to develop, Randstad’s Martin Dowd makes the point that for trade customers, the packaging is irrelevant and just makes for extra and expensive trade waste. “Most of our product is in a cardboard box with our livery on and each blade just has a thin plastic bag. This takes up very little room and is environmentally safe” he says.

This is a point echoed by all of the people we spoke to: While there are still some kits on the market that have both wipers, the number of vehicles with unequal length blades mean that the size of stockholding would be vast even before you factor in slow-moving references. Single blades of course, don’t have that issue and the ability to have all the product you need in one box means that suppliers are eagerly persuading garages to once again hold stock. Being able to carry a small range that covers the market opens up opportunities that had fallen out of favour. Describing a ten- hook merchandise stand, Jerry Banks, a Product Manager at Federal Mogul’s Champion brand, said: “Although garages don’t sell wipers like they used to, you can more or less squeeze a stand like this in anywhere and fit quite a bit of product into a small space”.

Having garages return to stockholding wipers has obvious benefits for the supplier: Garages are more likely to offer a pair of wipers if a car needs them, even if it has been brought in for something else. “Absolutely, and with blades being a compulsory part of the MOT, as well as something that motorists can literally see if they are not clearing the screen, it is a massive opportunity” said Carlton Edmeade, a Manager at Tetrosyl-owned Bluecol.

FITTING OPTIONS
Adrian Syder, the co-owner of a pair of accessory shops around Wymondham in Norfolk favours offering free fitting, and has a bay designed for the purpose at one of the branches, but he only offers one premium brand of wiper. “We fit wiper blades and that works well because of the little bay outside the door. Even on a (rainy) day like today you can nip out and fit them” he said, adding that the motorist was always happy with the premium product and the higher margin justified free fitting.

Compact store display

However, this strategy is relatively unusual in retailing. Pylon’s Kevin Singer says that retailers will usually chose to offer different types, i.e conventional, beam and hybrid as well as different price points. “The range offered depends on the type of store and who their consumers are” he explained. “Some people only carry the traditional blade, while others only have the hybrid blade but most will carry both. It is always good to give consumers an option with a budget, and a brand with more features or more exclusive technology”.

There are other ways of bringing your wiping product to the attention of the motorist, or at least to the attention of the counter staff who will hopefully recommend it. Denso has signed a racing driver as a face of the brand who has given the product as much exposure as the manufacturer could wish for. “We’ve got a partnership with Rebecca Jackson, who has fitted hybrid wiper blades to her Mini race car” explains Marketing Manager Fatiha Laauich. “And I can tell you she is a good brand ambassador as her nickname is the ‘raining queen’ because she has performed at her best when it is raining! She has been very complimentary about our wiper blade and said the blades profile kept f lat on the screen, compared with the previous flatblade” she said.

CUSTOMER CAMPAIGNS
Promotions other than those that are run at the point of sale can also bring success. “We are driving the ‘light and sight’ campaign to check both wiper blades and bulbs” says Besime Kaya, a Product Manager at Bosch. Such campaigns urge the motorist to judge for themselves that (in the case of wipers) a blade should be replaced before it is a smearing, juddering, MOT- failing mess. To promote this, the company is set to launch a consumer website, separate from the main Bosch sites, to get the message across. There is also a new app to find the right products, and the packaging itself has QR codes which show would- be purchasers neat computer- generated fitting animations.

A traditional way of keeping retail and wholesalers onside is to offer incentives to sell a certain product. Often this is in the form of a token collection scheme that can be saved up to exchange for goods, or a number of promotional free items thrown in with each order over a certain size. However, the most innovative of the season so far is Trico, which has produced its own label beer, which it it dishes out to thirsty distributors. “I like beer and it seemed like a good idea!” said Sam Robinson. “Also, I wanted to try something we hadn’t done before, and I’ve got to say that it has had the best response from any press release that I’ve sent out”. The promotion has lead to a surge of interest in the firm’s social media presence. “It would certainly be a lot easier to sell beer than wiper blades, I’ve found that out” he joked.

PRIVATE LABEL
Selling products under a private label is a phenomenon that those in the aftermarket almost dare not speak its name, despite it being incredibly widespread. However, Randstad are happy to talk about how they can produce wipers, or rather have them produced, for private clients. “One of the biggest areas for growth for us is own label, people who want their own brand because we have made established relationships and have gone through the difficult learning curve that you have to go through to establish a good supplier at the right price” said Martin Dowd. Trico also produces product for other companies. “We’ve always been upfront about it and write ‘Engineered by Trico’ on the packaging” said Sam Robinson.

Posted in CAT Features, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer News, WipersComments (0)

QH NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY JP GROUP

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QH NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY JP GROUP


QH Braking portfolio

DENMARK-based distributor JP Group will stop distributing Quinton Hazell brand products from 6th December 2017.

The move comes as QH brand owner Tetrosyl prepares to have its new distribution centre fully operational.

JP Group provided a relaunch platform for the QH brand since being appointed licensee for Scandinavia and Germany back in 2013. A statement on a Tetrosyl press release states: “It has now been agreed that in order to increase the current commendable distribution routes established by the JP Group that Tetrosyl Ltd will continue the development of these markets directly”.

JP Group are based in Viborg, Denmark and is best known for producing and distributing
League’s Southern Premier club and stadium sponsor.

Tetrosyl’s Distribution Centre is due to be fully operational in October 2017 and will combine the distribution of oils, chemicals, car care and now QH replacement parts all under one roof. This will enable all supplies of QH products within the territories to transfer to Tetrosyl as of the 6th December 2017.

Posted in Blogs, Factor & Supplier News, News, Retailer News, UncategorisedComments (0)

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