The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation’s theme for its annual conference and dinner today was of the ‘next generation’ for the sector.

The event was somewhat controversially sponsored by the OESAA OE suppliers campaign which IAAF Chief Executive Brian Spratt has previously said risks ‘unravelling’ the market.

He once again touched on how the market needs to stand together behind the issue of quality if it is to have a future.

“I can understand that to some people here the appearance of that [OESAA] logo on stage is a red rag to a bull,” he told the conference, while acknowledging it is too easy for some suppliers to talk up the quality of their products.

“We can’t smother the fact that some parts for sale in our market are hiding behind the convenient cloak of self certification.”

Spratt also aimed to strike a balance between the two sides in the debate.

“Some part suppliers rightly pointed out that not being an OE supplier does not necessarily bring the products they sell into question.

“Of course, and recognised by OESAA’s own constitution, not all of the parts sold by OESAA members are parts that are sold as OE.

“The line of logos in the group’s advertising only serves to confuse potential purchasers.”

Failing to put quality at the heart of what the aftermarket does risks the entire future of the sector, he said.

“It’s about responsibility. It’s the other side of the coin from what we demanded as our right. We demanded our Right to Repair and we won it.

“We have a responsibility to supply parts that are appropriate in quality, appropriate in application, appropriate in fitting and appropriate for commissioning into service. That’s not just the metal and plastic of the part, it’s the hand that fits it as well.

“Only by accepting these responsibilities can we demonstrate that we all take it seriously and have any hope of convincing legislators and customers that we are professional enough to be rewarded with their trust and their business.

“I ask you to take the truths that we all recognise – your views, your services and your ethical standing – take it out to the market as a whole and say ‘look, this is what we need to ensure our future’.

“Our future is not in selling crap parts and turning a blind eye.

“We all need to make sure the next generation of the aftermarket behaves in appropriate manner.

“If we don’t then the market will turn against us and disappear. The legislators will legislate us out of existence – they’re being encouraged to do that as I speak. Where will the next generation be then?”

Spratt’s question mark over the self-certification of quality, and call on purchasers to demand suppliers show how they ensure it, chimes well with the work the IAAF is currently doing with Suplex to try and developed independently-verified standards for components across a wide range of categories.

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  1. Hi Graham, good to see you at the recent GROUPAUTO event in Telford.

    The news regarding price fixing involving OESSA suppliers is exactly my point (above) as to why the IAAF should remain totally unbiased. This is arguably far worse than any so called product quality issues in our industry and I just hope it’s not the tip of the iceberg.

    Ps: I still can’t afford to help this years event funding but I recommend that if you can’t find suitable donor (s) then cancel it….

    Kind regards,

  2. Ok, so let’s discuss product quality in the UK aftermarket but allow a select band of suppliers to sponsor the occasion?? Democracy, Dictatorship or is it Desparation!?

    I respect the need to ensure quality is not compromised but this is not the way to have this debate.

    No wonder the numbers at this event have dwindled alarmingly over recent years.

    1. Adrian, did you not read the article before hitting the send button?
      IAAF CEO Brian Spratt at the conference ‘and repeatedly beforehand’ has given a very balanced view of OESAA and parts quality – You may be confusing the Federations financial needs with its clearly stated views perhaps?
      For many years CAT magazine very kindly sponsored the conference but this didn’t mean the IAAF agreed with everything that appeared in CAT.
      Unfortunately CAT magazine was unable to sponsor this year’s event which left a financial hole which OESAA filled.
      Sponsorship does not buy the Federations views, but does allow the conference to take place and keeps the costs down for those who do attend.
      Talking of which, I don’t believe you attend the conference or dinner, so I’m unsure where your sources for the attendance numbers come from. I’m pleased to inform you that the numbers have been healthy and reasonably static for some years which ‘in a consolidating market’ is an achievement and hopefully reflects the value the IAAF is seen to be giving the aftermarket.
      Juratek are welcome to sponsor next year’s event if you wish? Indeed Juratek would be welcome to join the IAAF and help ‘as others do’ to secure the industry’s future for the benefit of all.

      1. I take it I have rattled your cage Graham? In my opinion, if it is ok to offer one, the IAAF have an obligation to give unbiased view in representing the whole of the independent aftermarket. I think there are many, like me, that question the logic of supplier sponsorship of the event with such an important topic on the agenda. Time will tell.

        I have attended the event many times over the years but this year decided against it. Too expensive…. As an independently owned business in the UK trying to earn an honest crust we must cut our cloth accordingly.

        I will decline your kind offer to sponsor next year’s event but get back to you on your offer to join the IAAF.