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.