Eliminating The ‘Disconnects’ In The Engine Aftermarket
By Dave Wooldridge
Last month’s "Final Wrap" editorial triggered more engine builder and supplier responses than any that I can remember. The headline for November’s "Final Wrap" – Tough Love – Our Engine Aftermarket Needs It – was meant to summarize one primary fact: that the independent channel of engine parts and equipment suppliers, their distribution network, engine remanufacturers, machine shops/custom engine builders and engine installers need to work collectively to improve both sales and profit margins – for everyone!
Engine parts suppliers, engine rebuilders and engine installers can and do provide quality products and services. The problem is that all of the players within the independent engine rebuilding food chain don’t always recognize the increasing importance of the business relationships each holds with the other.
Unlike an OEM, who, from new car manufacturing to dealer service repair, can operate almost in lock-step when it comes to such things as warranty, parts specification, supply sourcing, pricing, etc., the independent channel of engine parts replacement, engine rebuilding and engine installation is comprised of many different businesses. And these many businesses must confront parts replacement, proper engine rebuilding and installation procedures across multiple engine makes and models – not just one OEM’s engine or engine family.
The challenge for the independent engine aftermarket is to form stronger, cohesive, problem solving, value-added relationships that can effectively provide the higher levels of quality products and service that vehicle owners have come to expect.
As one aftermarket parts supplier recently described it to me, "There are many more areas of potential ‘disconnects’ with independent engine rebuilding, parts sourcing and engine installation than an OEM faces."
Our biggest liability, however, – the vast number of independent businesses comprising the engine replacement market – is actually also our biggest asset. If, that is, we cultivate value-added partnerships that provide product, services and profit margins that lead to consistently reliable, quality replacement engines.