On March 28, AIA Canada hosted its first Young Executive Society (YES) Conference of 2017.
Automotive aftermarket industry professionals, packed into the Paramount Event Venue at 222 Rowntree Dairy Road in Vaughan, Ont., to gain some insightful knowledge about some of the trends shaping the industry and how it can rise to the challenge of meeting a rapidly changing marketplace.
As always, the event featured an Industry Mentor and Keynote Speaker.
As this event’s Industry Mentor speaker, Ezer Mevorach, CEO of Mevotech LP, provided a fascinating insight into his own career within the industry and how, the company—which embraced the concept of supplying the automotive industry with CV shafts ahead of a North America-wide industry switch to front wheel-drive in the 1980s—found itself having to reinvent its business model two decades later. “We went from 12 product lines to just two—chassis and steering parts,” said Mevorach. “Our focus shifted from being a remanufacturer to product differentiation and engineering,” he said. “The transition meant a huge change for us in culture and attitude but we were able to turn things around and bring value to the marketplace.”
Mevorach was part of the team that originally founded the YES Committee, and said not only was it about finding an infusion of young blood for the industry “but a desire and willingness to make it happen.”
Mevorach noted that when it comes to leadership that it’s all about the people. “You have to connect with the people you work with,” he said. “It’s about how you communicate the vision of what you’re trying to do and make your team feel good about what they are working towards.”
He said it was also important for leaders to be the ones to instigate change and be willing to adapt. “You also need to surround yourself with good people and trust them,” he said. “Communicate, set goals and let your leaders lead.”
Change or die
Brand Expert and Entrepreneur Creative Director Justin Kingsley, highlighted major brands that didn’t adapt to change, such as Blockbuster and Eastman Kodak and went bankrupt and those that did adapt and by doing so, were able to reinvent themselves like Old Spice and Yellow Pages, the former by celebrating manhood, the latter as mobile app.
Kingsley talked about the importance of creating something with real value and how working with the Montreal Canadiens hockey team was able to create a strategy that rewarded fans for being loyal thorough a system of faith points, allowing them to acquire prized memorabilia, meet their heroes and even have their names placed within the ice of the hockey rink, instead of what has become a traditional approach for many sports franchises in that fans pay a lot of money to attend games and devote themselves to the brand but tend to receive very little in return.
Kingsley talked about the me-too universe in which, in today’s world, there are many products that compete for the same audience, such as Nike and Adidas. “The difference,” said Kingsley, “is how you make your customer feel.” He cited a personal example, when while out of town he purchased a suit that looked great in the mirror. When he was back home, he walked into a local tailor who asked him that the suit didn’t fit well from behind. The tailor insisted on adjusting the suit for him—no questions asked—and Kingsley said, “guess where I bought my suits from that moment on.”
He said that often the greatest things we have to offer our customers are the ones that don’t cost anything. It can range from a taxi or rideshare driver simply offering passengers help with their luggage, to providing parking spaces at work on a first come first serve basis for everybody, including management.