Each year, AIA Canada; in conjunction with the Automotive Business School of Canada (ASBC) hosts a Student Aftermarket Day.
The objective is to provide students enrolled in automotive programs with a chance to gain insight into the automotive aftermarket as well as present their own analysis on the industry which is then voted by their peers.
At this year’s event, which took place at the Liberty North event centre in Barrie, Ont., Joe Mercanti, AIA Ontario Division Chair, kicked off the event. “the automotive aftermarket is a dynamic and complex sector,” said Mercanti. “And today, is an opportunity for you to get to know the industry, what we do and what organizations look for when it comes to their employees.”
AIA President Jean-Francois Champagne discussed what the future could bring, and the opportunities available for the next generation of aftermarket professionals. Looking around the room, Champagne remarked, “the aftermarket is changing and will provide a wide variety of opportunities for those that are innovative. I want you to take the opportunity today to network and be inspired.”
The event featured four groups of students, that presented on an array of different industry topics.
First off were Maxime Beaudoin, Benjamin Roy, Arie Ram and Cole Tondeur, who discussed Sustainable Transportation and the Automotive Aftermarket. This proved fascinating in that they focused on a hugely important and often overlooked aspect, namely the impact of the automotive industry on the environment beyond the actual vehicle usage and into the realms of recycling materials at the end of the vehicle’s life including use for tires, batteries and fluids.
Another great subject was conserving energy usage in the shop, tips included using LED lighting and creating air barriers to prevent access heat or cooled air from leaving the building.
Brendan Currie, Hunter Jeff, Alec Lautermilch and Maxime Mclean, took a different approach, focusing on opportunities in marketing, citing some great examples from companies such as Brembo and Bosch, which are reinventing the way they do business and the products and services they sell.
Moving back to the environment, Brett Thompson, Henry MacDonald and Matt Almeida, have a very interesting session, one that discussed the extraction of raw materials and the impact it has on the environment, including soil erosion, oxidation and contamination, as well as the potential damage to wildlife and ecosystems.
They also discussed consolidation within the aftermarket industry which could lead to fewer vehicles on the roads and less maintenance, if the trend toward electrification continues.
For aftermarket service providers, trends such as this mean significant changes to their business, since EVs require less maintenance, even for staple services like brakes due to regenerative braking technology.
Harnessing Big Data
Xingu Ji, Satoko Terai and Jungyu Choi discussed the Automotive Aftermarket and Big Data. No question moving forward, understanding Big Data will be key to maintaining a competitive advantage, but who owns and controls the access to the information being generated by vehicles and infrastructure in a connected world will also be crucial.
AIA’s J-F Champagne summed it up by saying that in the years ahead, “Big Data has become the new oil,” and will require practical processing to make it useful both for industry and consumers.
Other key highlights from the event included networking breaks, an address from Diruban Ravi, who talked about modified car culture as well as ways to perform aftermarket upgrades to your vehicle, along with Q&A breakout sessions hosted by industry professionals and even a trivia quiz.
Student Aftermarket Day 2019 turned out to be a highly successful event and talking with those who attended, both a highly valuable and great experience.