We asked Jobbers how they determined, stocked, sold tools and equipment now needed by the Automotive Service Provider.
Jamie Thain, VP Sales, Peterborough Automotive and Allan Wood, Branch Manager, Ideal Supply, Barrie North kindly helped us out.
CCB: How is the supply shortage impacting sales of tools and equipment? Do you have what’s needed now in stock? Are you able to source items in good time?
Jamie: We are having a major issue supplying the equipment required—waiting up to 3-4 months at times for hoists, tire balancers and changers. General day to day tools have been hit and miss. The issue is if it’s not available at the time, it usually takes four-six weeks or more to get in. All our suppliers are in the same position. Items such as transmission jacks, floor jacks and lifting equipment are taking months to arrive.
During the first 6-12 months of COVID-19, equipment sales took off, shops did not slow down and most updated some equipment. Big sellers were hoists and tire equipment. We didn’t have any supply issues then.
Allan: While we have experienced a shortage of tools and equipment, we are fortunate to have good supplier partners working with us to the best of their ability in keeping timelines accurate. Our account managers worked with our customer base to forecast what equipment would be needed in the future.
CCB: What specialty tools must you stock because of new technology… suspension, brakes, oil changes (German cars predominately), specialty oils, alignment machines, etc.?
Jamie: In our market it is very important to understand the new scan tools available to our customers, also the programmers for new automotive key fobs have become a popular shop tool. ADAS calibration systems are a very important item for the collision repair market. The new R1234 freon A/C machines are getting more popular as warranties end on newer vehicles that start showing up at local shops. We try to always keep at least one of these A/C machines in stock.
The new oils in the market are very difficult for the average shop to maintain—grades of oil for new vehicles seem to change every couple of years. We have great support from our suppliers to help our customers too—Total, Mobil, Castrol and Valvoline. Oil supplies have been a major issue lately as packaging and oil additives seem to be the leading issue in the oil supply chain.
Allan: Alignment machines are now having to be capable of calibrating windshields for lane departure assistance and not just working towards having the vehicle track properly. It seems like just when you add a specialized oil there is new viscosity or specification on the horizon which often carries a new required filter and/or tool to remove it.
CCB: What is the ASP now demanding in the way of new tools and equipment… scanners are likely high on the list… but what others are now in demand?
Jamie: Battery Powered Tools—a big change in the marketplace. Products such as Dewalt Tools have started to take over as the tool of choice for many mechanics and shop owners, plus ADAS Calibration Systems; Key Fob Programming; R1234 A/C Recovery Machines; TPMS Diagnostic/Programmers.
Allan: Tire pressure monitoring tools are still very popular but also specialized tools such as lab scopes to diagnose complex electrical systems in today’s vehicles. We also see demand for updates on software and equipment to work with braking systems and pad wear sensors.