Today’s Post Pandemic Parts Demand

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How soon will jobbers’ shelves be full again? PHOTO Shirley Brown

This topic is very present in the jobber’s mind… will the supply chain get up to speed soon or are there still huge delays.

Allan Wood (Ontario) and Douglas Squires (headquartered in St. John’s, Newfoundland) answered questions concerning this in their respective areas.

Given the current situation with vehicle shortages and motorists holding onto their vehicles, how do you see that impacting your business as the economy opens up?

“Consumers keeping their vehicles longer will cause an increase in demand in the aftermarket,” remarked Squires. “They will need to spend more on maintenance of these older vehicles—their mechanical systems have aged and require attention. This will be a positive growth opportunity for the aftermarket.”

Wood answered, “The prospect of consumers holding onto vehicles longer is very promising for the industry. What we have seen is the negative impact to the consumer due to vehicles not being driven and sitting for long periods of time. Vehicles like to be driven and little to no maintenance is causing large repair bills. Unfortunate for the end user but promising for the industry.”

Are supply issue challenges likely to remain for some time, and if so, how do you see dealing with supply/demand imbalances for parts?

“Parts supply challenges are likely to stabilize and level off towards the end of Q4 and hopefully be close to somewhat normal by year end,” Douglas comments. “Freight costs are already starting to drop which means movement of parts will improve and this was one of the main supply challenges, getting the parts shipped. To deal with supply challenges we have significantly increased our overall inventory, lengthened our safety stock timing and moved some lines to North American supply versus offshore supply.”

Allan said, “I think the supply chain will be affected for a while. We are finding now that customers are less concerned with the pricing and more concerned with “when can I get it?” Our ASPs are trying to get everyone going and using the last two years as a learning tool as to why maintenance is so important.”

What parts are likely to be most in demand as we move into spring and summer?

Wood explained that air conditioning will always be a major player as will TPMS and brake/chassis products. “Ontario weather creates perfect potholes that are good for business!”

Squires noted that spring and summer in his area tend to have higher demand for undercar products, and this will likely remain the same. “There have been challenges in most steel-based categories, such as rotors and chassis due to raw material supply issues. Friction has also been somewhat of a challenge again due to supply issues.”

Have you had to make delivery adjustments in order to ensure customers get the parts they need and how do you see that evolving going forward?

“Fortunately, we have always carried higher levels of inventory so being able to supply our customers hasn’t been much of a challenge so far,” Squires remarked and went on to say that automotive paint has been a bit more challenging due to supplier issues such as not having paint containers to ship product, but even these are improving. Crash parts such as fenders and panels have been a challenge due to supply issues which has been slower to recover.

Wood revealed that they utilize day-run shuttles to complement their in-house inventory. The amount of space required to have good coverage is growing and shuttles will continue to be important as well as sharing branch to branch inventories

Seemingly these jobbers have withstood the post parts demand somewhat satisfactorily. We hope all others have done so as well.



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