The NAPA AUTOPRO National Convention took place in Halifax from September 7 to 10.
Nearly 700 workshop representatives, associate stores and NAPA team members from all over Canada gathered for three days in Nova Scotia’s capital to mark the 40th anniversary of the NAPA AUTOPRO banner, while mapping out the future through a rich roster of conferences and presentations.
Banner workshop owners were visibly thrilled to meet again. British Columbia was strongly represented with a host of delegates having travelled across the country to participate in the convention.
UAP President, Alain Masse highlighted workshop owner commitment for 40 years of brand support in his opening remarks. The network, which currently numbers 620 workshops throughout Canada, has seen remarkable growth over the years. “Our network has become the market leader in automobile repair. Our success is based on team quality—especially your team’s quality (he added with a smile). Your success is what drives us and you are at the heart of our concerns. We will continue to drive your efforts so that we continue owning this road for another 40 years!”
John O’Dowd, NAPA Canada Vice-President of Marketing stepped up to highlight 40 years of NAPA AUTOPRO achievement, but also went on to note that the network also needs to look resolutely ahead to the future. “Look at the challenges our workshops have overcome over the past decades. We’ve always adapted to new technology and electric vehicle technology is no different and shouldn’t intimidate us.”
Yves Racette, Director Of Program Development for NexDrive made an appearance later during the convention to discuss workshop and parts store training with a view to facing this new challenge. “This training program is part of our commitment to maintain our position as a top-tier mechanics workshop network supplying consumer vehicle maintenance and repair services for years to come.
“We want to show our communities that we can repair all vehicles, including electric cars,” explained Mr. Racette. “We are clearly poised to dominate this market position now and in the future.”
A first group of technicians was certified this year and the aim is to accelerate countrywide training. Note that eligible workshops will bear the complementary NexDrive banner. Roughly 40 workshops will be available under this banner by the end of the year.
The NAPA High Voltage program will ensure similar training to NAPA Auto Parts stores. This will enable them to ensure coherent customer support within an EV ecosystem.
Customer satisfaction was a recurrent theme during the convention. JD Power survey results indicate that the NAPA AUTOPRO brand is top of mind in terms of consumer trust when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repairs. A satisfied customer is the best brand ambassador since they will promote the brand within their social group while remaining loyal to it.
As mentioned by Réservoir Publicité Conseil strategic consultant, Simon Boulanger, promotional efforts are targeted on building this trust. This relationship of trust only takes on its true meaning during workshop visits, however. “NAPA AUTOPRO’s advertising campaigns are focused on accountability, resourcefulness, proximity and the fact that workshops promote an unpretentious and down-to-earth approach,” Boulanger says. “Your role as a customer experience representative is to deliver quality and quality services.”
Richard Castonguay, NAPA AUTOPRO workshop owner since 1983 and workshop management trainer, then spoke about the importance of comparing yourself with a view to improving yourself. He highlighted several indicators that workshop owners/managers should watch out for in order to grow their businesses.
“You have to go beyond sales and expenses. You have to go into detail, establish quantified objectives for each category of services and products and for each employee. For example, the technical advisor at the counter can be key to maximizing technical efficiency or increasing average invoice take-in through efficient schedule building or rigorous vehicle inspection.”
A healthy network
Martyn Johns, Director of Emerging Technologies at NAPA AUTOPRO provided an update on the most recent advances within the network. He highlighted the addition of 17 new NAPA AUTOPRO workshops across Canada since the start of the year. Training programs, including NexDrive, along with NAPA team member support are driving this growth, “We will continue to develop tools for you. What we want is to set you up for the next ten years so that you never have to say no to a client.”
As part of this National Convention, participants also got a chance to visit Halifax under good weather for the closing party in celebration of 40 years of NAPA AUTOPRO brand loyalty.
Above, in photos, are the highlights of this memorable anniversary conference.