Auto Service World
News   June 30, 2023   by Adam Malik

Why ‘normal’ is still elusive for distributors

From left, AIA Canada’s J.F. Champagne moderates a discussion with Mauro Cifelli of Groupe Del Vasto, Jasna Smiljcic from Gates Canada and Steve Leal of Fix Network World at AIA Canada’s National Conference

Automotive aftermarket distributors are looking for help on many issues from their supplier partners. Those providing that help are providing “tremendous value,” said one executive at a recent conference.

While suppliers might be seeing a return to normal on their end of things, Mauro Cifelli, president and CEO of Groupe Del Vasto, pointed out that ‘normal’ may mean one thing for suppliers but there’s a ‘new normal’ distributors are facing.

“In our case as the distributor, what that means is we are compensating for all of the volatility that’s in our supply chain,” he said at AIA Canada’s National Conference. “Inventories are sky high, our carrying costs are up and we’re trying to manage labour, we’re investing in technology and innovation to try to keep up with it with some of the volatility in the supply chain.”

Without the likelihood of returning to an ‘old normal,’ Cifelli called on suppliers and distributors to work closer together and collaborate more.

“As distributors, we’re going to continue to invest in transforming our business — that’s going to be critical,” Cifelli said during the Focus on the future – Industry leaders’ panel

He added that there was a need for technological innovation to drive operational excellence.

Jasna Smiljcic, senior director and country leader with Gates Canada, noted that while there’s a lot of competition based on research and development, she wants to see more partnerships at the distribution level.

Change and adapting to change will always be there, she stressed.

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