LEADING WITH PASSION
With his decades of experience in the automotive industry, Craig Magill aims to ensure Burson Auto Parts and Bapcor remain leaders in the parts sector for the trade
Burson Auto Parts Executive General Manager, Craig Magill, has always loved cars right from when he purchased his first set of wheels, a Ford TC Cortina XLE 250.
He was born and raised in Parramatta (NSW) and after completing his High School Certificate he moved into a position as a Trainee Manager at Repco.
His passion for all things cars kept him at Repco for the next 23 years, moving through the roles of Trainee, Sales Representative, Store Manager, Regional Manager, Sales Manager and State Manager before he took on various national operational roles.
Following was a short stint with the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in Western Australia where he oversaw the workshop business, after which he joined Burson Auto Parts.
“I joined Burson Auto Parts in the role of General Manager of Sales and Marketing, then assumed responsibility for the entire Burson Auto Parts store network as General Manager of Operations. When the business was floated in 2014, I became the Executive General Manager of Burson Automotive,” Craig explains.
With petrol running through his veins, Craig says he never really considered leaving the automotive industry.
“Our industry has a tremendous range of opportunities for men and women; whatever the type of business, type of role or as geographically spread as you desire,” he said.
“This is a global market so your skills are also transferable beyond borders in this industry.”
He has the following advice for any newcomer into the industry.
“There are a couple of key things that I would advise new starters to consider: one, choose a path and company then channel your energy into something you enjoy – if you don’t enjoy what you do and the company you do it with, you won’t be happy nor stick with it,” he says.
“Secondly, set yourself career goals. If you know where you want to go you can put plans in place to get there and have a far better chance of achieving them as opposed to floating aimlessly.
“Thirdly, find positive mentors along your journey who can help you. From my own experiences, there are very few senior people who will not go out of their way to assist people who want to be helped with their career goals.
“And finally, opportunities come to those who are prepared. You may think the world owes you opportunities, but it is a very competitive world out there.
“There are opportunities out there every day, but these are not always advertised. Prepare and present yourself for success with three key things: attitude, presentation and education. If you do this you will be surprised with what crosses your path.”
Craig has lived his own advice by making sure he always had the best education well after leaving high school.
“I went out of my way on personal time to do further education and it set me apart from others during my career,” he says.
He is also a believer of not dwelling on the past and ‘what might have been’.
“I don’t like to focus on negatives,’ he explains.
“There is always a positive angle to take from any experience. I could have built more diversity into my work roles and experience base, but my specialisation of industry and operational workstream ended up helping me get to where I am.”
In his spare time, Craig loves getting out into the great Aussie outdoors.
“I love fishing, hunting and golf … one of my goals into the future is to have more time to enjoy them,” he says.
“I am also a big 4WD enthusiast and love going on big driving trips that enable my other hobbies and enhance my family life. I built a fully decked out Prado, which just went to a new home, and I’m now building a full-on 200 Series for my next Aussie adventure.”
Craig believes he has been “blessed” in his personal life.
“I met my wife a bit over five years ago and to say she completes me is the understatement of the year,” he says.
“I’m not sure I really knew what happiness truly was before that. Kristy is my best friend and we feel totally blessed to have been able to welcome our first child, a baby daughter named Ava, to the world last December. I’m not sure who to thank but I must be one of the luckiest guys around.”
Burson Auto Parts started in 1971 with the first store opening in the Victorian suburb of Braybrook after company founders Rod Burgoine (the “Bur” in Burson) and Garry Johnson (the “Son” in Burson) sold parts to mechanics from the boots of their cars in the late 1960s. This company has been and continues to be nothing short of an incredible Australian success story from those very humble beginnings.
Burson Auto Parts grew steadily until Gary Johnson decided it needed to move to new ownership in 2011 when he sold it to Private Equity and the leadership moved to a new Chief Executive Officer, Darryl Abotomey – the current Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of parent company Bapcor.
Burson Auto Parts grew quickly and delivered strong results leading to it becoming a public company in 2014. The group then changed names to Bapcor, a company whose entire focus is on the automotive aftermarket, encompassing many market leading companies across the trade, wholesale and retail automotive space and boasting an unparalleled footprint of 1000 locations across Australia and New Zealand.
Ever since becoming a public company, Burson Auto Parts has continued to grow rapidly, adding more than 100 stores in the past eight years. Its workshop equipment business has also grown with the addition of Precision Automotive Equipment and it is expected that this growth will continue well into the future.
Today Burson Auto Parts is a trade specialist supplier of Automotive aftermarket vehicle parts, accessories and workshop equipment. It specialises as a B2B trade supplier and says it is proud to be Australia’s preferred trade supplier of parts, tools and equipment; hence its tag line ‘Your Trade Specialist.’ The company services the automotive trade in Australia and in New Zealand its BNT business is very similar as it also specialises in the trade.
“We are also very proud that the Burson Auto Parts name and Australian trade service philosophy has now become international with the opening of Burson Auto Parts stores in Thailand. These are very exciting times and I encourage you to watch this space as Burson Auto Parts grows into the future,” Craig says.
He believes that the strength of the company is its people.
“We have great people, giving great service with great customer relationships,” Craig says.
“This is supported by having the right products available in our stores, simple processes and competitive pricing.
“You could say that our rapid geographical store growth was the driver that sparked the rapid financial expansion but focusing on our people and our business culture were key to making Burson Auto Parts what it is today.
“Taking what was an amazing cultural base from the old Burson Auto Parts days and working hard to keep these positive elements as the culture evolved for the modern era has enabled everything else to happen. You can’t grow at pace without great people doing their thing.
“Our great people are our competitive advantage. Our people deliver our customers excellent service. We are nothing without our people and our customers.”
However, like all companies, Craig says that Burson Auto Parts has its challenges ahead in a changing industry.
“The market is tough. It is consolidating and every customer has options. So finding and retaining great staff to deliver on the promise can be difficult,” he says.
“We put significant time and energy into staff training as we want to help our people grow and succeed within the Burson/Bapcor group of companies and we hope that this leads to them staying with us for a long time.
“If we look at the macro side of it, improving supply chain efficiency is a critical challenge going forward. Bringing efficiency in to reduce working capital and overall end to end cost reductions is vital to remain competitive in our increasing globally influenced market.
“Topically many people will talk about technology, introduction of electric vehicles and telematics as industry challenges and they are. But the market always has (and if we are smart always will) adapt to these challenges. They are opportunities as much as challenges for those who are up to it.”
Craig believes the key for any business is to remain focused on doing what you are good at to the best of your ability.
“Burson Auto Parts is a trade focused business. This specialisation is at its very core and we don’t want to waver from that focus,” he says.
“We still have plenty of growing to do; we are planning 60, 70 or 80 more stores in the next few years and we’d like to be perceived by all as the undeniable number one supplier of choice to the trade in Australia and any country that we choose to operate in!”
For more on Burson Auto Parts, please visit www.burson.com.au