SETTING THE COURSE FOR THE FUTURE
New strategic plan focuses on what really matters for the Aftermarket industry
I would like to open up with a confession: I love a refreshed Strategic Plan!
You’re probably filled with a sense of dread and I am certainly challenged by the task of how I could possibly make this article as interesting as it should be.
I am actually incredibly excited about our new plan because it focuses on what really matters. That’s what a Strategic Plan represents; a shared vision about what’s important and whether we can make a real difference. I think it does matter what we focus on, because it is a window into what is important to our industry here in Australia and globally.
This is what we care about:
1. The unity of our industry
I was incredibly moved by the speeches at this year’s Expo. So many award winners mentioned they were grateful that the AAAA brings the industry together. I have to confess that’s what we do when we have an issue or a campaign, it’s simply the way we do our job. But I had never really appreciated this as an end in itself and I hadn’t fully appreciated the value that bringing the industry together delivers until I listened to so many industry leaders point this out in their acceptance speeches. I appreciate it now.
That’s why a key pillar of our new plan is Industry Unity. We are going to work even harder to bring the industry together to create shared purpose and belonging. And that’s not because I am fond of a group hug – a focus on Industry Unity is about encouraging more collaboration between the companies in our industry for increased business opportunities. We can’t take full advantage of these incredible opportunities for collaboration until we all come together and our efforts in the next 12 months will be to put more emphasis on this valued work.
The Unity pillar is also about our advocacy efforts. When we cooperate and come together as we have done in the past five years, we become a very powerful industry. We will look to continue to create and leverage our cohesiveness for industry advocacy including raising the reputation and standing of our industry amongst our valued customers, our supporters and government.
2. Preparing for the future
There is so much noise and conflicting views about the future, we could all be forgiven for simply throwing our hands in the air and just focusing on the business that is in front of us today. There is so much news about electric, connected, autonomous and shared vehicles, so what’s really important here? Which of these is a threat, which is an opportunity and which ones represent both? What is coming first? What things should I pay attention to? These are pretty tough questions aren’t they?
That’s why we see a major pillar of our plan taking the role of Future Alert. It is our job to monitor and anticipate future industry trends. It is our job to offer threat warnings and to find growth opportunities and we will do more of that in the coming year. We think it is entirely reasonable that you would expect a leading industry association to know what’s going on, what matters and more importantly, to translate that into what it all means for the business decisions of today and tomorrow. It is our job to sound the alarm on the future and provide advice on what you can do now to prepare. Get ready to see more of this in the coming months.
3. A voice for our industry
We are often accused by Members of Parliament and bureaucrats of being annoyingly persistent and resilient in our advocacy efforts. We certainly make no apologies for that and we will continue to be the Industry Voice.
We will strenuously defend and promote the reputation of our industry and we will continue to campaign against the anti-competitive and misleading behaviour of the multi-national car companies. And it’s a long list of issues: Choice of Repairer, mandatory data sharing, servicing under warranty, ‘capped price’ service programs, so called ‘genuine parts’ and vehicle modification/vehicle standards regulations. We will be stepping up our efforts in this area to the next level – and yes, that is possible, so watch this space.
4. Contributing to the strength of our members
I believe that what we do every day results in business benefits to our members. We know that our industry is more profitable and more sustainable because the AAAA was formed nearly 40 years ago. But despite this, we have adopted Member Strength as our fourth pillar. We will continue to provide services that support businesses, but the point of adopting this pillar is to adopt a mindset. We need to make sure that this question is asked of everything we do: does this result in business growth? Are automotive businesses more profitable and sustainable because we exist and provide advocacy and services? We will be talking more about profitability and growth – we know that you think about it every day and we will too.
I don’t know if I have succeeded in encouraging a level of interest about our new four pillar strategic plan. You might not be as excited as I am, but I will say that if you thought in the past that we have a great industry association that cares about our industry and really makes a difference; to individuals, to businesses and to the industry – well buckle up people, we have big plans for the future, starting today.