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Doing aftermarket business internationally requires new leadership skills

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 06:00
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The global marketplace literally offers a world of opportunity for the automotive aftermarket. Consider this:

• there are more than 1 billion vehicles on the road globally;

• 70 percent of the world’s vehicles are outside the U.S.;

• vehicle parc growth rates are three times higher outside the U.S. and the United Kingdom; and

• China alone has more than 120 million vehicles on its roads.

But the global marketplace is far different from what U.S. aftermarket professionals know and have experienced. Doing business internationally requires a new set of leadership skills.

For example, how do you manage across different cultures and, most important, build cross-culture teams and management? How do you navigate the potential mine field of international business customs and government relations? What is the best way to track global economics and global aftermarket trends?

To meet the pressing need to develop new leadership skills for the global aftermarket, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) is collaborating with the University of the Aftermarket to present a leadership training program, beginning in 2017. “Leadership 3.0: The Global Aftermarket” will hold its inaugural session on June 3 through June 9, 2017 in Shanghai, China.

AASA is committed to supporting this vital University of the Aftermarket program as the business interests of our supplier members are becoming more global. Participating in international markets presents special leadership challenges, and the need for targeted professional development for U.S.-based aftermarket executives is clear.

It also is fitting that the first University of the Aftermarket Leadership 3.0 is being held in Shanghai. China offers the largest long-term growth potential for the automotive aftermarket.

Through the AASA China Aftermarket Forum (CAF), AASA will assist Leadership 3.0 by providing professional networking opportunities and local site visits with AASA member companies doing business in the China aftermarket. The 2017 Leadership 3.0 course also will include guest lectures from North American and Chinese aftermarket leaders, as well as the U.S. Consulate General. The entire program will be conducted in English.

More information about Leadership 3.0 is available at the AASA website, www.aftermarketsuppliers.org, and the University of the Aftermarket website, http://www.northwood.edu/aftermarket/ in the “Course Calendar” section.

For those seeking more information specifically about the Chinese aftermarket, AASA and the CAF are presenting its Aftermarket Summit on Friday, Dec. 2, in Shanghai, featuring presentations by Steve Ganster of Technomic Asia and John Washbish of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. The event will be held concurrent with Automechanika Shanghai, set for Wednesday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 3. More details are at the AASA website, www.aftermarketsuppliers.org.

Editor’s note: Jay Burkhart is AASA vice president, chief strategy officer and executive director of the AASA China Aftermarket Office. Based at the global headquarters of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Burkhart provides strategic guidance and global aftermarket direction to Dr. Yilong Chen, managing director of the new MEMA China Center in Shanghai, also the location of the AASA China Aftermarket Office. Burkhart recently joined AASA after 16 years with Federal-Mogul, including the role of senior vice president, global aftermarket. He also previously served as vice president of global marketing at Tenneco Inc.

The AASA China Aftermarket Forum (CAF) is a peer group comprised of members of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association with operations in the People’s Republic of China. Its mission is to support the growth of member companies’ business within the Chinese automotive aftermarket. The CAF accomplishes this mission through offering opportunities to meet with peers and other selected constituencies, facilitating collaboration among the members, and representing member interests via coordinated member participation in relevant industry groups

AASA (www.aftermarketsuppliers.org) exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products that support 710,000 employees in the United States. AASA is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members. AASA is the light vehicle aftermarket division of MEMA.


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