Jon Palazzo, the vice president and general manager, mechanical, at OEConnection, has a broad picture of the auto industry. He shares his thoughts on the ramping up of tech and what it means for business.
Vice President and General Manager, Mechanical, OEConnection
What is the most important area auto repair shops should be investing in for their business?
While investing in your personnel is always the number one most important area, a close number two is technology. With cars becoming increasingly more complex to repair, auto repair shops responsible for fixing these cars can’t be operating in the Stone Age. Improved efficiencies come naturally with the integration of technology — like Shop Management Systems, online parts ordering and diagnostic tools. You must continuously focus on process-improving technology.
How has the technology landscape changed in the last five years in the auto care industry?
It’s important to point out technology isn’t created on its own. It’s actually people who create a need where technology fills that gap and infiltrates our lives. So new methods of communication and time-sensitive solutions have naturally integrated in auto care. Five years ago, shops couldn’t find genuine OE parts online, so we developed RepairLink, our mechanical online OE parts solution. Today we have a growing customer base of over 30,000 repair shops looking for OE parts.
What should every auto shop owner know about running their own facility?
The auto industry is changing, and fast. In 2014, not many hybrid/electric cars were in your bays. The technology in these vehicles has become the central nervous system of the auto industry, and these vehicles are changing your business. Technological advancements aren’t slowing down – just think of driverless cars regularly making headlines. So the way you do business can’t remain the same. It’s ok to be cautious, but it’s not ok to be idle.