‘The Group’ Training Academy Provides Comprehensive Online Training for Automotive Professionals
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – Oct. 17, 2017 – Offering hundreds of hours of online automotive training courses for automotive service professionals, The Group Training Academy is the premier training resource in the auto care industry.
“The Group Training Academy gives automotive professionals the opportunity to train as often as they like when it’s most convenient for them,” said Robert Roos, vice president of sales and marketing, National Pronto Association. “The Group Training Academy features training for professional service technicians and parts professionals, plus sales and product training and business management courses, all to help our customers and members learn skills that boost their technical abilities, improve customer service and increase the bottom line.”
Available 24-hours-day, seven days a week, The Group Training Academy includes everything from ASE test prep to automotive, diagnostic, diesel, transmission, shop management and scan tool training videos, plus training resources, diagrams, reading materials, quizzes and interactive
resources. The training is in a video format designed especially for professional technicians.
Some of the key components of The Group Training Academy include:
Advanced Technical Training – ASE test prep, Hybrids, diesel, management, HVAC and diagnostic training and testing.
Sales & Product Training – Product tutorials, marketing videos and training content produced by aftermarket manufacturers which will help make informed buying decisions.
Business Management – Access to the The Group’s sales programs, marketing materials and content to help boost a stores profits and benefit customers.
To take a tour or to register online, visit www.thegrouptrainingacademy.com or call 1-800-718-7246 for more information.
YANG Members Hear From ‘The Group’ CEO Larry Pavey
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – August 30, 2017 – Larry Pavey, CEO of the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group), was invited to speak at a recent meeting of Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) members. The YANG meet-up was held on Sept. 13 in National Harbor, Maryland as part of the National Pronto Association Fall Shareholders Conference.
“I did not feel a history lesson would be of interest to a group of young leaders in our industry so my focus was on the future,” said Pavey. “We had a great discussion on the state of the auto care industry and the issues that everyone will be encountering in the next several years and beyond. I was very impressed by how informed and engaged the YANG attendees were. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but this old dog learned a few things from the Yangsters that we will be sharing with our membership.”
Over 45 young auto care professionals attended the YANG meet-up including members from distributors, suppliers and the Auto Care Association. Pavey’s presentation focused on the challenges confronting the auto care industry as well as opportunities for future growth. Two of the main issues discussed were the impact of potential legislation on the auto care industry as well as the issue of access to data. Among other topics discussed were electric vehicles, connected cars, mobility trends and autonomous vehicles. The event was sponsored by Pronto member A & Jay Automotive Warehouse Inc.
YANG was formed in January 2014 with a desire to help young professionals establish a circle of peers to grow with alongside their careers. YANG participants are future executive-level staffers of the auto care industry that see the value in establishing connections with other young professionals that will one day be business owners and key decision makers.
‘The Group’ Donates to AACF to Aid Hurricane Harvey Victims
Encourages Others to Give to Help Industry Members in Need
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – August 30, 2017 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) has made a $20,000 donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) to help auto care industry members impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
“After seeing news reports here in Texas and hearing accounts of the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, we knew we had to take action to help our fellow industry members,” said Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association. “Our donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation will help individuals that need it most and we encourage others in the industry to do what they can to assist AACF in their noble efforts.”
The AACF assists individuals and families of the automotive aftermarket. These individuals have fallen on hard times due to death, catastrophic illness, accident or disaster, and have exhausted all other available resources in maintaining a reasonable existence. The AACF is the only charity of its kind that focuses only on persons and their families employed in the automotive aftermarket.
“During tough times like these, we all need to extend a hand and support each other,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “Making a donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation will provide assistance and make a difference in the lives of fellow auto care professionals suffering from the effects of this catastrophic storm.”
To make a donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation or to seek assistance for someone in need, visit www.aacfi.org.
‘The Group’ Presents Top Supplier Partner Awards
Remy, Stant, SMP Honored for Sales and Service Excellence
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – May 22, 2017 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) recently presented four top supplier awards for sales and service excellence during its meeting for members and vendor partners in Kauai, Hawaii.
Remy Power Products, Stant Corporation and Standard Motor Products (SMP) were the recipients of the prestigious honors. Remy was recognized with two awards, receiving the “Outstanding Year over Year Dollar Sales Increase” and “National Accounts Sales Growth” awards. Stant Corporation received top honors for “Outstanding Year over Year Percent Sales Increase” and SMP was recognized for “Outstanding Order Fill Percentage.”
“The Group is focused on creating enhanced value for Federated and Pronto members, vendors and customers by working together as one,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “While our vendor partners have embraced The Group concept and are working closely with our members and their customers to help them achieve their goals, three suppliers are leading the way. We thank Remy, Stant and SMP for performing beyond expectations and congratulate them on these well-deserved honors for sales and service excellence.”
‘The Group’ Recognizes Two Members for Top Vendor Support
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – May 31, 2017 – APW Knox-Seeman Warehouse of Carson, California and Parts Authority of Rockville Centre, New York were recently honored by the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) for excellence in vendor support.
Parts Authority and APW Knox-Seeman Warehouse earned top honors by supporting the highest number of supplier partners approved by The Group. Their awards were presented at The Group meeting in Kauai, Hawaii by Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts and Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association.
“APW Knox-Seeman and Parts Authority are leading the way by working with our supplier partners, supporting their sales programs and, in turn, helping their customers be more successful,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “Without the strong vendor support by our membership, The Group would not be the tremendously successful venture it is today. We want to thank all of our members who have realized that the power of collaboration benefits every one of our member, vendor and customer stakeholders.”
The Group Highlights Vendor Partners
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – April 25, 2017 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) highlights vendor partners on its website and social media platforms. Website visitors can click on “vendor partners” at the top of the home page to learn about the various vendors, brands and products offered. Those following The Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheGroupAPSG and Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheGroupAPSG will see periodic posts and tweets showcasing vendor partners. For more information, visit www.thegroupapsg.com.
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‘The Group’ IT Conference Focuses on the Power of Collaboration
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – March 2, 2017 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group), a joint venture owned by Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association, recently held a four-day Information Technology (IT) Conference to review the progress of current technology initiatives and formulate future plans and objectives.
“We are always looking for ways to collaborate and add value for our members, suppliers and customers,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “This IT Conference brought together talent from both Pronto and Federated and resulted in a roadmap to address future technology needs and take advantage of the opportunities technology presents.”
In attendance were senior management from The Group, Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association, including Federated CEO Rusty Bishop and Pronto CEO Bill Maggs. Several members of Pronto and Federated also participated, including Herb Godschalk, co-president of Fisher Auto Parts and Robert Pesiri, chief technology officer of Parts Authority.
“A primary goal of The Group is to work together to find ways to improve productivity and profitability for all constituents,” said Maggs. “Through collaboration, we can leverage technology to enhance efficiency throughout the supply chain. We are dedicated to being the best in the industry.”
The Group IT Conference included discussions on a number of key topics, including data management and improved communication with members and suppliers; customer relationship management; electronic catalog enhancements; information integration and enhancement; data warehouse and member support; supplier data analytics; shop connectivity; and other customer support and integration issues.
“Technology has quickly become one of the most important areas of focus for our members and suppliers,” said Bishop. “While we already have many processes in place, our ongoing joint effort continues as we develop new systems and enhance current procedures to address member and customer needs. We look forward to continued success in this area.”
“By combining the strengths of both groups and focusing on how we can work together to improve, we can all benefit from the power of data management and availability,” said Pavey. “As we look to the future, our ability to integrate technical information, catalog data, labor costs and other information into a seamless connectivity model will enhance the value of our members’ services and our suppliers’ parts.”
‘The Group’ Meets with European Partners to Collaborate on Global Initiatives
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – February 6, 2017 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) and its European partner, AD International, recently met in Miami to discuss global trends and strategic initiatives that impact 1Parts constituents.
The 1Parts board meeting included representatives from ADI, Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association, as well as members of The Group management team. Discussions centered on such topics as market and OE trends; legislative concerns and impacts; customer connectivity and collaboration; enhancing supplier value; brand support activities; internet initiatives and growth opportunities.
“Each time we spend time with our European partners, we gain valuable insight into the many opportunities and challenges we all face and explore ways to capitalize on global trends impacting our members and our industry,” said Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association and co-CEO of 1Parts, the joint venture with ADI. “An important part of our mission is to identify best practices for vendor partnership and state-of-the-art support to our members and their customers.”
“The auto parts business has more global reach than ever before,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “The 1Parts board meeting gives us the chance to learn from our peers, have meaningful dialogue, and exchange information and ideas. By better understanding the global marketplace and how it impacts us now and in the future, we can work together to leverage resources and pursue common goals going forward.”
‘The Group’ Leadership Meetings, Vendor Expo Scheduled for May in Hawaii
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Va. – February 21, 2017 – With Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association planning their respective annual meetings on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i in May 2017, the leadership of the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) will also conduct meetings and a vendor expo at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort in Lihue, Hawaii.
The Group will focus on many key areas during its leadership, member and shareholder sessions, including telematics, information technology, training, national accounts, cataloging and the Co-Man warehouse. The vendor expo planned for May 17 will showcase valued supplier partners of The Group and will be followed by a special reception and dinner for all attendees.
“We are looking forward to Pronto and Federated coming together in the Aloha state to review activities, celebrate accomplishments and interact with colleagues,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “With supplier partners in attendance, we will have the chance to discuss key issues and opportunities facing our membership, receive input and direction from participants, and continue to formulate plans that are beneficial for all stakeholders.”
AMN Executive Interview With Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group – APSG)
Today we are joined by Rusty Bishop and Bill Maggs, who collectively serve as the top leadership of The Automotive Parts Services Group (APSG), the group formed between their two respective organizations, Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association. In this interview, they give us an update on year two for The Group and what’s ahead for the organization and the distribution segment as a whole.
We last interviewed you almost exactly a year ago, at which time you were just wrapping up the first year for The Group. Give us a brief update on where The Group stands today and some of the milestones from this second year.
Maggs: Wow, it has been a very busy year and a great deal has been accomplished. We have focused on creating value for our members and finding ways to improve wherever possible. We have entered into some new national account agreements, expanded The Group Training Academy, explored training initiatives with our European partners and pulled off a “combined” member meeting that was in the same town, at the same time, just not all in the same place due to prior contracts. In short, we are finding ways to be better together.
Bishop: Bill is right. It has been a busy year that far surpassed our expectations due to the collective talent involved. We have expanded the sharing of resources, including shared data support, electronic cataloging and the Co-Man warehouse. We have combined some IT initiatives, established a number of new reporting functions and explored new areas of potential collaboration. Our primary focus is to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness while delivering more value to our members, their customers and supplier partners.
In July, it was announced that you were evaluating both new and existing vendor relationships. Does this indicate further combination of efforts between Pronto and Federated?
Maggs: This really just represents an acceleration of our strategic plan. We saw tremendous support from our membership for new supplier programs with a unique focus on the value proposition we are providing. The response from our members and vendors to these initial programs led us to explore growth potential with many other existing suppliers, along with a few new ones. Our combined vision to deliver high-quality brand name parts, backed with outstanding service and support, while addressing changes in the marketplace, has resonated well with all stakeholders.
In announcing the vendor evaluation meetings, Mike Mohler, executive vice president of vendor relations and product strategy, stated, “While premium parts and sales support are still critically important aspects of our vendor relationships, the overall value proposition for the future is evolving…” Tell us more about that statement. What are some of the key changes The Group is addressing as a result of these evaluations?
Bishop: The world is changing and our partnerships must evolve to meet these changes. Today, we see tremendous emphasis on catalog data and other electronic information. We have members who are running paperless systems that require improved product information. We have international members with different needs and requirements that we have to support. The vehicles are more technical and professional technicians need better diagnostic information and training than ever before. Inventory management has become very challenging due to part, model and age proliferation. Speed has become part of the value proposition in everything we do and we have to constantly improve. Partnering with companies who understand this and are prepared to help us continue to evolve in delivering “more than just parts” is critical to our success. The Group is improving the value proposition in many ways under the capable direction of Larry Pavey.
Will The Group continue to maintain the separate Pronto and Federated brands?
Maggs: Pronto and Federated will continue to operate as separate program group members of APSG with their own marketing. The Pronto brand is recognized for delivering quality parts and service and our shareholders have invested in promoting it for many years. We will definitely continue to support it.
Bishop: Yes, Federated has been a leading marketer for many years and our brand has tremendous value. Our members have worked very hard to grow the Federated brand in the marketplace for their customers, as an example with Federated Car Care, and we will continue to support it.
Tell us where The Group stands on being active within the global aftermarket today. What have you learned from your most recent focus groups with global partners? Are there particular regions of the world you wish to focus on or see opportunities within?
Maggs: 1Parts was developed with the goal of finding ways to increase value for members. We have discovered that the potential benefit to all constituents is beyond what we imagined. Last month, a group of Federated and Pronto distributors and headquarters staff toured a number of ADI European locations. This trip included visiting warehouses, stores and shops in six countries, as well as exploring best practices in Europe. We visited a training center and discussed how to better utilize and share technical information and training support. We have already found ways to collectively improve in many areas and we’re just getting started. We have identified many areas of opportunity, including: global marketing, data sharing, shop support, connectivity and training. 1Parts will also be looking to add global members in regions such as Africa and Asia where it makes sense for all parties.
When it comes to the automotive aftermarket and the future of distribution, what keeps you up at night? And, on the contrary, what excites you most?
Maggs: Right now, it’s a pinched nerve keeping me up at night. But seriously, I think the biggest threat we face is keeping up with the tremendous speed of change. We have new vehicle technology, new competitors, new legislative challenges and the list goes on…it’s constant change. However, that is what makes this business so exciting. Working through APSG, talented Pronto and Federated members and our staffs give us an advantage and positive outlook for the future.
Bishop: I agree with Bill. We are enjoying working with Pronto and the areas of opportunity grow every day. With all the challenges that we have in today’s market, it is fortunate to have the APSG team in areas where a joint focus benefits everyone involved. Together, we are very optimistic about the future and, on a personal note, I am gratified to see so many young professionals in both of our groups. We have a great talent pool for the future that will ensure the continued success of our membership.
Larry Pavey Recognized With 2016 AWDA
Lifetime Achievement Award
BETHESDA, MD – November 8, 2016 – Larry Pavey, president of the Federated Auto Group and CEO of The Automotive Parts Services Group, was presented with the Martin Fromm Lifetime Achievement Award by the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) at its 2016 Annual Business and Education Conference in Las Vegas. Presenting the Award was AWDA’s current chairman, Cliff Hovis, Hovis Auto and Truck Supply.
The Martin Fromm Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have, over the course of many years, distinguished themselves through their unselfish commitment to, and high level of performance within, the motor vehicle aftermarket industry.
Pavey has spent his entire career in the automotive aftermarket, starting in sales at Walker Manufacturing, then on to the BWD division of Echlin. He served as vice president of marketing for Borg Warner, Niehoff and Whitaker brands. With Pavey at the helm, Echlin’s brake business made more than 20 acquisitions, becoming the largest brake supplier in the aftermarket industry. He served as president of Echlin’s North American Operations and then president of Dana’s Under Vehicle Group.
Today, Pavey serves as president of the Federated Auto Group and CEO of The Automotive Parts Services Group, a joint venture between National PRONTO Association and Federated. He has been active in many industry associations, serving on the boards of ASE, AAPA, MEMA, AAIA (now the Auto Care Association) and the AWDA Board of Governors.
“Larry’s integrity is probably his greatest passion. He is able to look at the industry as a whole and do what’s best for all of us,” said Brent Windom, president and CEO, Auto Plus and Pep Boys.
“Larry’s commitment to the aftermarket is long and varied,” said Tim Trudnowski, president and general manager, Automotive Jobbers Supply. ”He has worked on all sides of the supply chain. He is truly one of a kind.”
“Larry has served our industry in many ways – as a manufacturer and now as The Group’s leader,” said Richard Beirne, vice president, corporate development, Automotive Parts Headquarters. “Bringing two major groups together like Federated and PRONTO, he had to make a lot of things work. Larry is a quiet but effective leader who has had a major impact on our industry.”
For more information, visit www.autocare.org/awda.
About AWDA and the Auto Care Association
AWDA represents more than 600 top distributors and manufactures of motor vehicle parts nationwide. The 69-year old organization is a leading segment community of the Auto Care Association.
Based in Bethesda, Md., the Auto Care Association has nearly 3,000 member companies that represent some 150,000 independent automotive businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials and supplies, and perform vehicle service and repair. Visit www.autocare.org.
“The Group” Leverages Global Resources to Address New Training and Information Needs
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – August 17, 2016 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) has been conducting focus groups nationwide to identify and explore its customers’ future training and information needs and is working with global partners to provide best-in-class programs and resources.
With support from European partner ADI and its training provider Group Eina, The Group engaged various customer groups, including shop owners and service technicians, in markets around the country. The meetings included top management from Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association, representatives from ADI and Group Eina, distributor members and the management team from The Group.
“While we work closely with customers every single day, the focus group settings gave us the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with customers, learn about the challenges they face, and identify what we at The Group can do to assist them,” said Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association and co-CEO of 1Parts, the joint venture with ADI. “Our partners in Europe are delivering state-of-the-art support to their customers and together we are determining how we can adapt many aspects of their efforts to better serve customers here in North America.”
“Being able to meet and spend time with many of our most important constituents, customers and members, along with management from both Pronto and Federated and our European partners, allowed for some insightful exchanges,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “The focus groups gave us a better understanding of customer needs now and in the future, and will help us leverage global resources to successfully meet those needs going forward.”
About Automotive Parts Services Group
The Automotive Parts Services Group, also known as The Group, was created by the merger of efforts and resources of the Federated and Pronto program groups on behalf of their respective members, creating one of the largest automotive parts supply networks in North America. For more information, visit www.thegroupapsg.com.
Federated Auto Parts, headquartered in Staunton, Virginia, is one of the largest auto parts distribution and marketing organizations in North America. Federated is dedicated to supporting its customers with quality name brand parts, programs designed to grow their businesses, and experienced people who are knowledgeable in today’s evolving automotive technology. For more information, visit www.Federatedautoparts.com.
National Pronto Association is a North American organization headquartered in Grapevine, Texas and consisting of 92 shareholder owners. Pronto was formed in 1979 and is a leading automotive program distribution group with a focus on marketing, technology and buying. The group is a founding member of 1Parts Global Aftermarket Services, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Pronto members distribute name brand, OE and Pronto exclusive brand products. Pronto members are located in Canada, United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico. For more information visit www.Pronto-Net.com.
“The Group” Donates to Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation to Help Louisiana Flood Victims
Funds to Aid Auto Care Industry Members in Need
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – August 30, 2016 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) has made a donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) to help auto care industry members impacted by the devastating floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“After seeing news reports and hearing first-hand accounts of the unprecedented flooding in Louisiana, it was shocking to realize that the flood had destroyed so many businesses and homes of those who make their career in the aftermarket,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “Our members were asking how they could help and the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation is the perfect vehicle to reach individuals that need help.”
Since 1959, The AACF has assisted individuals and families of the automotive aftermarket. These individuals have fallen on hard times due to death, catastrophic illness or accident and have exhausted all other available resources in maintaining a reasonable existence. The AACF is the only charity that focuses only on persons and their families employed in the automotive aftermarket industry. The AACF has received requests for assistance due to the recent floods and will handle these and any new requests through their normal process.
“We want to thank the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation for providing assistance to those in our industry who need it most,” said Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association. “We are proud of our contribution to this important organization and encourage others in the industry to do the same. If each of us extends a hand and gives, together we can make a difference for our fellow auto care professionals in Baton Rouge and beyond.”
The Group has made a $10,000 donation with Federated and Pronto each donating $5,000 to assist AACF in assisting those individuals in need.
To make a donation to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation or to seek assistance for someone in need, visit www.aacfi.org.
“The Group” Partners with Automotive Service Association
Approved ASA Member-Shops to Receive Several Benefits from Partnership
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – August 8, 2016 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) has established a partnership with the Automotive Service Association (ASA).
“The Group is very excited about the opportunity to continue the development of our business relationship with ASA and its members,” said Murray Sullivan, executive vice president of business development and strategic accounts for The Group. “As independent warehouse distributors, Pronto and Federated members understand the struggles of independent service centers in today’s market. We look forward to working closely with ASA to ensure our mutual success well into the future.”
ASA member-shops that have an approved account with members of either the Federated or Pronto networks can take advantage of several benefits, including expedited parts delivery and preferred pricing on parts and supplies from participating Pronto and Federated members and their supporting auto parts store locations.
Other benefits include access to data warehouse tools that provide sales analysis information to customers on products purchased, return rates, warranty information and more. ASA member-shops also have access to training and marketing through The Group Training Academy at www.thegrouptrainingacademy.com and Banner Shop Programs at www.prontosmartchoice.com and www.federatedcarcare.com.
“The Group has been a longtime supporter of ASA,” said Dan Risley, ASA president and executive director. “They have been big supporters of NACE|CARS, as well as our recently launched regional training events. This is the next step in the evolution of this budding partnership. Their independent network of warehouse distributors aligns perfectly with our independent network of service and collision repair members. ASA members will greatly benefit from the strengthening of this relationship, as the additional resources and tools that are made available to them will help drive profitability and growth.”
The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry.
‘The Group’ Evaluates Supplier Partnerships
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – July 27, 2016 – Dedicated to building strong, long-term supplier partnerships on behalf of its members, the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) is evaluating new and existing vendor relationships with a focus on future growth and success.
“We are very fortunate to work with so many suppliers that seek to collaborate with our members and identify ways to ensure their programs are competitive both today and in the future,” said Mike Mohler, executive vice president of vendor relations and product strategy for The Group. “With the amount of change taking place so quickly in our industry, we have to take into account different considerations than in years past. While premium quality parts and sales support are still critically important aspects of our vendor relationships, the overall value proposition for the future is evolving and that requires us to have open, frequent communication with our supplier partners.”
The Group management team is in the process of meeting with many current and potential supplier partners to better understand each company’s long-term capabilities. To date, these meetings have often taken place at suppliers’ locations so that a broad array of topics can be discussed with top management as well as the entire management team.
“Meeting with suppliers’ management teams allows us the opportunity to explore in depth a variety of areas critical to our mutual success,” said Roy Kent, executive vice president of product strategy and business development for The Group. “While discussing topics such as new product plans, information, data support, training and technician programs which have always been important, we must now take the time to cover internet strategies, vehicle connectivity, diagnostic capabilities and a host of other subjects that have become essential to the success of our vendor relationships going forward.”
The Group’s Larry Pavey: ‘Anything You Can Do To Add Value’
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – July 5, 2016 – Counterman recently interviewed Larry Pavey, CEO of Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group), about the organization’s keys to success. http://www.counterman.com/158926/
C: What is one thing you want those working at either the warehouses, as drivers, category buyers, on the counter — to know about the keys to being successful today in the independent automotive aftermarket?
LP: Each and every job in an organization affects customers. It may be a direct impact, such as face-to-face or phone interaction, or indirect, like pulling an order or handling accounts receivable. Regardless, everyone in the company has an effect on the value of their business through their dedication to customer service and satisfaction. Employees are the biggest differentiator that a company has and their dedication and concern for customers makes a huge difference.
There are many ways an employee can add value, from simply having a positive, helpful attitude to investing in themselves through added training, new skills or expertise. In our industry, we all have the ability to enhance our own personal value by focusing on continuous improvement in all we do. So, whatever the job at hand, the key is to do your best and always look for ways to improve that will benefit your company and its customers. Every business has competition and every small advantage can make a difference, so anything you can do to add value will help make you and your company more successful.
C: What does the aftermarket need to do to compete (or can it?) against vehicles that are increasingly technologically advanced and more difficult to repair and new car dealerships that are adept at luring customers back for service, not knowing they have less-expensive options?
LP: The auto care industry has served the motoring public for almost 100 years with technicians and shop owners using their entrepreneurial spirit and unique talents as small business owners to adapt to constant change. They have seen many technology changes driven by performance, legislative or environmental factors, and while vehicle technology is changing at the speed of light today, they will continue to adapt effectively given a level playing field and equal opportunity.
The aftermarket has always been a community where participants help each other with sharing of information and experience, and this will continue to be important. As an industry, we must support education and technical training initiatives of the integrated electronics found in most major vehicle systems today. Through dedicated suppliers and distributors, training and technical information can be provided at low or no cost to help customers improve skills and stay up-to-date. For example, The Group has developed The Group Training Academy to serve Federated and Pronto members and their customers with a single technical training web portal. This effort will grow and be enhanced to meet customer needs.
With the advanced electronic content and integrated software in today’s vehicles, it is becoming much more difficult to obtain data for and from the vehicle. We need to work together to ensure that information is available for aftermarket participants to compete effectively and should support legislation to protect the consumers’ right to own the data from the vehicles they purchase. As in other industries, we need car manufacturers to embrace the aftermarket as an important part of their customer service efforts, because if the ability to read repair codes or reprogram computers is limited, it will have an adverse effect on the entire automotive industry from an affordability and convenience standpoint. The aftermarket has served the car manufacturers and their customers well for many years and will continue to do it effectively given the opportunity.
C: What is one thing that is least known about your group?
LP: The Automotive Parts Services Group is only about 18 months old, so there is probably a great deal that is not known about us. APSG or The Group is owned equally by Federated Auto Parts and National Pronto Association and was established to work jointly in areas that benefit members, suppliers and customers of both program groups.
Our main focus is in areas such as training and education, IT and data, national accounts and other initiatives where working together brings added value to all constituents. Our goal is to assist and provide value to over 150 family-owned businesses that compete with much larger competitors by utilizing the combined resources and expertise of Pronto and Federated. These member companies work with valued supplier partners to support the needs of quality repair outlets that serve motorists who depend on their vehicles. Through this collaboration of efforts and resources, we can focus on the future needs of all constituents and embrace the one constant in our industry…change. With enhanced vehicle technology, integrated electronic interfaces and an explosion of information and data requirements, the aftermarket is becoming much more collaborative. We have taken the first steps in an exciting journey.
Federated, Pronto Hold First Joint Vendor Expo as
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – April 18, 2016 – Pronto shareholders and Federated members came out in force to attend the inaugural Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) Vendor Expo held April 13 at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The highly successful event showcased valued supplier partners of The Group and was followed by a well-attended reception at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak resort.
“Since its formation, The Group has seen strong support from its members, shareholders and supplier partners and that was evidenced by the size and scope of the vendor expo,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “We are very pleased with the large turnout and positive feedback received. The quality brand name products and vendor programs on display will surely create valuable opportunities for everyone associated with The Group.”
The Group vendor expo was held in conjunction with the National Pronto Association and Federated Auto Parts national meetings and provided a chance for stakeholders to exchange product information, discuss issues and opportunities, and pursue sales strategies. Attendees of both national meetings were updated on activities conducted by The Group, including information technology, telematics, training, national accounts, cataloging and the Co-Man warehouse.
The Group Training Academy: The One-Stop Place for All Training Needs
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – June 15, 2016 – Offering complete solutions for customers’ training needs, The Group Training Academy is an interactive learning environment that offers leader-led live screen training sessions and serves as a 24-7 online school. This comprehensive website is designed to offer a complete training environment for all constituents. The program supports training for members with complete courses for counter sales and management skills and features a tracking and management system. The section for professional service technicians houses over 180 hours of streaming automotive, diagnostic, diesel, transmission, shop management and scan tool training videos and provides an opportunity for suppliers to integrate their training.
The Group Training Academy utilizes a variety of platforms to deliver information, such as hi-definition video content, augmented reality, 3D and digital animation, in order to provide clear and concise illustrations of vehicle systems and repairs, as well as interactive live stream events on the changes in technology, methods of repair and diagnostics. For more information, visit www.thegrouptrainingacademy.com.
‘The Group’ to Hold Leadership Meetings in Arizona
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – April 6, 2016 – With Federated members and Pronto shareholders converging in Arizona next week for their respective annual meetings, the leadership of the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) will also conduct meetings in the Grand Canyon state.
“Pronto and Federated members from around the country and beyond will come together in Arizona next week, so it is an opportune time for The Group leadership to meet and discuss plans and strategic actions that benefit all stakeholders,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “We have made tremendous progress in year one of our partnership so this meeting is a chance to celebrate our accomplishments, discuss issues and opportunities facing our members, and receive input and direction from all participants.”
The Group will focus on many key areas during its leadership meetings and member and shareholder sessions, including information technology, telematics, training, national accounts, cataloging and the Co-Man warehouse. The Group’s supplier partners will participate in a vendor expo on April 13 and a special reception will be held for all attendees.
‘The Group’ Moves Forward on Key Initiatives
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – April 20, 2015 – Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – April 20, 2015 – Leadership of the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) met April 13-14 at the Fairmont hotel in Dallas, prior to the start of the Pronto spring membership meeting, to review and finalize several strategic initiatives. Over 500 Pronto members and suppliers were also given an update on The Group’s activities.
“We are very proud of the progress made in the 15 weeks since Federated and Pronto joined forces,” said Bill Maggs, president and CEO of the National Pronto Association and co-CEO of The Group. “We continue to find opportunities to improve support and services for the benefit of our members and suppliers. Because the culture of the two organizations is very similar, with a focus on creating value and continuous improvement, the formation of The Group is an exciting opportunity for all of us.”
The Group leadership reviewed a number of important programs where Pronto and Federated hav combined efforts for the benefit of members and supplier partners, including:
During the Pronto membership meeting, various presentations and question and answer sessions were conducted by The Group, and vison statements were made by leadership on the benefits of collaboration and working together.
“Meeting in Dallas gave us the opportunity to conduct a high-level review with top leadership as well as update the entire Pronto membership on the significant progress made in a number of critical areas,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts and co-CEO of The Group. “It also gave us the chance to share some exciting advancements with our supplier partners and hear many valuable ideas and suggestions first-hand from members and suppliers.”
‘The Group’ IT Summit Identifies Best Practice Opportunities
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – March 30, 2015 – The Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group), created by the merger of Federated and Pronto, held an IT Summit
The initial focus of the summit was a review of joint activities with immediate benefit to members from both original groups as well as an assessment of progress in several key areas. These initiatives were part of plans developed at the time of the December 2014 merger and their progress was reviewed. In addition, action plans and support analysis were developed by the combined team for future initiatives.
“Bringing together members of both IT departments for an update and brainstorming session was overdue,” said Bill Maggs, co-CEO of The Group and CEO of National Pronto Association. “This was an excellent meeting. It was exciting to see the progress and opportunities to improve support for our members and supplier partners.”
Presentations were made in a number of key areas with a focus on identifying best practices and improvement potential, including:
• Data warehouse processes and information
• National account reporting and management systems
• Electronic catalog benefits and opportunities
• Pricing and PIES information management
• Inventory planning processes and management
• EDI processes and efficiencies
• Infrastructure support and improvement
• Installer support and opportunities
• Telematics potential
“These meetings really demonstrate the potential to create more value through the merger,” added Rusty Bishop, co-CEO of The Group and CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “Even though both groups have small staffs focused on IT, we have some of the most talented individuals in the industry and really feel good about what has been accomplished.”
There were four members each from Federated and Pronto in attendance, along with two invited guests from Fisher Auto Parts, who reviewed some recent studies and tests that could be beneficial to all members of The Group.
“The opportunity to share information and analysis in areas such as member portals, cloud server options and VIC create benefits for all of us and avoids the need for redundant activity,” stated Herb Godschalk, co-president of Fisher Auto Parts and chairman of the Federated IT committee. “While we enjoyed the opportunity to share some insights, we also learned a great deal in the session. Working together will definitely provide benefits.”
The combined IT team will hold their next meeting during the Pronto full membership meeting in April with all in attendance. The ongoing merger activities will focus on value creation and benefits by leveraging The Group’s combined resources for continued improvement.
The Group Presents at AASA Vison Conference
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – March 18, 2015 – Bill Maggs and Larry Pavey gave “The Scoop on the Group” to over 200 attendees at the 2015 Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) 2015 Vision Conference on March 17 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The presentation focused on the merger of Federated and Pronto to form the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group).
Maggs, president and CEO of the National Pronto Association and co-CEO of The Group, and Pavey, president of Federated Auto Parts, discussed with the AASA audience the benefits of the merger to members, customers and vendor partners and how Federated and Pronto have been successfully working together to create a dynamic infrastructure for The Group.
“We are in a business where change is constant and we all have to look at how to adapt to a changing market,” said Maggs. “It is also important to anticipate change and position to take advantage of it, and the leadership of both Pronto and Federated did just that. The value in this merger comes in the mutual respect of both their management and members. Our focus is on building value for the members we serve, finding ways to better serve customers and suppliers, and creating opportunities for associates. In short, The Group was created to provide a vehicle for collaboration to improve everything we do.”
“We are dedicated to working with suppliers to deliver an enhanced value proposition as we promote high quality national brands to our professional service providers,” said Pavey. “This is a foundational pillar of The Group, and we have the scope to help suppliers deliver maximum value to the end user through increased innovation and creativity.”
The presentation concentrated on the importance of data in the future of the auto care industry.
“We believe that substantial investment is required in this area and we will be working together to maximize effectiveness,” Maggs told the Vision Conference audience. “The ability to provide accurate and timely information will help us all create added value in the products you provide, while reducing non-value costs and creating differentiation through enhanced user experiences.”
"The Group” Leadership Meets to Chart Growth Strategy
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – Feb. 16, 2015 – A strategic planning session for the recently formed Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) was held Feb. 9-11 in Costa Rica. The Group was formed through the merger of the Pronto and Federated program groups with a goal to maximize effectiveness through a combination of efforts and resources.
Focused on continued collaboration, the productive session was a joint review of operations and programs. Members from Federated leadership and Pronto staff and board of directors were in attendance. Steve Yanofsky, chairman of Pronto from The Parts Authority, opened the meeting by stating, “We are excited about the opportunity to explore many areas that can be improved for the future and we want to expedite the process wherever possible. It is no longer us and them; it is now just all of us together in The Group.”
During the meeting, the combined group reviewed progress and joint plans in areas including national accounts, training, telematics, IT, marketing, supplier programs and future meeting consolidations. Updates were provided by staff members from both Federated and Pronto on joint projects with objectives, timetables and action plans developed.
“We are better positioned to thrive in this highly competitive landscape as members of The Group,” said Bo Fisher, chairman of Federated from Fisher Auto Parts. “We benefit from the numerous ongoing efforts of constant improvement initiated by The Group and we feel this affiliation is similar to the Disney/Pixar merger where two successful companies came together to significantly improve results.
“We could not be more proud of the positive steps we have taken and the people that we have taken them with. While additional critical achievements are necessary, we are on our way to enhancing line commonality, improving member services and increasing profitable growth.”
Discussions were held on a number of strategic initiatives for the combined membership including: Co-Man warehouse, electronic cataloging, supplier relationships, national accounts, line commonality, data warehouse, customer support and propagation of best practices.
A video conference was held with partners from the 1Parts Global Affiliation to update all participants on the progress of key actions as well as discuss efforts to collaborate on joint initiatives. The Group also reviewed industry trends and discussed innovative approaches to increase mutual success and enhance sales growth with top supplier executives in attendance. Plans were outlined for future work sessions to be held in the coming weeks.
“The Group” Holds First Strategic Planning Meeting
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – Jan. 8, 2015 – Management of the newly formed Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group) held its first joint strategic planning meeting Jan. 5-6 in Staunton, Va. The meeting marked the first time that co-CEOs, Bill Maggs from Pronto and Rusty Bishop from Federated, brought together some of their key staff members for a strategic planning exercise.
The two-day meeting included a tour of the 370,000 sq. ft. Co-Man warehouse complex and a discussion of the future plans for expansion and shared utilization. There were also presentations and discussions on data management and process sharing, electronic catalog capabilities, technology programs and various member support functions.
Plans were developed for supplier relationships and line review processes, and goals were established for various improvement initiatives. Growth strategies were discussed and new member applications for both Federated and Pronto were reviewed and evaluated.
A major area of focus was national account support with a review of each program. Plans were created to improve coverage and service to these important customers. A decision was made for The Group to operate as one entity with these major accounts immediately in order to facilitate better service, availability and a streamlined administrative process. The combined national account team will meet several times in the next month to execute plans.
“To see the value this merger will bring to our members to help grow their businesses is exciting and to begin implementing some of the joint strategies is really rewarding,” said Maggs.
During the meeting, there was also a focus on the global market with a review of the 1Parts strategy that provides strategic interface with suppliers and distributors around the world. Discussions centered around trends and opportunities for global collaboration.
Future meeting dates for The Group were reviewed and joint membership meetings were planned as early as 2016. Federated management is planning to attend the Pronto board of directors meeting in mid-February 2015 and several other future meetings will be scheduled together.
“Watching the tremendous talent from both organizations working together was inspiring,” stated Bishop. “The results will have outstanding benefits for our members and their customers.”
Federated Auto Parts Distributors and National Pronto Association Announce Merger
Grapevine, Texas and Staunton, Virginia – Dec. 10, 2014 – National Pronto Association and Federated Auto Parts announced today they are merging their efforts and resources in a number of key areas with a focus on being “best in class” in providing overall value and support within the auto care industry. This newly formed organization will be known as “Automotive Parts Services Group” or simply “The Group.”
“This association is based on the desire to continually improve services and value for the entire set of Pronto and Federated suppliers, members and customers throughout the aftermarket,” explained Bill Maggs, CEO of National Pronto Association.
“We believe it provides increased value for our constituents and a foundation for continued success in serving the industry,” said Rusty Bishop, CEO of Federated Auto Parts. “Both Pronto and Federated headquarters will remain in place and continue to support their respective members’ needs and marketing programs while progressing to shared resources in all areas that offer efficiencies and improvement opportunities to remain competitive in a changing market.”
“Recognizing the industry is evolving faster than ever, we wanted to take a proactive stance to lead the traditional automotive distribution channel into the future. Both Pronto and Federated are thriving and growing organizations. By combining two of the major program groups we will be positioned to compete successfully in our rapidly consolidating industry,” added Maggs.
“Our members have significant investments in our marketing names (Federated and Pronto) plus numerous support programs,” said Larry Pavey, president of Federated Auto Parts. “We will build on that strong history and are confident we will make a more profound impact in the market working together.”
“The Pronto and Federated affiliation will provide meaningful benefits for our members and vendors,” said Yvan Domingue, chairman of National Pronto Association. “We are always looking for continuous improvement in all areas of our business and this union is a logical next step towards insuring our mutual continued success.”
The combined organization will operate more than 5,000 locations in North America with estimated member revenue of approximately $7 billion.