“We are making sure that our clients are well equipped with the new technologies that are coming to the market, and we want our customers to be successful in their business as well. That’s why our position is of being a value-added supplier. Not just a supplier of parts but a supplier with a complete platform that allows us to support our customers’ growth, because as our customers grow and prosper, we can grow and prosper alongside with them. That, of course, has been part of our formula and strategy that proved itself for us in the past, and we see this approach to pay a dividend so-to-speak in the future.” — Bob Cushing, President and CEO
WORLDPAC Canada originally started under the name Metrix – World Source One, a distributor of OE (original equipment) replacement parts for European automobiles in 1987 in Mississauga, Ont., and throughout the 1990s expanded through Quebec and Western Canada, both organically and in a series of acquisitions. In 1997, Metrix merged with Interco, a distributor of European and Asian replacement parts and became Metrix – The Parts Warehouse. In 1999 WORLDPAC acquired Metrix. Since that time WORLDPAC Canada has grown from five to 19 branches with over 300 employees. The company plans to launch additional locations later this year, continues to identify new markets and expand the existing ones in Canada and North America. Overall, WORLDPAC North America has grown from 35 to over 100 branches in the past eight years.
“With our continued expansion, we are constantly creating new management and sales positions that need to be filled. Wherever possible we promote from within our organization. WORLDPAC has many internal training programs for our teammates, empowering them with the skills to further their career. When filling positions externally, we always look to expand our bench strength by hiring individuals who have industry experience and want to be part of a team environment. At WORLDPAC, ‘Our people are the difference’, is a quote that is posted in every WORLDPAC location,” says Jason Yurchak, Vice President – Canada.
Import nameplate vehicles have been gaining market share on the Detroit Three (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) over the past two decades. In 2007, 64.8 per cent of the vehicles registered in Canada were of the Detroit Three nameplate. By 2011, this figure decreased to 55.4 per cent. The import nameplates currently account for 44.6 per cent of the Canadian light vehicle registrations. By 2015, it is forecasted that the Detroit Three will account for 51.1 per cent of total light vehicle registrations versus 48.9 per cent for import nameplates according to the AIA Canada – Automotive Aftermarket Demand Study.
“For the most part, when you look at the recent trends for 2013, the forecast is 16 million new vehicles being sold; we know that the imports are a predominant share of that. Another major trend out there is the age of the vehicles, where imports broke nine years. From our vantage point that’s more and more strength to the aftermarket and more and more opportunity for our customers,” says Cushing.
In 2011, the average Canadian spent $874 on vehicle maintenance and repairs, and it is estimated that the total aftermarket retail sales reached $19.4 billion, where the automotive parts market accounted for $11.2 billion or 57.7 per cent (the remaining $8.2 billion or 42.3 per cent, was generated through labour).
The industry also offers additional market potential of approximately $12 billion in unperformed vehicle maintenance. With rising costs of vehicles and overall economic uncertainty drivers hold onto their vehicles longer, meaning that focus shifts from car sales to car maintenance.
Value Added OE Parts Provider
WORLDPAC Canada keeps its finger on the pulse of the latest technologies, ability to adapt to the demands of the market and customers, and agility in regards to adding value for the customers and going beyond customers’ expectations. WORLDPAC has been doing just that, creating a service where high quality automotive parts are just a tip of the iceberg, attracting and retaining customers through a comprehensive list of value added services.
WORLDPAC’s speedDIAL Parts Catalogue and Fulfillment Ordering System is the most widely-used and advanced program in the industry, allowing customers 24/7 access to both local and national inventories. The company continues to enhance this system, and soon will provide Canadian customers with the opportunity to see OE parts availability not only for its Canadian locations, but also from company’s U.S. locations and vice-versa, letting customers find the right product from WORLDPAC’s offering of over 100,000 products across all makes and models.
The company launched WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI) that provides both business and technical training for automotive service providers throughout North America.
The business training assists professionals in growing their business and profitability, including education towards business operations, increased productivity and profits, financial management, employee management, marketing and service advisor training.
New car technologies come into the market fast. These technologies are highly demanding and vary from make to make, creating training challenges for car maintenance professionals, requiring comprehensive introduction and education in these technologies in order to provide quality service to customers. WTI technical training provides advanced, carline-specific diagnostic training that is designed explicitly for independent repair professionals.
“Our trainers are factory trained on late model applications such as electrical diagnostics, etc. We take that factory training to our customers to make sure that their repair shops are equipped to work on the late model vehicles and continue to succeed,” says Yurchak.
Today, over 40 first-rate WORLDPAC instructors conduct classes throughout North America and over 30,000 technicians, business owners, service advisors, etc. benefitted from WTI’s support.
Adding on value, WORLDPAC also offers its customers professional tools and equipment to execute the repairs, turning WORLDPAC into a true one stop shop for the automotive professionals. The professional products include everything from diagnostic tools and air compressors, to air, hand and specialty tools, service lifts, shop heating and everything a professional repair shop may require.
Supplier & Training EXPO
Supplier & Training EXPO has been WORLDPAC’s latest initiative and crown jewel of the company’s initiatives. Once again, the goal is to add value to help customers succeed in the changing automotive aftermarket environment by providing exclusive technical and business training, and product knowledge directly from suppliers.
The event has been a smash. The 2012 event – the company’s second event – welcomed over 80 leading suppliers, including tool and equipment manufacturers, and over 40 of the industry’s most respected technical and business training instructors, hosting over 1,000 independent repair professionals from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
“Our 2012 Supplier and Training EXPO achieved the goals we set to further support our commitment to our customers and suppliers. The Training Program, taught by the industry’s leading instructors, provided our customers a comprehensive business and technical training curriculum designed to meet the demands of growing their business in a challenging business environment. The Supplier portion of the EXPO provided our suppliers – all world class manufacturers – the opportunity to meet the industry’s leading automotive professional business owners, technicians and service writers to discuss their products and programs,” says Cushing.
Mario Recchia, Senior Vice-President, Marketing added that, “It is important that WORLDPAC connects our customers with the resources needed to remain successful in the aftermarket. We believe our advanced-level technical training complemented with professional OEM level tools creates an opportunity for the independent service centre to grow their business and remain competitive. Our partnership with OEM diagnostic companies is based upon us offering the independent repair professionals the very best solutions when dealing with the advanced complexities of today’s vehicles.”
WORLDPAC plans to hold its third event in May 2014 in Orlando, Fla., and expects to draw over 1,200 independent repair professionals including over 100 from Canada.
WORLDPAC’s charitable foundation (run in conjunction with its sister company CARQUEST) contributes to many national and local charities. The “Dollars for Doers” initiative provides contributions for WORLDPAC’s teammates’ requests for supporting local events.
Besides this, the company raises funding for local charities through the company’s annual golf tournament. This tournament raised over $20,000 in 2012; the company also became a major sponsor for the Ted Woloshyn (well-known Toronto broadcaster) 25th annual charity golf classic in support of the Childrens Breakfast Club which provides nutritious, well-balanced and appetizing breakfasts for needy children in the GTA.
“We operate in many communities, so we have a lot of local involvement, but more importantly, it’s our goal to continue to grow and hire new teammates. We hire roughly 100 new teammates every single year, doing our share in supporting the local economies,” says Cushing.
Overall, WORLDPAC’s business strength and agility come from within, from its operating committee that offers decades of experience in various aspects of the automotive aftermarket, continuously discussing and working on new strategies. “I think that we are very progressive in our thinking, and we are very mobile — we move with the market. While we are flexible, we also remained focused on one thing: making sure that we provide value to our customers, and making sure that we provide our customers – the import specialty repair shops – all the tools they need to be successful. We never lose sight of that. That’s why we were able to build a business model that in my opinion is one of the world class models,” concluded Cushing.