regional report

Canadian Dealers:The How-To Guide for Strengthening Your Operations at AED Summit

Get those passports ready! With the AED Summit approaching in Vegas, January 15-19, equipment dealers across Canada should be making plans to attend, for several reasons. More than half of all AED dealers in Canada attend the Summit, to take a step back for a couple of days and look at how they can improve their business operations, meet the professionals who make it happen every day and become more profitable. After all, the Summit is literally the only event in the industry where the focus is on the dealer rather than the customer.

I want AED members operating in Canada to be aware of a few unique opportunities available to them during the Summit that will enhance progression within their dealerships: education, the Industry Workforce Development Plan for 2018, and the Canadian Government Affairs Program.

Your AED dues support the development of educational programming at events like the Summit. You should be thinking of this as both a human capital investment and a potential return on profitability and cost savings. For instance, I just got off the phone with Matt Howard, Ontario parts manager at Vermeer Canada. After attending the 2017 Summit and participating in an inventory control session – a simple concept but one that is often overlooked – he went back to Ontario and implemented practices that resulted in an estimated $300,000 in cost savings for the dealership.

Howard explained to me, “It was the simplest thing in the world. During the session, the speaker asked, ‘Why are you keeping inventory if your factory has it?’ which really got me thinking.” He said that taking a deeper dive during the session enabled him to develop a plan he could take back to the dealership to improve his area of responsibility.

“By working with our head office, we changed all our parameters in how we did our ordering, and we dropped roughly $300,000 from our inventory without letting down customers by not having something in stock or holding up service or sales,” Howard said. “All of this stemmed from a simple hour-and-a-half session in Chicago. It really did pay off.”

Howard then discussed with me how someone like himself, with two to three years’ experience in this industry, can benefit tremendously by listening to industry leaders who have been around for 40 years or more and can give you the slightest bit of advice that will significantly impact your  business. This, of course, extends beyond the breakout sessions and into every facet of the AED Summit.

Beyond education, the AED Summit is your Association’s annual meeting. You have a stake in the direction we are headed regarding member services. Still somewhat new to Canadian dealers is an industry presence on Parliament Hill and an emerging solution in the technician workforce shortage arena.

For the second year in a row, there will be an exclusive AED Canada Breakfast where we will be discussing a variety of important topics that will help you stay at the forefront of federal issues that impact your cost of doing business, and we will present solutions for your business’s technician shortage.

We will be discussing the AED Ottawa Briefing scheduled for February 28, where dealers gather to learn about the latest developments in government that impact the industry, meet with key lawmakers, and influence policy-making at the federal level. There is a growing awareness of the importance of having a seat at the table to prevent being on the menu – and AED wants to be at the head of that table for the benefit of dealer profitability. At the Summit’s Canada Breakfast, we will be looking for feedback from you to help make sure we are at the forefront of the issues that matter in preparation for the Ottawa Briefing.

Last, but certainly one of the more important topics regardless of where you operate, is the technician shortage crisis. The AED Foundation is tackling this issue head-on to forge stronger partnerships between industry and academia so that we can ensure the highest quality of entry-level technicians while simultaneously increasing the talent pool for dealers across the country. Plan on attending if you want to know how you can benefit from this.

These are, no doubt, important areas of focus for your business. When you attend the AED Summit in January, you should expect exceptional quality in programming and service from AED staff so that you can concentrate on putting a plan of action together for improving the business throughout the year and beyond. Aside from these Summit features unique to AED Canadian dealers, you will find significant value by walking the CONDEX floor and visiting with the various manufacturers and service providers in the hospitality suites. I’m personally looking forward to seeing everyone in January and getting to know those team members who will be attending with you.

As Matt Howard can attest, there is plenty to take in for people at every level of the business. See you in Vegas!


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