The new same-day alliance

Kilen Springs have partnered with Marathon Warehouse Distribution to create a new same-day alliance, offering multiple same-day deliveries across GB.

Marathon is an independent national wholesale distributor, delivering a growing portfolio of brands from its 14 strategically-located distribution centres. Having concluded the first month of 2019, Marathon has confirmed that their partnership with Kilen has delivered huge growth over their already-strong spring sales prior to the change.

Colin Fisher, Marathon’s Sales & Marketing Director, said: “Kilen’s quality, range and availability has certainly stood up to scrutiny, and our spring sales are substantially up on 2018. The addition of leaf springs and gas springs has also proved to be a great success, and our frequent same-day service and local comprehensive stocks are clearly supporting this substantial growth.”

As one of the UK aftermarket’s foremost suppliers of automotive springs, Kilen provide a market-leading range of OE-quality springs, with unsurpassed service to support sales growth for their customers. Kilen produce the world’s largest range of automotive coil springs, and all Kilen aftermarket springs are guaranteed to match or exceed OE quality.

Each of Marathon’s regional distribution centres stock an extensive range of Kilen Coil, Gas, and Leaf springs, with a massive 10,000 springs on the shelf at their national distribution centre in Redditch alone, giving over 99% availability.

Marathon opened two new distribution centres in the North West and North East in 2018, extending their same-day capability in two key regions of the country, and further sites are planned. Marathon’s in-house electronic trading platform, EMPOWER, offers factors live pricing and availability, online ordering and cataloguing inclusive of free VRM look-up.

Pete Dancer, Kilen Springs Business Development Manager, said: “We are delighted with the initial success of our partnership with Marathon, and feel confident that we will continue to successfully grow sales together. Marathon’s logistics and their increasing ability to offer multiple same-day deliveries nationwide will undoubtedly continue to deliver benefits to Kilen stockists.”

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Double whammy for Carlisle-based motor factor

Cumbrian motor factor, K&S McKenzie Ltd., have been shortlisted as finalists in not one, but TWO categories at this year’s Cumbria Family Business Awards.

K&S McKenzie beat strong competition to become one of three finalists in the Retailers and Wholesalers category. Further to this, Brandon McKenzie – who is the third generation of the family to work for the business – has been shortlisted for the Employee of the Year award.

The Cumbria Family Business Awards has celebrated some incredible family businesses over the years, and now in its third year, this year’s awards saw a record number of businesses entering the awards from across Cumbria. The finalists will now each meet with the specially selected panel of expert judges across two days of interviews before the judges make their final decisions.

Stuart McKenzie said; “We are extremely proud to have been shortlisted as finalists in this year’s Cumbria Family Business Awards, especially amongst such a fantastic array of local family businesses. We are very much looking forward to the big night and to the next stage of the judging where we get to personally meet the judges and share more about the story of our family business.”

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in March, hosted by none other than fellow Northerners, The Hairy Bikers – aka Simon “Si” King and Dave Myers.

K&S McKenzie was founded by Keith and Sara McKenzie and is today run by their sons Stuart and Alastair. The business operates all over the UK from its base in Carlisle, and last year saw them celebrate 50 years in business. They are a major supplier of AdBlue across the whole of the UK and also provide an expert chain testing and calibration service, are a BOC Gas agent, and offer a wide-ranging variety of products and services.

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Shaftec corporate video shows what happens behind-the-scenes

Shaftec has revealed what happens behind-the-scenes at its Birmingham facility in a new video.

Shaftec has been supplying remanufactured and new parts to the motor trade for over 20 years and is established as a leading transmission, steering and braking supplier to the UK aftermarket.

A full range of products available from stock includes driveshafts, CV joints, brake calipers, steering racks, steering pumps and bootkits.

Shaftec offers its customers a large range of products, backed by the highest levels of availability and exceptional customer service.

With 130 employees, the business operates from its 42,000 sqft facility in Birmingham where it remanufactures and distributes products around the UK and Europe.

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Autoelectro needs you! Remanufacturer up for Yorkshire Choice Awards honour

Bradford-based remanufacturer, Autoelectro, has been nominated for a Yorkshire Choice award, recognition for local people and businesses that are an inspiration in their field.

Contesting in the Independent Business category, the rotating electrics supplier is calling on the automotive aftermarket to support its campaign in helping it lift the trophy during the Award Gala Dinner at Elland Road on the evening of Saturday 6th April.

Autoelectro’s Managing Director, Tony Bhogal, said: “We have always stuck to our roots in Bradford, supporting local causes and investing into the community. From football at Bradford City to leading the judging panel in the Bradford Classic, Autoelectro is a company that is proud of its Yorkshire heritage.

“Being nominated for an award of this magnitude is recognition for every member of staff, and we hope our industry colleagues will support our cause – it would be a wonderful moment for us all.”

Votes can be cast at and will close on Friday 1st March.

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Autoparts UK & Midwest Motor Factors increase stock holding by 25 percent

Autoparts UK and Midwest Motor Factors have increased stock levels by 25percent in view of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

In Glasgow, Autoparts’ central distribution hub has installed a new mezzanine floor and all branches throughout Scotland and Northern England are increasing stock levels.

Additional stock is also being invested into Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts as the business looks to ensure customers continue to benefit from high availability.

With the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the latest investment underlines Autoparts’ intent to boost stock levels and ensure the widest range of products are on the shelf, while giving customers confidence in ease of access and wider availability.

There have been updates across all of its ranges, including popular brands Goliath batteries, Padtech & Disctech braking, Ultratec oils, Dynomach rotating and Airflow exhausts, all backed by a 20 month / 20,000 mile warranty.

This is just one of various recent improvements Autoparts UK has made to the business, including new barcoding which enables the correct part identification at the right location. The new electronic system means that it is impossible for a particular part to be stocked elsewhere in error, helping to maximise efficiency, reliability and customer trust.

Craig McCracken, Autoparts UK group factor manager, said: “Whatever the outcome, we’re making sure independent garages continue to enjoy an uninterrupted supply of products. This latest development sends out a clear message to the industry – and our customers – that Autoparts UK, Midwest and Monmore are proactively taking every step to ensure product availability remains at their highest levels possible.”

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ZF tells workshops develop unique position now to meet demands of next generation aftermarket

Continuing on its journey towards the next generation of mobility, ZF Aftermarket explains how advancing technology, price transparency and rising online purchasing power are changing the face of the aftermarket and driving an increase in customer demand & expectation. Add to this a number of growth-affecting trends such as: distributor consolidation & the rise in electric vehicles and it is apparent that workshops need to work significantly smarter now; creating a unique position to differentiate themselves to underpin sustained growth and ensure future success. In line with this ZF Aftermarket brand TRW has directed the next phase of its ‘True Originals’ multi media campaign at the workshops. The launch of a new online hub showcases innovative global workshops, provides a useful resource and – backed by recent studies highlighting the staggering effect that poor customer service can have on business – communicates this pivotal message to repair businesses to ensure they in are in pole position.

“Increasing technology and purchasing power driven by online sales mean that the global customer expects its demands to be met 24/7. Anything less is no longer acceptable and you will lose business. If the customer doesn’t get what they want, when they want it, in the right way and at the right price – they will go elsewhere. And once they have gone, statistics show that they won’t return.” explains Martyn Houghton, ZF Aftermarket’s UK General Sales Manager, Automotive.

Market Size, Make-Up and Service Profile
The overall market is changing (It is growing at approximately 3 percent p.a. and expected to reach in excess of £1 billion by 2030); but disruptive trends mean this growth won’t be linear across the aftermarket. An annual increase in shared-mobility maintenance costs will benefit the aftermarket, but may be offset by fewer vehicles on the road. Less wear and tear parts mean maintenance costs for electric vehicles could be 40 percent lower than for conventionally powered vehicles, but again these losses can be offset by opportunities in investment in skill sets and offerings which match the growing call for sustainability. By 2030 cars will recommend location servicing and 58 percent of global customers would obey posing a significant threat. In addition, crash repair spend on Autonomous Vehicles (AV) is expected to be low. Lastly, we operate in an increasingly competitive market, ruled by fewer and more powerful players. Figures show that 9/10 of the largest European IAM distributors have been involved with mergers & acquisitions and consolidation over the past five years.

“This all means that to maximise the opportunities of the next –generation aftermarket, workshops need to look at their business models, attitude towards customer service and access to their services,” Martyn explains.

“They need to adapt; investing in recruiting, training and equipment to cope with increasing complexity. On the customer-facing side, they should invest in enabling a digital customer journey and, at the same time, consider their customer service offer from the grass roots level up; finding ways to clearly position them versus competing networks. They need to create a unique customer experience, to attract and keep both customers and skilled employees.”

TRW – the ‘True Original’
Under #ORIGINALWORKSHOPS the next phase of TRW’s popular ‘True Originals’ campaign is aimed at the workshops and will comprise of four parts, focusing on: Customer Service, Digital Marketing, Sourcing Parts and Business Success. The long-running campaign is based on the concept that everything about the TRW brand is a true original; from the OE quality product, to the engineering, and manufacturing expertise used; through to the employees and customers – people with real passions and values that drive them in both their private and working lives and enhance everything that they do.

The first part of the campaign gives details on how workshops can improve their services and highlights interesting facts about changing customer expectations, such as:

  • 68% of customers say they’ve switched service providers because of poor customer service (Accenture)
  • 95% of dissatisfied customers tell others about their bad experience (Zendesk)

In preparation for the launch of #ORIGINALWORKSHOPS research carried out by the business revealed the main determiners of workshop customer satisfaction. In no particular order, these are: customer interaction – which should be mirrored online with a user friendly and informative website; the garage environment and the work.

To celebrate aftermarket workshops around the world that share its dedication to excellence, and that use original ideas and solutions to build their businesses, TRW has launched a new online hub. This is an ever-growing hub of useful advice, tips, blogs, videos and more to help installers and garage owners to offer great service, work efficiently, promote themselves to customers and build a strong and successful business.

The workshop chosen to launch the site is AH Almeida, Bobedela, Portugal, a successful inherited family business, now run by Rui Almeida. To showcase best practice TRW is looking for more workshop owners to tell their stories and volunteer to be a part of the campaign, which could mean starring in a short film and being interviewed for publication on the hub. For more information, visit #ORIGINALWORKSHOPS at

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8 steps to delivering a killer demo – tips from sales-i

A good demonstration can make or break a deal. We’ve all seen a range of pitches and presentations. We’ve all hidden behind our hands in horror, but not often enough sat slack-jawed in amazement. Why aren’t we often impressed? How can you deliver a killer demo?

Honestly, it is very difficult to make the same content fun when you deliver the same speech eight times a day, five days a week, every month. There is a reason why only a few actors amaze us on day 187 of a West End show, we can tell that a lot of the words have lost their meaning to them.

We know how hard it is to create that magic moment between salesperson and prospect during a demo. That is why we have made an 8-point list to set you on the right track.

A demonstration of your product will require a commitment of time – yours and theirs. It also will involve a lot of information. Are they ready to take this onboard? Will they really understand it in terms of how they would benefit from your product?

They might be ready early in the sales process as they have done their homework on your company. Equally, they may be a returning prospect who you have dealt with before. However, chances are that they like the idea of what you are selling but haven’t really found out the basics of your possible transaction, these being product fit, implementation impact, buy-in from their peers and, of course, costs.

If possible, don’t waste valuable time with a full demonstration until you are ready to talk about the finer details.

It might be that you need to create an overview demonstration. This would be a very brief look into the product or service you provide to help bridge the gap between this interest and commitment period in the sales process.

Ditch the set script. It seems obvious but so few actually take the time to create a demo specifically for each client. Once you have convinced a prospect to commit to a demonstration with you (online or face-to-face) your job isn’t done. You need to use the demo to show how amazing your product and show that you listened to their needs.

The demo is really your first chance to show your outstanding customer service. Making the content tailored to their business challenges will not only prove that your product can help solve these issues but will demonstrate that you (and your company by extension) make your prospects needs a priority.

A well-created demo will show the value of your company, not just your product, to a prospect. It will also begin to build trust in your on-going relationship. You need to prioritize addressing what your prospect wants to achieve with your product and make every moment of your demo count.

If you have done your homework, and we hope you have by now, you will have a focussed plan on what you are going to cover during your demo.

Map out all of the issues your prospect has that they think your product can solve, plus the ones they may not have thought of yet and put them in order of importance. Remember that this is importance according to your prospect, not you or what fits best with your usual demo content.

Be clear in your pre-demo communications (and again on the day) of what solutions you are showing your prospect. If you can solve their biggest issues up-front in the demo you will have their attention for all the little extras you may be trying to up-sell. Also, having an agenda split into their concerns will allow for regular breaks to discuss each section with your prospect, keeping them engaged and the whole demo moving forward.

Now that we have your attention why not check out the free sales-i whitepaper Social Selling: A Manager’s Guide on everything you need to know to get started selling yourself and your product through social channels?

Even if you think you have done enough by switching the content of your demo around to address the needs of your prospect, that is just the beginning. Now you need to make sure you don’t slip into training them on the product. It is all too easily done.

OK, so don’t pretend you are aren’t guilty of this. You start the demo and before you know it you are talking through where you are clicking on the screen and why. Stop yourself here. What is the value of talking through the process with a prospect when what they actually care about is what the result of this process is?

Let’s go old school with an example. You are doing a demonstration of how versatile your new vacuum cleaner is. Do you talk through a prospect with how you plug the vacuum into the mains power? Do you explain how to change the nozzles and where they are stored on the machine? No, that is all basic information on how to use the product. They want to know what it does.

What you need to show is the product in action. If they have told you they have an issue with a vacuum working over different surfaces without lengthy attachment changeovers – that is what you do. Get vacuuming across every surface you can and make that process as easy and impressive as possible.

We all appreciate a bit of razzle-dazzle in a presentation but don’t be tempted to go too far. Your presentation shouldn’t make a prospect motion sick so restrict yourself to a palette of effects, colors and fonts. Three of each is enough for most demonstrations. You are selling a product after all, not your design wizardry.

Remember that you are talking to another human being. Facts and figures are great. You can hammer them home for great impact but these reinforce the human element of you and your company brand. If a prospect doesn’t like you, they will rarely buy from you.

A great tactic to build this emotional attachment for your prospect is storytelling. Using relatable stories throughout your demo will provide a real-world context for your prospect. Placing them in a real-life situation, but one where your product can help them, will provoke a positive emotional response and build a stronger connection between the prospect and your product.

Finally, a well-developed story with the prospect and their challenges at the heart of it will be something they remember. The fact that your product saves the day in this story will be ingrained in their minds as you continue the sales process.

If you have fallen victim to training instead of presenting your demo in the past, you need to practice your new style. This may be easier if you have common issues that you often have to address in your demos. You can streamline your actions to demonstrate the ease-of-use of your product whilst not forgetting a single benefit in your verbal pitch.

Practice isn’t just for your performance. Make sure you have all the technical resources you need to make your demonstration perfect.

You did an amazing demo! Congrats. Now what?

Well, you need to know what next before you end your demonstration. You need to get another commitment from your prospect before you let them go. When will you get back in touch with them? When will they be ready to discuss next steps such as involving additional people in the process, contract negotiations and additional services such as training and support?

You need to lock down a schedule of next steps to ensure you don’t lose momentum with your prospect after your fantastic demo.

Finally, don’t forget to ask them about your demonstration. You may ask directly in follow-up communications or via an anonymous feedback form from your company. The best way to make sure what you are doing is working is by asking the people you are actually doing the demonstrations for.

No one method will be perfect and that is why a process of review is critical to staying on top of your game and give you the best chance at closing a deal in future.

CLICK HERE to visit the sales-i website and download the article.


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IAAF announces details of 2019’s first Industry Briefing session

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced that it will be hosting its first Industry Briefing of 2019 at Stadium MK, home of EFL League Two side MK Dons, in Milton Keynes on Thursday 21 March.

Sponsored by industry recruitment specialists Autotech Recruit and again steered by Head of Membership Development Mike Smallbone, the session will take place in the venue’s Performance Suite, as members will be brought up to speed with the latest developments across the aftermarket within the past few months, with the opportunity to hear from some of the industry’s top guest speakers.

GiPA’s Quentin Le Hetet will be leading the morning’s proceedings with a discussion entitled ‘What does the next 5 years hold for the independent aftermarket?’, building on his speech delivered at the IAAF Conference in December.

Also invited to speak is Ben Stockton, from new IAAF member Our Virtual Academy, who will be addressing attendees on upskilling vehicle technicians using video technology to enhance their knowledge and expertise, with the opportunity for IAAF members to potentially engage.

Smallbone will also be giving an update on the Your Car Your Choice campaign, as well as sharing the latest news on IAAF’s activity including Type Approval, the Connected Car and this year’s IAAF Golf Day events in conjunction with automotive industry charity BEN.

Smallbone said: “After a high number of new sign-ups to IAAF’s membership over the past 12 months, we’re relishing the prospect of meeting with our new members and hearing their industry viewpoint. As this is the first Industry Briefing Session since the Conference, we’re very much looking forward to giving aftermarket businesses further opportunity to reunite and network.

“We’re delighted to welcome back seasoned IAAF speaker Quentin, and Ben will no doubt give our members fascinating insight into the latest virtual technology that will enable more technicians to be equipped with the skills this industry needs more of.”

There will be networking and coffee available from 9.00 am, with the session promptly starting at 10.00 am before finishing at 1.00 pm with lunch.

A further three meetings will be held and announced throughout the year, with details of the next meeting to follow in due course.

Places are limited and therefore IAAF is advising members to book early to avoid disappointment by emailing Ann Silvester at

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Ring appoints Midlands Area Sales Manager to support growth

Ring, the leading European lighting and automotive aftermarket specialist based in Leeds, has appointed Kevin Lee as Area Sales Manager, supporting the business’s continued growth throughout the UK.

Responsible for maintaining and building the brand’s relationship with automotive aftermarket distributors across the Midlands region, Kevin will be tasked with driving further sales of the company’s products and increasing awareness of its extensive range among industry professionals.

Kevin comments: “Ring’s extensive portfolio of products and market leading position makes it a really exciting time to join the team. As a business we’re constantly trying to drive innovation and bring new innovations to market.

“It’s now my responsibility to relay that message to our partners in the Midlands, making sure they’re updated with all of Ring’s developments and future plans, whilst also ensuring our customer base continues to grow.”

With a background in sales following an extensive career in the construction industry, Kevin will use his experience to support the business as it continues to build its presence across the country.

Henry Bisson, Marketing Manager for Ring, comments: “Kevin’s experience outside of the automotive industry means he brings a fresh perspective to the whole team along with new ideas and ways of working.

“As we continue to develop and extend our product range, it’s crucial that we let our customers know what more we can do and offer. We welcome Kevin to the team, as he plays a key role in our strategy moving forward.”

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Demand drives Apec Braking move to larger new Distribution Centre

Increased demand and an ever-expanding range of part numbers has seen Apec Braking, the UK’s leading independent brake parts supplier, move to a bigger, brand new Distribution Centre near Filton, Bristol.

Massive capacity, high efficiency
The new facility has a vast 160,000 sq.ft. of stock storage space, growing capacity from 5,000 pallet spaces at their former site to 18,250 at the new Centre. The latest computerised stock picking technology achieves the highest levels of efficiency and ‘right first time’ accuracy. Stocks speed directly from shelves to delivery trucks at 12 dock-level loading bays.

More part numbers, more stock
Apec Braking General Manager Steve Fisher said, “Our new Distribution Centre ensures the trade will benefit from our best ever availability and service, across the range. It can also accommodate the new products and part numbers we will regularly introduce in 2019 and beyond, offering even more products with quality and service you can trust.”

Apec Braking
Supplying the motor trade for over 50 years, Apec Braking has built its business by never compromising on quality, service and value, while matching manufacturer’s levels of performance, comfort and safety.

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