Standard moves forward with integration, training

Jan. 1, 2020
Selling through the distribution channel to end users, be they technicians or DIYers, is vital for an industry looking to fend off dealerships hungry for market share and eager to sell to independent technicians, according to Eric Sills, director of

Selling through the distribution channel to end users, be they technicians or DIYers, is vital for an industry looking to fend off dealerships hungry for market share and eager to sell to independent technicians, according to Eric Sills, director of operations for Standard Motor Products.

“Our primary initiative has to be helping distributors sell products through to the installers,” Sills told Aftermarket Business during a recent interview. “Dealerships are realizing they can make a lot of money out of their parts departments by selling to independent installers.”

For the aftermarket to be successful, service dealers have to feel comfortable performing the more technologically challenging repairs they face day to day. “Some technicians are actually turning away work to the dealers because they don’t think they can do the job,” laments Sills.

For these reasons, Standard is spending a significant amount of time and attention beefing up its training programs. Standard has added 13 full-time trainers and is targeting 15,000 to 20,000 technicians that it hopes to train this year through seminars.

The desire is for independent technicians to build their skill levels in areas where they can carve out a niche for themselves and their services. ”We want independent technicians to say, ‘I’m the guy for this type of service,’” says Sills.

Standard Motor Products has begun reaping the benefits of last year’s acquisition of Dana Corporation’s Engine Management Division. Standard last month reported net sales of $204.8 million for the first three months of 2004, compared to net sales of $135.7 million during the comparable quarter in 2003.

Net sales generated in the quarter from the acquired Dana properties were approximately $60 million. Excluding Dana’s former Engine Management Division, net sales were up $2.9 million or 3.6 percent in the first quarter for Standard.

Losses from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2004 were $545,000, or 3 cents per diluted share, compared to $607,000 or 5 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2003.

Sills says the company continues to integrate the Dana properties into Standard’s model. Standard expects to close seven of the nine acquired Dana facilities by the end of the year.

There are no intentions of combining brands. “They have their own reputation and recognition and we plan to keep them separate and pure,” he says.

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