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Vision Conference tackles shifts affecting supply chains

Key highlights from the annual event include discussions on AI and EV technologies, ADAS, Wall Street insights, profitability strategies and more

Research Triangle Park, N.C.—The MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Vision Conference, held last week at The Henry in Dearborn, Mich., featured sessions led by industry leaders who provided insights and outlooks into the future of the automotive aftermarket. Over 300 aftermarket executives attended the conference, themed “The New Aftermarket: Embracing Change to Drive Growth.”

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A range of topics were covered, from the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) to geopolitical shifts affecting supply chains. Key highlights from the 2024 Vision Conference include:

  • 3 Dragons: Aftermarket Outlook – This session, moderated by Kumar Saha of Eucon Americas LLC, featured Elizabeth Clark from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Greg Melich of Evercore ISI, and Todd Campau from S&P Global Mobility. They provided a comprehensive view of the aftermarket landscape, discussing economic forecasts, Wall Street insights, and industry trends.
  • MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers 2024 Landmark Study Results – Barry Neal and Neury Freitas, partners at Roland Berger, revealed findings from their latest study on AI in the automotive aftermarket. They discussed how AI technologies can optimize operations and profitability, detailing use cases and strategic actions for suppliers.
  • Voice of the End Customer – John Baldwin of Discount Tire emphasized understanding consumer decision-making processes, which are pivotal due to evolving vehicle technologies and market expectations.
  • Advocacy Town Hall – Led by MEMA’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Ann Wilson, this session addressed critical supplier issues including Right to Repair and China trade policies. It included an open Q&A, allowing direct member engagement on government relations efforts.
  • University of the Aftermarket Foundation – John R. Washbish of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, discussed the foundation’s role in attracting and developing new talent through scholarships and educational initiatives, vital for sustaining industry growth.
  • The China Imperative – Prashant Iyer and Rob Pick from Bain & Company offered insights on navigating the complex Chinese market and strategies for building a resilient supply chain amidst increasing geopolitical tensions.
  • The Race to Mexico … and Beyond – A panel featuring Gino Amador of Snap-On, John Hanighen of Gloyes Gears & Products, and Eric Sills of Standard Motor Products, and moderated by MEMA’s John Chalifoux, discussed the strategic shift of manufacturing to Mexico due to its cost-effectiveness and strategic location, critical under current global economic pressures.
  • MiX Insights – Modern Industry eXpertise (MiX) panelists, including Colin Foster of Gates Corporation, Andrew Peckham of Valeo, and Elisse Richardson of DriV, shared areas for CEO improvement in understanding shifting market dynamics and leadership challenges.
  • 4 Bulls: Future Technologies = Future Opportunities – In a session moderated by MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Senior Vice President of Technology Chris Gardner, Tim Allbritten of BG Products, Rosa Meckseper of Continental, Dave Miller of Gates Corporation, and Russ Stebbins of Sensata Technologies highlighted the growth potential offered by ADAS and EV technologies, presenting case studies and product innovations.
  • Customer Keynote: GPC/NAPA – In a MEMA member-only session, Randy Breaux, Group President of GPC North America, outlined GPC’s strategic initiatives and addressed supplier collaboration strategies to enhance industry growth and adaptability.
  • Your Turn: A Vision Conference Open Forum – A dynamic closing session facilitated by Aakash Arora of BCG and Ted Hughes of AWDA allowed attendees to discuss AI implications, EV challenges, and more, emphasizing interactive participation and collective insight.

MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers parent organization MEMA, The Vehicle Suppliers Association celebrated 120 years of advancing the vehicle supplier industry at the conference’s closing reception. This milestone underscores the association’s enduring legacy and its pivotal role in advancing the future of mobility and the interests of vehicle suppliers.

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