The IAAF Annual Conference, sponsored by Autoparts UK, addressed some of the major issues that will impact on the aftermarket in 2018 and beyond, including global influences, technical threats, rapidly evolving technology and Brexit, as it hosted the most engaging conference to date.
Held for the first time at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes on 7 December, the new venue reflected the renewed sense of purpose in combatting and dealing with some of the biggest proposed changes the aftermarket has faced. The high turnout of delegates heard from an abundance of key industry speakers, who all shared their invaluable insight into various hot topics exploring IAAF’s key theme, ‘Facing a new Brexit world in the automotive aftermarket’.
Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, welcomed the delegates and kickstarted proceedings on a seasonal note, delivering her summary of the past year in a ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ address that covered 12 key issues that characterised the past year in the industry.
Williamson summarised the main issues including the proposed MOT changes, the connected vehicle and the ‘demonisation’ of diesel cars regarding emissions, with the outcome of the TRL report being “one of the gold results of the year”. She also warned of what was to come post-Brexit, acknowledging “the journey we have ahead”.
Dr Julia Saini from Frost & Sullivan then examined the importance of the UK aftermarket to the UK economy and the impact of Brexit on the sector, supported by key metrics and statistics highlighting UK growth, as well as the effect on trade balance as a result of the relationship between the UK and EU.
Delegates also learned more about how global influences are shaping the distribution structure, with an overview of the consolidations of the UK and Europe aftermarket, with Quintin Le-Hetet from GIPA. This was followed by Whocanfixmycar Co-Founder Alistair Preston, who addressed the rise of online service providers and the impact on the UK aftermarket.
After lunch, Olaf Henning from MAHLE took to the stand to illustrate how F1 technology is being used to drive developments in the automotive parts aftermarket, whilst underlining MAHLE’s global expertise and ongoing collaboration with Ferrari.
Steve Nash from IMI was also on hand to discuss future technologies and their role, with a report projecting a significant increase in digital revenue and the need for businesses to specialise.
This was followed by Neil Pattemore from Figiefa, who addressed the latest emerging technical threats to the aftermarket, giving an update on progress made over the past 12 months.
Lawrence Bleasdale, IAAF president, then wrapped up the conference, outlining the key messages from the day and thanking all members for attending.
Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: ““The conference was one of our best yet, offering plenty of industry expertise and food for thought, helping to arm the independent aftermarket with advice that could greatly benefit it in the times ahead.
“As an industry, we will continue to face many challenges on different fronts, and we will encounter more complex threats. However, we are prepared, and the future is bright despite the challenges we face. What we do know is that IAAF will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of its members to secure that future.”