Aftermarket auto part industry benefits from auto sale trends

According to Statista, 256 million vehicles were registered in the U.S. in 2013. Since 2013, the annual rate of vehicle registrations has remained relatively stable. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration showed the number of registered vehicles plateaued after the recession. Meanwhile, the average age of cars in use began to climb, reaching a record high of 11.4 years old in 2014.

“The average age of cars on the road reached 11.4 years in 2014.”

This means that, as the average person is driving an older car, repairs are becoming more essential. Fixing a car requires the proper parts to be shipped to the right people on time and in good condition.

Auto repairs
When in need of a car repair, auto owners have several options. They can take it to the dealer; they can drive it to an independent shop; or they can choose to fix the vehicle themselves. While there are advantages to going to the dealer, independent repair shops have perks of their own, according to Edmunds.com. The dealership will have parts made specifically for the car, though they generally are costly. Smaller shops can provide similar parts meant to operate with the same efficiency, at a fraction of the price. If you want the specific part created by the original equipment manager, the shop is legally obligated to provide it.

A U.S. Automotive Parts Industry Annual Assessment found that, in 2009, many dealers closed their doors, giving independent shops and auto parts stores more opportunities for growth. In that year alone, 1,160 dealerships closed, causing about $7 billion worth of parts and services to be rerouted to independent shops.

Customers turned to smaller shops when many dealerships closed.The closing of many dealerships across the country in 2009 has given smaller shops greater opportunity to expand its customer base.

Since that time, online sales of auto parts started to rise dramatically. In 2010, online sales amounted to $2 billion, according to Hedges & Company. By 2014, sales surpassed $5 billion. The company estimated by 2018, the market would amount to more than $9 billion.

As the demand for aftermarket automotive parts continues to increase, it is pertinent that equipment manufacturers arrange for the best transportation of parts from the factory or warehouse to the stores, shops and do-it-yourself mechanics who need them. Receiving parts on time and in pristine condition is crucial to the business of independent mechanics and technicians who depend on customer satisfaction for their business model. When a part comes in late or broken, the customers have little problem finding a competing business to go to instead.

Shipping parts
Since the matter of transporting auto parts is so crucial, it is important that shippers are prepared to package these parts carefully. Common materials to secure auto parts during transit include paper void fill systems and air cushioning. However, shippers need to ensure the packaging used won’t scratch or otherwise damage the parts in any way. Plus, with online sales increasing and the number of parts being sent out going up as a result, it is pertinent that shippers know the areas in which they can increase protection while reducing wasted material and cost.

As Cerasis pointed out, when a supply chain company can lower its own costs, it can reduce the prices of its products. When that happens, the company will typically see a rise in its consumer base. Or, cost reduction on the business side could be passed onto customers through discounted or free shipping. According to UPS, many auto part online shoppers expect this option. This can be done by ensuring the packaging materials don’t require excess material to be used to fill empty spaces.

Protective materials should be efficient enough to wrap the product with limited number of passes around the item. Wrapping it multiple times creates a cluttered look and shows the material isn’t as trustworthy as it should be. Furthermore, packaging material should be versatile enough to be used as a void fill, wrapping around the item itself and cushioning on the top and bottom of the box.

Air cushioning is a cost effective choice for protecting parts during shipment. It can help maintain the integrity of the box during the shipping cycle. It acts as a defensive layer against shock when used on the top and bottom of the box or case. For example, HLX Trio inflatable cushions from Pregis fills small voids as provides effective cushioning for the product itself. Plus, since this easy-to-use product can perform multiple applications, it will keep the work station free of excess clutter and packers will see an improvement in their efficiency.