Newsletter

Supplier Highlight

Supplier Highlight

Supplier Highlight

Getting to know TRUX Accessories

Mike Selick, director of sales at TRUX Accessories

Please briefly describe the history of your company? (a quick summary is fine)

TRUX Accessories was founded by two brothers who learned values from their grandfather’s tire shop. With a passion and love for chrome and the trucking industry they decided to branch out into Chrome Accessories. What started as three employees in a little room has now turned into more than 150 employees selling nationwide with headquarters in Montreal, Canada, and multiple U.S. warehouses. The company was built with the driver’s best interest focusing on quality and originality at a fair price.

Please briefly describe your company’s sales structure: What do you sell, who are your customers, etc.?

We sell aftermarket heavy-duty exterior accessories; LED’s, LED work lamps, LED headlights and assemblies, chrome, stainless, fenders, exhausts and recently apparel! We sell through distributors only: chrome shops, OE dealers and independent distributor. We feel strongly about protecting our partners and are loyal to our distributors. We do not sell direct, or online. We sell in North America and Mexico, Latin America, Australia and some parts of Europe.

What separates your business from competitors in its marketplace?

Innovation. We invent new technologies and set new trends in the heavy-duty truck market.

How do you believe customers perceive your business?

Quality and originality. We are definitely the cool kid in town.

How and why do your customers stay loyal to your business?

We are loyal ourselves. Maybe it’s the small family business mentality, but we take care of our customers. When Amazon and Ebay come knocking (and they do often), we always decline. Why would we want our customers to compete with their own suppliers? Also, they know we will always come out with new products, or inventions creating the next big thing.

What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about your company that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about your company we don’t know)

Canada really isn’t that far! Most of us live here and no we don’t live in igloos, but yes have a love for maple syrup. Don’t you? Eh?

What makes your company a great place to work?

Fast paced – fun environment. We are like a dysfunctional family. In a good sort of way!

How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?

Super important. I always tell my wife, this is the biggest and coolest industry, nobody has heard of. Social Media and word of mouth.

Does your business feel it is in the position to change with the times? If so how?

Absolutely, we are always looking forward and trying to stay ahead of the curve. We can’t tell you our secret.

Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?

There will always be trucks on the road.

Why did your company join GenNext? How can GenNext help your employees?

As you’ll hear throughout — a passion for the industry. We thought it was important to pay it forward and spread the love. GenNext can continue to provide us with the education, mentorship and leadership of our current and future employees and industry peers. Time moves quickly, before you know it, it’s the next man up.



Organizational Update

Organizational Update

Organizational Update

The fourth quarter has been another busy period for GenNext HD.

In October our marketing committee rolled out a new GenNext HD LinkedIn group — designed both to attract potential new members and connect existing members. The committee’s first effort to connect with the aftermarket through the page has been its Meet the Board Mondays! program, which features a brief Q&A with a GenNext board member and active industry professional.

October also marked the return of GenNext’s popular industry panel discussion at the VIPAR Heavy Duty IMPACT Conference in San Antonio.

Featuring two VIPAR Heavy Duty distributors (Robyn Spitzke, Fort Garry Industries; Allan Parrott, Tidewater Fleet Supply), two suppliers (Ed Powderly, BettsHD; Rob Myers, Phillips Industries) and VIPAR Heavy Duty’s Jim Pennig, the panel discussion touched on employee recruitment and retention tips, industry fluctuations and technology. A recap of the discussion can be found at https://www.truckpartsandservice.com/aftermarket-truck-parts-service-news/gennext-holds-another-successful-industry-panel-discussion-at-vipar-heavy-duty-conference/.

As for our recruitment committee, GenNext recently worked with HD Group to launch our industry job board during the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network Summit (CVSN) in September. The job board is available to suppliers and distributors alike to post job opportunities throughout the industry and will hopefully raise awareness to young professionals of the spectrum of jobs available in the aftermarket. Interested parties can check out the current listings and submit a listing of their own at https://hdjobboard.com/.

Our educational committee also recently completed its fourth webinar of the year, an informative discussion regarding Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2020 with event co-chairs Sean Ryan (Point Spring & Driveshaft) and Tim Bauer (Eaton). Moderated by TPS Editor Lucas Deal, the December 10 webinar touched on the many exciting changes coming to HDAW as its transitions to a new venue next month.

GenNext members who missed the webinar can download the audio at https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/5411826322184549387.

As expected, GenNext HD will be incredibly busy at the aftermarket’s biggest event. Many of our member companies are sponsoring students from Northwood University to attend the event as part of the HDAW internship program. Our members also will be on hand during the convention’s many networking events, and the organization will have a booth (#2031) on the exhibition floor.

GenNext’s annual no-limit Hold ‘em poker tournament also is scheduled to take place at the Gaylord Texan during the week. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, and registration is open now at https://gennexthd.com/poker/.

In other news, GenNext HD has finalized the new dates and keynote speaker for our 2020 Distributor Training Expo. Regarding timing, GenNext has decided to move the DTE from its previous late-April position to Aug. 21-23, 2020, to better accommodate the supplier and distributor communities.

We also are excited to announce Stu Schlackman as our keynote speaker for next year’s event. Schlackman is known for his book and assessment, “Four People You Should Know.” He provides customized training and consulting based on its principles to sales teams by focusing on the skills and strategies that lead to the goal of superior sales results. With more than three decades of experience in corporate sales, Schlackman’s sales training initiatives during his career led his sales teams to exceed sales projections by an average of more than 30 percent annually. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Business Administration from Kennedy Western University.

Registration for the 2020 DTE is open now. Early-bird registration rates for aftermarket distributors are $549 per attendee and aftermarket businesses can send up to eight associates. Distributors can register at https://miregistration.net/gncvsndist/#registration. Suppliers will be able to sign up for Gold or Silver sponsorships on our website in early 2020.



Organizational Update

Organizational Update

GenNext names winners of second-annual 4 Under 40 Awards

 

Last month’s Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) Aftermarket Distribution Summit in Banff, Alberta, was the site of the second-annual presentation of the GenNext 4 Under 40 Awards.

Sponsored by Trucks, Parts, Service, the 4 Under 40 Awards were created to honor young aftermarket professionals for their enthusiasm, personal growth, corporate achievements and contributions to the independent heavy-duty aftermarket prior to age 40.

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This year’s winners were Kate Diecks, eastern regional sales manager, Kit Masters; Sean Ryan, president and treasurer, Point Spring & Driveshaft; Megan Vincent, marketing manager, Phillips Industries; and Jerry Conroy, North American regional vice president, aftermarket sales, Bendix CVS.

The awards were presented by GenNext President Nick Seidel of Action Trucks and TPS Editor Lucas Deal.

Trucks, Parts, Service is thrilled to recognize these four professionals for their enthusiasm and commitment to the independent aftermarket industry,” says Deal. “All are incredibly deserving and serve as wonderful examples to motivate other GenNext members to get involved in our industry.”

For a complete conversation with each 2019 winner and their career in the independent aftermarket, please see https://www.truckpartsandservice.com/aftermarket-truck-parts-service-news/a-conversation-with-gennexts-2019-4-under-40-award-winners/.

 

GenNext holds another quarterly webinar, prepares for upcoming events

GenNext also held its third-quarter webinar last month with Meritor’s Jay Urban and Justin McCoy presenting an informative update on air disc brakes and their rising acceptance in the commercial vehicle industry. The one-hour webinar focused on the history of the components, their slow at first but now advancing adoption in the OEM community due to their performance and safety benefits, and how those adoption rates will force changes within the aftermarket.

GenNext also recently announced its plan to hold an educational panel discussion for members at the upcoming VIPAR Heavy Duty Annual Business Conference and released the dates for its 2020 Distributor Training Expo.

GenNext says this month’s VIPAR Heavy Duty panel discussion will follow the formula introduced at last year’s annual business conference and used again successfully at HDA Truck Pride’s Annual Meeting earlier this year. GenNext says the event is scheduled for 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21 with panelists to be announced in the days leading up to the event.

The extremely popular and consistently growing Distributor Training Expo has been moved to from its prior April date on the schedule to Aug. 21-23, 2020. GenNext chose to move the date from its prior spring setting to reduce weather-related travel issues for distributors and, hopefully, expand the event’s overall size. GenNext had 200 distributor attendees and 25 supplier at the fourth annual event in April and earned a 94 percent approval rating among all attendees.

GenNext says next year’s event will again be held at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and registration information is scheduled to be released later this year.

Finally, GenNext and CVSN are excited to announce their new heavy-duty job board will soon be introduced to the independent aftermarket. The organizations developed the board to create a single repository in which all open positions within the independent aftermarket can be cataloged and searched.

Once live, CVSN and GenNext job board will enable suppliers, distributors, service providers and industry partners to post any open position they have within their businesses. Listings will be searchable by state, job title, job title and industry category. More information regarding the heavy-duty job board will be announced by CVSN and GenNext in the immediate future.



Supplier Highlight

Supplier Highlight

Getting to know Hendrickson

 

David McCleave, director of aftermarket at Hendrickson

 

Please briefly describe the history of your company.

Hendrickson is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medium- and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric and air suspensions; integrated and non-integrated axle and brake systems; tire pressure control systems; auxiliary lift axle systems; parabolic and multi-leaf springs; stabilizers; bumpers; and components to the global commercial transportation industry. Hendrickson is a privately held company that is over 106 years old and has had the stability of only two owners. The Hendrickson family sold the business to John Boler in 1978 and the Boler family remains the sole owner of Hendrickson today. We are a global company with 28 locations worldwide and over 5,500 employees with corporate headquarters in Woodridge, Ill.

 

Please briefly describe your company’s sales structure: What do you sell, who are your customers, etc.?

Hendrickson’s direct OEM customer base includes very familiar brand names to the industry.  Our truck OEMs include Daimler, Paccar (Kenworth and Peterbilt), Navistar, Mack, Volvo, Hino, Autocar and others where we sell steer suspension and axles, drive axle suspensions, bumpers, springs and lift axles. Our trailer OEMs include Utility, Great Dane, Wabash, MAC, Fontaine, Heil, Vanguard, Hyundai and many other trailer OEMs where we sell trailer suspensions, tire inflations systems, brakes and full wheel end solutions.

 

Our aftermarket customer base not only includes the above customers, but also includes national distributors such as Dayton Parts, Triangle, Universal Group, PAI, Meritor, UAP, Aurora Parts and Accessories, New Life, FleetPride, TruckPro, Traction, and a whole host of other regional independent distributors. We rely heavily on these aftermarket partners to ensure downstream component availability for the fleets that specify our systems on their new equipment. We support all of the above activity with over ten individuals who call on the OEM customer base along with more than 35 sales individuals in North America calling on dealers, fleets and distributors on why to choose Hendrickson. To technically support the vast amount of product in the market, we also employ over 15 field service managers in North America.

 

What separates your business from competitors in its marketplace?

The quality of our products and the level of support is what I believe sets us apart. Integrated with truck and/or trailer chassis, we design, model, lab test, and field validate all of our systems and components to OEM specifications to deliver the highest quality and world class performing products. Combine this with the high quality of field and in house support, and this is what I believe sets us apart. Uptime is a fleet’s No. 1 priority. Delivering products that perform and support them when required, is what helps Hendrickson remain an industry leader. Do what is right, and no issue goes unresolved, is how we approach the market and our customers.

How do you believe customers perceive your business?

I believe customers perceive our business in a very positive light. Serving the industry for over 106 years with high quality products and support takes a tremendous amount of energy. Our customers that were outlined above and fleet customers, continuously push us to meet their demands and exceed their expectations. If we don’t, there are alternatives. It is with their support of Hendrickson that drives our passion. Obviously, there are things to work on and improve, and our customers remind us of those items to ensure we don’t reach complacency.

 

How and why do your customers stay loyal to your business?

Customer loyalty is something you can lose with a push of a button, but you cannot earn it with a push of a button. Customer loyalty is grown and nurtured throughout a long period of time by delivering quality products and services, maintaining discipline in your processes and various strategies, cultivating relationships, and doing what you say you are going to do. I believe this is how and why we have been fortunate to have earned and maintained such loyalty.  Do what is right, and never leave an issue unresolved.

 

What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about your company that would surprise/impress them? (i.e., tell us something about your company we don’t know)

We are United States centric. We manufacture our trailer axles, trailer suspensions, truck suspensions, auxiliary axle suspensions, and bumpers, right here in the United States and we are extremely proud to do so. The plants that we have in China, India, and throughout Europe, are used to support those local markets and those products do not come here to be used in North America. We essentially want to manufacture where we sell and support local economies and communities.

 

What makes your company a great place to work?

The people make Hendrickson a great place to work. We put the customer first and everyone is eager to help. Whether it is from Sales, Engineering, Operations, Manufacturing, Marketing, etc. Hendrickson is a family-owned business and the culture reflects family values, ethics and morals.  Hendrickson invests in technology, buildings, equipment, systems, and most importantly, their people.

 

How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?

It is always important to attract and retain younger talent. Hendrickson prides itself on product and process innovation to deliver high quality products and products that will provide solutions to fleet user issues. To do just that, you need a continuous influx of younger talent that brings new ideas for products, processes and the use of technology. Recruiting the younger generation means Hendrickson’s HR department had to make changes in the tools they use to reach and communicate with these individuals. Hendrickson also made changes in benefits to match younger generation needs and values to improve our ability to capture these talented individuals.

 

Does your business feel it is in the position to change with the times? If so how?

Hendrickson continues to benchmark companies inside and outside our industry to ensure our benefit package and salaries are competitive. Hendrickson also benchmarks competitive product and strategies. Lastly, Hendrickson has business unit called Advance Technology Group. Benchmarking for best practices, products, and strategies, ensuring a competitive and exciting place to work, and developing new technologies and innovative products, supported by the Boler family investments in Hendrickson, positions Hendrickson well for change. These elements not only position Hendrickson to change with the times, but to also lead change in the industry.

 

Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?

My advice is to look for companies where people enjoy working and carries a strong brand and legacy. Seek out companies that have a strong position in their market space. The heavy-duty industry is an industry where relationships still matter and is filled with great companies with strong brands — from suppliers to local distributors. The heavy-duty industry needs talented individuals to lead change and take on challenges that truly affect trucking fleets that only make money when equipment is running. Your actions have a bottom line impact in this industry — be a part of innovative solutions and make a daily difference.

 

Why did your company join GenNext? How can GenNext help your employees?

GenNext provides a forum where ideas can be shared, plain and simple. We all have a responsibility to leave what we started or got involved in, in a better position than when we started. This includes the specific job, company, and industry we all live and work within. GenNext provides the platform to provide and garner knowledge to deliver on that responsibility.

 

What are the three most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are?

The first pivotal moment started with my first job in high school. I told my boss I didn’t want to go to college. He told me he would fire me if I didn’t go to college. That was easy, I went to college. The second pivotal moment was 10 years into my company and career after college. I noticed people gaining opportunities and I mine were limited. I looked to see what they had and I didn’t.  They all had their MBA degree. That was easy, I went and obtained my MBA degree, which led to a large opportunity for me. It brought me to Hendrickson and the heavy-duty industry. The third pivotal moment is not really third or any one moment. I moved my family around during my career and that led to many sacrifices. I will tell you that I would not be where I am today without the unwavering support of my wife and son. My family provides the critical pivotal moments for me to succeed.

 

Are there any industry leaders that have influenced you/mentored you? Who were they and how has their knowledge assisted you?

I have been very fortunate to have been influenced by a number of industry leaders. The list is numerous and would be unfair to any individual I would inadvertently omit if I started to list those folks. I continue to have the opportunities to be exposed and influenced by industry leaders and colleagues that include business owners, CEOs, product managers, engineers, fleet directors, etc. This diverse exposure and network provided me the knowledge and direction to be able to speak, develop strategies, and carry of view that is holistic vs. myopic.