Getting to know Automann
Jeev Khanduja, vice president
Mike Baker, regional sales manager (west coast)
Please briefly describe the history of Automann.
Automann USA is a family-owned business that was formed in 1994. The companies focus then remains the same today, to become a premier supplier to the heavy-duty aftermarket distributors.
Please briefly describe your company’s manufacturing structure: What do you build, who are your customers, etc.?
Today, we manufacture a percentage of our product offering while at the same time working with world class factories to contract-manufacture the broad range of products we service to the aftermarket. Our current customer range includes heavy-duty aftermarket distributors (distributors and spring shops), truck and trailer manufacturers and dealers.
What separates Automann from competitors in its marketplace?
The root of what separates us from our competition is our passion and desire for the business / industry. Our people’s passion and desire is the key ingredient.
How do you believe customers perceive your business?
I think our customers view us as an innovative, forward thinking and driven organization that continues to invest in product development to help the aftermarket distributor offer a wide product offering to their customer base.
How and why do your customers stay loyal to your business?
We strive to meet and exceed our customers needs and expectations on an ongoing basis. Our customers see that we continuously respond to their requests whether they are for new products, innovating website tools, wider product offering, displays for their show rooms, specialty packaging, etc., and that means a lot to them. We become a relevant part of their business and we continuously strive to stay relevant in their day-to-day business. Our customers know that we are just as concerned with their success as we are with ours.
What is one thing most customers/suppliers don’t know about Automann that would surprise/impress them?
I think that our customers would be surprised to know that we really focus on our people and their families.
What does Automann mean to the Khanduja family?
Automann started with a product offering of less than 100 part numbers in 1994, today we offer more than 18,000 part numbers. There is a tremendous sense of pride, accomplishment and responsibility that goes along with that, but only long enough to stay focused on the future.
What are the pros and cons when working for a family-owned business?
Hahaha, this one is always tough to answer because there is no real downside to working in a family business as long as we are all united in the direction we are headed. It’s extremely rewarding to work in a family business that fosters and supports growth and development in all aspects of the business.
What makes Automann a great place to work?
Environment; Our people enjoy and appreciate our full speed ahead style. They also know that their opinions and suggestions are always welcome and aren’t shy of sharing them.
How vital is it to have quality employees entering your business from younger generations, and how are you trying to recruit these younger professionals?
Finding and bringing on young talent hasn’t been an easy task but we certainly have focused on it and are continuing to recruit the younger generations entering the workforce. We recently landed a couple stand outs from the younger generations. They were identified through networking with current employees and industry colleagues. We are pairing them with seasoned veterans so the “old guard” can teach the new. In turn we are seeing our “old guard” learning some new tricks of their own. It’s a great mix.
Do you feel Automann is in the position to change with the times? If so how?
Yes certainly, our investment in technology is a core competency to our business. Our website is the best reference tool our customers use on a daily basis and we continuously work to improve it.
Do you have any advice for the next generation, as they work in this industry?
I think the best piece of advice I can offer is to stay focused on building solid, honest relationships with the various industry professionals.
What are your goals for the long-term future of Automann?
To continue our efforts to expand our presence in our markets, improve our product coverage and quality, and recruit the best people.
Why did Automann join GenNext? How can GenNext help Automann’s employees?
We believe strongly that our people remain our largest asset. Our participation in GenNext provides us the opportunity to better understand and network with todays, and certainly tomorrows, industry leaders. I think GenNext can best help us with the sharing of information and opportunity to acquire the skill to communicate with the next generation.