Successful IAAF Conference sees high turnout

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) successfully hosted its best Annual Conference to date on 15 December with the high turnout of members benefitting from numerous discussions exploring IAAF’s key theme, ‘How to survive and thrive – post Brexit’.

The conference, held at the ICC in Birmingham and sponsored by Autoparts UK, welcomed a vast array of speakers to discuss a number of topical subjects affecting the industry and also offer essential advice to ensure the future of the aftermarket is protected, producing a lively debate for conference guests, while John Sergeant, the well-known BBC television and radio journalist, hosted the event.

IAAF chief executive, Wendy Williamson opened the proceedings summarising the political impact of the past year such as that of Brexit, while reassuring members that the federation is now looking to the future and exploring how it can embrace the changes and continue to thrive.

Niranjan Thiyagarajan from Frost & Sullivan then examined the importance of the aftermarket to the UK economy, presenting the results of a recent report carried out looking at the aftermarket in numbers.

Delegates also learned more about the threats of cybercrime and how to better protect their business with Iain O’Brien from Triple Wood Associates on hand to provide critical advice. The IAAF is now advising the industry to prepare their businesses against these dangers, encouraging its members to manage the potential threat of cybercrime at senior management level by training, briefing and practicing the danger with employees.

After lunch, Julian Lloyd from ProVQ, IAAF’s newest member, took to the stand to discuss the benefits that changing legislation to apprenticeship programmes will offer the aftermarket while providing positive real-life examples.

Neil Pattemore from FIGIEFA was also on hand to discuss the latest emerging threats to the aftermarket and the implications of Brexit, giving an end-of-term report from Brussels and a summary of legislation changes such as revised type approval and the federation’s commitment to highlighting the problems of the revision. Pattemore also explored the threat of the connected car and the complicated proposals that give vehicle manufacturers (VMs) sole access to in-vehicle data.

Alexander Haid from TecAlliance then issued a direct warning to the aftermarket urging the industry to act now and begin to find a solution to the connected car. Focusing on the Caruso telematics platform, Haid warned that the technology is already available and therefore the aftermarket should capitalise on this opportunity by “moving, investing and exploring” this huge market to find a single platform solution and ensure the future of the aftermarket, warning that if the aftermarket waits long, the VMs will take a bigger share.

Lawrence Bleasdale, IAAF president, brought the proceedings to a close outlining the key messages of the conference and thanking all members for attending, as well as the organisers for successfully arranging the event.

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