I've written about the need for skilled workers to continuously upgrade their skills and expand their knowledge base in order to remain competitive. This applies not just to the retail auto industry but to all industries today.
Dealer principals and managers also need to stay current with new developments, in order to run their businesses more efficiently and competitively. The main industry event that I attend to upgrade my skills and knowledge base is the annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo in the U.S.
The 2015 NADA Convention & Expo is the largest trade show of its kind devoted to the retail automobile industry and it draws over 20,000 dealership personnel, industry professionals and participating exhibitors from around the world.
At the NADA, every product and service used within a dealership can be found at the show, from exterior signage, building design and architectural elements to automotive tools and diagnostic equipment, customer retention products and marketing systems. The NADA is a one-stop shop for all things dealership related.
Not only do dealer principals and managers go to check out the array of products and services. For many (including myself), the NADA offers instructional workshops on dealership activities, such as fixed operations, human resources, digital marketing, health and safety, and more.
The workshops are between 40 and 90 minutes in length and feature top speakers and industry experts from across North America. This year, I attended several workshops and learned many innovative ideas, which I'll implement at our dealer group in the months ahead.
The knowledge that I acquire at NADA allows me to furnish our dealerships and co-workers with better tools, equipment and resources, which in turn allows us to operate more efficiently and better serve our customers.
The knowledge that we gather at NADA and other industry events also allows the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) to produce and host bi-annual Canadian Digital Dealer Conferences, an annual Ontario Dealer Day (both of which are trade shows for dealerships, personnel and suppliers) and the Canadian International AutoShow.
Although the NADA is the single largest and most influential trade show for the retail auto industry in North America, the education of dealer principals and managers extend beyond the NADA.
As we also attend auto shows in different cities, where we evaluate the competition and gauge consumer reactions to new vehicles and accessories. We attend networking sessions and dealer group meetings, where we share ideas and best practices with other dealer principals and managers.
In today's fast-moving marketplace, new ideas, products and services are being introduced all the time, and dealerships can't afford to sit still. In fact, 'constant change' and 'education' are themes that I discuss whenever I address high school and post-secondary students.
Whatever career path a student is considering in the car industry (automotive technician, service advisor, brand specialist, accountant, marketing expert, human resource specialist), he/she can expect that ongoing education is a mandatory job requirement.
In closing, I'm delighted to report that the 2015 Canadian International AutoShow was an overwhelming success. This year's show raised the bar again in terms of wow factor and attendance, and I'd like to express a sincere thank you to AutoShow President, Benny Leung; General Manager, Jason Campbell, and their entire team; to Todd and his team at the TADA; and to the Colleges that provided students and resources at the TADA booth; and I'd like to thank everyone who visited the show.
I would also like to acknowledge all of the valued industry partners, exhibitors, sponsors and the manufacturers that participated in this year's show.
I hope that all of the visitors enjoyed themselves and I'm looking forward to next year's AutoShow - or, as I refer to it, Christmas in February.