In the above pictrue from AAPEX 2017, Mort Schwartz on the left along with Carm Capriotto.
If there is one person synonymous with the aftermarket parts industry, that person, clearly, is Mort Schwartz. An engineer by training, receiving two degrees from New York University, Mort Schwartz spent 12 years at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, from 1956 to 1968, rising to the level of Vice President. Schwartz was named president of the distribution group of Maremont Corporation, a manufacturer of muffler and suspension parts, now a part of ArvinMeritor.
Between 1968 and 1999, he served as chairman and CEO of four different automotive aftermarket companies. Mort is a past Board member of parts distributor WORLDPAC, Incorporated. He has served the aftermarket ably for over 40 years. He was chairman of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association, the Automotive Parts and Accessories Association, the California Automotive Wholesalers Association, and the California Automotive Task Force. He was instrumental in enacting many changes in the aftermarket industry, particularly in the area of education. He was one of the first aftermarket board members of the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) and led the way for the aftermarket to embrace certification for both technicians and countermen.
It’s safe to say that if you are even remotely involved in the automotive aftermarket ….. you’ve heard of Mort Schwartz! In 1996, Schwartz founded the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS), a forum where leaders in the automotive aftermarket industry could come together in one place, at one time, and hear top industry leaders present their points of view about the trends taking place today–and over the next five years. The primary goal of the Symposium, however, was that the net proceeds of the event would be used to fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in the automotive aftermarket. Well over 3,000 students have been beneficiaries of Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium Scholarships since the program began. GAAS ran for 19 years and was combined with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and are providing up to 200 – 300 students scholarships per year.
Whenever there is a gathering of aftermarket industry executives, you will most likely find Mort Schwartz as a presenter, panel moderator, or simply as an ambassador and friend. Schwartz received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Northwood University in 2007. In addition, Northwood University has established the Mort Schwartz Fellowship, a scholarship awarded to a student studying Automotive Aftermarket Management.
Invterview talking points:
Decades of change from three to four step distribution to the e-commerce of today.
Mort saw the need to bring import parts to the distribution network at his company and asked their domestic supplier to get into import parts.
Late 40’s/50’s/60’s. The growth of WD’s, (Warehouse Distributions) Jobber’s, Shops with returning Veterans buying/starting small businesses.
Note : Auto’s became the only major item that could be repaired the same day….by 5 PM. This versus TV’s, appliances, phones, etc.
That shaped the whole Industry to provide “now” availability of a huge spectrum of parts.
60’s/70’s. Use of computers to do purchasing and Inventory control. – Triad/CCI story.
70’s/80’s. The growth of Program Groups emulating GPC (NAPA)
80’s/90’s. A strategy of owning stores – O’Reilly story. They set the pace for WD’s to own their own stores.
90’s/20’s. The growth of two-steppers – WORLDPAC story.
20’s/present. Use of the Internet to communicate thru the channels while consolidation increases both vertical and horizontal.
Manufacturing, distribution and installation consolidation.
Access to parts is moving at the speed of life.
Consolidation has been good for the consumer.
Four major factors that will reshape the aftermarket. CASE.
Adapt and change if you want to survive.
The power in the industry resides at the service level. A well run dynamic shop owner has his choice on how and who will service him and where he will get his parts.
Education is different today and is a requirement for sustainable success.
Mort was a founder of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS). They have provided over 3,000 scholarships to students who need the help. 2/3 go to students who want to become technicians.
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