By CRM Staff
Markham, Ontario -- March 27, 2018 -- On Thursday, March 22, more than 350 auto recyclers came together for the Ontario Auto Recyclers Association (OARA) conference. The three-day event was the best-attended OARA conference in the organization's history.
Opening with an executive meeting on Thursday evening where the 2018 board was chosen, the Friday saw the majority of guests arrive. With twenty speakers delivering presentations on everything from changes in tire disposal regulations to strategies to build online sales, executive director Steve Fletcher warned attendees that the schedule would be rigidly enforced.
"I've spoken to the speakers about staying on top of timing, but just so you all know, we have so many presentations this year, that I may interrupt in order to keep things moving." Over the course of the presentations, a common theme began to develop: Canadian recyclers are falling behind their American peers in the digital marketplace. In his presentation on how to make the most of product descriptions on Car-Part and Car-Part-Pro, company president Jeff Schroeder drew attention to this growing gulf.
"A few years ago, Canada was way ahead of the States in terms of internet sales," said Schroeder, "But that trend has been reversed. Today, we see that 48 percent of sales in the United States are tiered." This theme was further explored in keynote speaker JC Cahill's lively presentation, “Who Moved My Cheese.” In his first speech of the convention, the owner of New England Auto and Truck Recyclers called on his Canadian peers to get with the times.
"A customer doesn't know whether a part you are advertising comes directly from you, or if it is from another supplier," Cahill said,"But do they care? No. They just want to know that you can give it to them."
On Friday afternoon, the trade show brought more than 50 exhibitors to the Hilton Conference Centre. Towards the end of the trade show, the winners of the charity draw were announced, with the event raising $21,000 for the children of OARA employees.
After fifteen years on the OARA board and eleven as the chair, Wally Dingman announced he would be stepping down late last year. To celebrate Wally's years of dedication, he was presented with the OARA member of the year award by his successor, Greg Woodbeck of Woodbeck Auto Parts.
"I don't want to speak for Wally, but I am sure he'd agree that his work promoting and implementing EASR is one of his greatest accomplishments on the board," said Woodbeck. "Wally's presence on the board will be missed."
Woodbeck, who was re-elected to serve as chairman, embarks on his second term alongside treasurer Mary Poirier of Valley Automotive and secretary Derek Nissen of Hank's Auto Wreckers, both of whom were also re-elected. Newcomer Darrell Pitman, of P&G Auto, was also chosen to serve on the board.