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THIS year’s online AADA Convention & Expo, which is free to dealers, is heading for record numbers of delegates as dealers prepare for two days of non-stop management programs which can be ‘attended’ from the dealership or from home.

For the first time ever, dealers from all over Australia can get access to the AADA Convention program without having to expend travel time and cost to attend the event. Dealers can also include staff and management in the program, while participating from their desks.

The event organiser, Patrick Tessier told GoAutoNews Premium: “The dealer principal numbers are really high. We are tracking to be over 1000 without question.  This will be a record number of dealer principals in the 24 years I have been running this event.

“What I would really like to ignite is the service managers and the used-car managers a bit more because we have a really good program for them and we are relying on the dealer principals to include them,” Mr Tessier said.

“We have 36 workshops. There is something for everybody in the leadership group in the dealership in this programme. I suppose if there’s an underlying message you can give your used-car managers, new-car managers, fixed operations managers and all your leaders is they can access all this great content without ever leaving the dealership. And it’s free.”

This year’s AADA Convention and Expo, to be held via the convention website on November 10 and 11, will have live programming of special presentations by leaders in their fields as well as participative conferencing software for workshops covering all elements of the various disciplines of dealership management.

Patrick Tessier

The ‘conventional’ event was postponed earlier this year as the pandemic set in and Mr Tessier took the decision in May to hold a virtual electronic event.

Mr Tessier studied online automotive conferences around the world and has assembled the latest background technology to deliver the conferencing to an online audience.

The convention will be free to dealers signing up for the event and non-dealers will pay $159 for the two days.

One feature of the event is that both mornings will be broadcast to participants in the form of a studio TV show. The face of the event will be David McCarthy who ran the corporate affairs team at Mercedes-Benz Australia for many years and was an influential strategist for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

Mr Tessier has also combined the need for both management workshops with the need for sponsors to get exposure for their products and services by bringing the two functions together.

So sponsors have been invited to prepare a 15-minute presentation on insights into their specialty and how dealers can use the “solutions based” information presented to improve the management of that segment of their operations.

Recently announced additions to the program include:

The Future of Work by Jo Jericho. Ms Jericho leads Deloitte’s Strategy, Growth and Transformation team. Her expertise ties together the disciplines of business strategy, customer experience and employee experience into value-add transformations.

Recently, she has been helping automotive businesses reimagine their futures that have been reshaped by COVID, and believes future work models will be driven by choice and autonomy around when and where, and how and why work is completed.

Mr Tessier said that this session was organised in response to many requests from dealers for assistance in HR and how to manage staff as dealerships emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Jo will present exciting opportunities to accelerate business strategy and enhance customer experience. Dealers will learn more about how they should be re-shaping their businesses in 2021 and beyond.”

Another strategic must-view, Mr Tessier says, is a presentation by Dr Marco Hecker, lead of Deloitte’s Asian automotive-sector strategic focus.

Entitled, Don’t be scared, be prepared – the evolving automotive landscape, Dr Hecker will explore how the global automotive ecosystem is embarking on an unprecedented period of change, with the ever-increasing digitisation of processes, changing customer experience expectations, the tightening of operational gross levels across businesses and the evolution of product with the introduction of electric vehicles.

As an industry futurist, he will discuss the shifting profit pools within the industry’s value chain and the impact that this will have on dealers. Dr. Hecker will explore how dealers should be preparing to take advantage of shifting market conditions and CASE management trends and the opportunity ahead for dealers embracing the change.

Also recently announced is a major session Managing through a crisis, a panel discussion conducted by Mr McCarthy with Cameron McIntyre, CEO & managing director of carsales, and Paul Scurrah, who recently announced he was leaving Virgin Australia as CEO and managing director.

Mr Tessier said that there was no playbook on how businesses should respond to the pandemic emergency and no script to follow to not only sustain and protect businesses but to prepare them for growth post-COVID-19.

In this session, convention host David McCarthy will sit down with Mr Scurrah and Mr McIntyre, two of Australia’s most hands-on CEOs who led businesses that COVID-19 has challenged in ways they never considered would happen.

  • In addition, Chris Downie, of Silver-Bullet Business Advisory, will conduct a session on Service Department Profit Exploration & Acceleration in which he will ask fixed operations managers: Are you at 20 per cent return on sales in your service business? Are your facilities and people working to capacity?
  • Mr Downie will discuss the need to plan a pathway to get the best level of profit and return from a service department and how this is the silver bullet of a dealership.

By John Mellor

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