Title: IDEAL Brake Parts – Breaking The Automotive Industry Status Quo
Organization Name: IDEAL Brake Parts
Industry: Automotive Parts
Name of Contact: Jason Janssen (General Manager)
Who Are They?
IDEAL Brake Parts Inc. is a relatively new automotive parts company located in Guelph, Ontario. It was founded only a few years ago as there became a growing demand for auto parts made entirely in Canada. This grew from ever-increasing concerns surrounding the quality and safety of auto parts on the market today, specifically in this case brake component – one of the most important safety features that is found in all vehicles. The vast majority of brake parts are made in Asia and Mexico using lower quality products and with shortcuts being taken when they should not be. Additionally, asbestos is still widely used in brakes coming out of these regions (an extremely harmful toxic substance).
What They Do
IDEAL is the definition of high quality and safety. All of its parts are made right here in Southern Ontario by highly trained manufacturers. Furthermore, all of their products are 100% asbestos free. In terms of product development and design, this entire company was created out of direct recommendation and involvement by the customer – notably through social media and in person recommendations. The parent company of IDEAL is another larger auto parts company located in Southern Ontario. After many years of operating along with other auto parts companies and following the status quo, the parent company became increasingly involved with their customers and began implementing many of their small-scale recommendations to their product and service (this company operates in both B2B and B2C contexts). However, one recommendation became increasingly common: customers were looking for higher quality and Canadian made.
After several years of planning, IDEAL Brake Parts Inc. was finally created, becoming one of the only companies to operate using these standards. From the get go, IDEAL was formed with the notion of being customer driven – the customers had great control over new product and service ideas. The parent company was left to operate in the status quo and maintain their share of business in the broader brake industry, while IDEAL was created with the intention of challenging the status quo and to push forward into a new frontier of high quality Canadian made.
Not totally sure what brake parts are? Have a quick look at this Wikipedia article to give you a brief overview!
Customer Driven Products and Design
Today, IDEAL now employs social media much more widely than their parent company and is really leading the way, especially for a traditionally laggard industry that is automotive parts.
Scott M. (Brand Manager with IDEAL), says that “the very essence of our business is customer driven. In an industry where virtually every other major company just dictates to the customer what they are doing and what their options are, IDEAL has built a strong foundation of working directly with our retailers and the individual customers to build and develop every aspect of our business”.
This tangibly translates to many different product offerings and constant tweaking of their products, services, and delivery. Customers can request new products or different variations of a product be made. IDEAL also works closely with mechanics and garages to make their job easier by including certain ‘custom pieces’ in addition to the break parts that makes installation on the vehicles a better fit, easier, and quicker. Finally, IDEAL excels in service delivery, whether it be the end of the line customer, the retailer, or the distributor. How do they coordinate all of this? Social media and direct customer communications!
Customers (both B2B and B2C) are encouraged to really get involved in the process of development and design, recommendations, and feedback. IDEAL utilizes this method both within their organization among their employees, and throughout all levels of their supply chain. The customers also play a very important role. Customer engagement and employee engagement are very high and create the foundation for the direction the company follows. All aspects of the product, service, and delivery are the direct result of either previous recommendations from their parent company, or new insights from the last few years as IDEAL has been growing. This involvement throughout the entire supply chain and in regards to product development and design is extremely rare in this industry.
According to Scott M., it seems to be working – “sales growth has been very strong in our first few years of operation. We expect this continue indefinitely. However, given the nature of our involvement in strategic planning and product design with our customers, we need to ensure that our costs are kept within check and we are still able to manufacture the products while staying competitive on price”.
This will definitely be a major challenge for IDEAL moving forward. However, it appears they have established themselves in an ideal position, as customer satisfaction and loyalty is extremely high. As a result of their engagement through Facebook, Twitter, direct email campaigns, community events, and other social media initiatives, they are able to establish a front row seat into understanding what their customers want – and simply working to deliver on it.
After reading this blog, some of you may still be wondering what ‘brake parts’ really refer to in this context. Here is a short little clip explaining the very basics!
And here is a sound clip explaining what brake drums are!
Lessons For Others
1) An authentic incorporation of customer desires, ideas, and input can act as a crucial driver in your product development and organizational success
2) Even in traditional / less innovative industries there is still opportunity for innovation
3) Ensure that your innovation and customer involvement in design and development does not hinder the ability for your company to compete from a financial perspective
Any comments, opinions, or thoughts? I’d love to hear them!
General Website: IDEAL Brake Parts
Wikipedia Article: Brake
Submitted By: Jeff Baldwin
Author Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any concerns regarding the accuracy or information posted on this site, please forward them to myself, Jeff Baldwin.