The first Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) Industry Bitesize Briefing session of 2021 was a success, as members joined via Zoom to learn about digitalisation for the future of the aftermarket.

Hosted by IAAF’s Head of Membership Development, Mike Smallbone, the popular free-to-attend briefing session gave members an insight into how digital technology can help bring the automotive aftermarket together in a 360-degree journey.

Smallbone was joined by Ben Smith, founder of PECUVi Automotive, who discussed his latest launch, the Intelligent Motorist app: a vehicle health check solution for independent garages, workshops, distributors, service providers and customers.

Dubbed ‘the future of vehicle maintenance’, the Intelligent Motorist app aims to digitalise the future of the aftermarket. Smith talked attendees through the app, how it works, the services it offers and its benefits.

Smith discussed the rise of video over the last year, as consumers turned to the internet and technology to communicate more than ever when the pandemic hit. He highlighted that the need for businesses to adopt a video marketing strategy is now.

Smith explains: “The pandemic has brought forward a shift in mindset and process that was regarded by many as inevitable. This change is being driven by the transformation in how customers prefer to engage, due to the widespread adoption of digital communications.

“Technology means businesses can continue the personalised service and customer relationship-building that has served the industry so well for so long.”

Smith’s final thoughts encouraged the automotive aftermarket to “embrace digitalisation now if they are to remain relevant in today’s increasingly tech savvy consumer world.”

Smallbone wrapped up the session with an update on IAAF activity, looking at Brexit implications and consequences – addressing the combination of COVID-19 and Brexit as the “perfect storm” – and finishing up with an open forum.

Mike informed members on IAAF’s letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in January highlighting the Brexit issue, requesting some urgent help for the sector.

He also discussed how the federation is working with FIGIEFA to tackle issues including BER renewal, cyber security, type approval, OTP vs SVI, access to data and spare parts identification.

Smallbone finally commented: “The independent aftermarket is robust, we will get through this, we always do. The IAAF is here and will continue to fight for our sector.”

The next Industry Briefing Bitesize session will take place in May, with more details to be released in due course.