The certification of aftermarket auto parts has continued to be a hot-button topic in the industry. As consumers and manufacturers alike look to find the best “middle ground” for distributing quality parts without burdening the supply chain with extensive bureaucracy, the tracing of ISO certification has helped to clear the air a bit. We have all heard about the raging battle between aftermarket manufacturers and the large auto companies, but if the automakers are truly concerned about “quality and nothing more”, they should be fine with ISO certification flowing through the supply chain.
The issue doesn’t rest with consumers, however, as most are satisfied with getting reasonable quality for a good price. It’s the body shops and insurers that are concerned about the overall effectiveness of auto parts that don’t have the necessary certs to back their claims. This is a sound concern, and something that the ABPA has delved into at length.
The ultimate goal of the newly created committee, which includes ABPA members, is to establish a system that allows any interested party to track the supply chain of a given aftermarket part. How does this information help? In truth, the ability to learn who manufactured it and whether or not they are meeting a variety of safety standards is something that can help alleviate the concerns of professionals employing the use of the parts, and give greater transparency to an industry that has come under fire from the monopolizing automakers.
Using ISO certification as the benchmark, parts manufacturers must apply for (and of course, receive) certification that will last for a duration of 3 full years. From that point, the organization must re-submit their credentials to receive another period of certified backing from ANAB. The process isn’t as easy as filling out paperwork, however, as the certifications themselves are taken quite seriously. Instead, the rigid guidelines will help to identify parts that do not meet safety or performance standards, giving consumers, professionals, and anyone else involved in the supply chain enough information to make an education decision regarding the use of the auto part.
Another topic that the committee must turn their attention to involves “Partslink”, the aftermarket part database. Should they require that all organizations seeking certification funnel their parts through the popular search queue? For distributors, this would be a welcomed change, as it would make it incredibly easy to look closely at the parts being sold and shipped.
More information will be coming down the pipe regarding these issues and how they will be resolved. For now, we know that things are being modified to ensure quality protection for distributors, installation professionals, and drivers, alike. And, any time quality is on the rise, we’re all ears…