IARA Conference Enters New Era

By Tony Moorby September 01, 2020 187

“This is a people business!” Anyone in the automobile world has heard that a million times. It’s always been assumed that a physical presence is required at every level and stage of a car’s life from build and manufacture, distribution and sales, all the way through to a vehicle’s final demise at scrappage.

Sure, there has been a shift to take the human content out of the processes wherever possible to improve efficiencies, lower costs or even improve quality. But Covid 19 has been a massive accelerant in the replacement, refinement, even improvement in all kinds of everyday happenings that we probably thought of as immutable, at least for a long while.

Of course, automation is part of our total environment, touching all kinds of daily events and activities, but the speed of recent changes has been shocking. I don’t necessarily mean shocking in a bad way – even while awful consequences are touching every corner of peoples’ lives, including mine – everyday activities are being reassessed, necessities are being reappraised and even relationships are being questioned as to priorities in corporations and even families.

The existence of this virus has caused everyone to ask what I call ‘the stretching questions’; the ones that demand answers beyond the norm. Can I do this? No. What if I have to? Well, maybe if… What if I absolutely have to, no excuses? Perhaps under certain circumstances… Then more so these days, what if my life depends on it? Then yes, you have to find a way.

Our industry, like many, holds conventions to meet and get up to date on the latest trends, share best practices, swap stories and lies, break bread and even raise an elbow as social ties are made or maintained. They’re informative, enjoyable and expensive, both to arrange and to attend as well as taking time (time is money too, of course).

Such communication becomes even more important and even urgent in the dire circumstances we deal with today.

So, as we cannot actually attend some conventions, technology has stepped in to save the day. I don’t mean to sound glib – I was far from convinced that such an undertaking could be successful and have happy ‘attendees’ feeling that their time was well spent as though at a normal, face-to-face meeting.

New market conditions that normally take place over time and have certain rhythms, have been squashed like a concertina and forced us into a new paradigm, the like of which has never been seen.

New ways to do things have not only become necessary but have grown to be acceptable at lightning speed.

The nation’s auto auctions have had to immediately go online to reach audiences of buyers and sellers – a move that was seen to be part of an inevitable future but at a pace that was to be as smooth and comfortable for all involved.

Enter Covid 19 and all those ‘stretching questions’ for all the parties to come up with workable answers for commerce to continue. And remarkably it has.

IARA, the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance recently held their Summer Roundtable, all online and well presented by industry experts and everyday users discussing progress, processes, pros and cons of the newly created marketplace we’re living in now. The performances were polished and professional, and the hosts enabled a real-time chat room for questions, comments and occasional light-hearted banter.

While, like the auctions, most people were looking forward to getting back to eye-to-eye meetings, it was broadly observed that the efficiency of this type of meeting could enable gatherings, not only more often but could be segmented to individual user groups throughout the year.

The people in this business are as creative as they’ve ever been and I’m positive we’ll see even more innovation as a result of current difficulties.

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 September 2020 14:36