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Automobile & Auto Accessories Industry

Automobile & Auto Accessories Industry

Automobile Industry | Automotive Business Consulting

Owning a private vehicle, especially a car, has always remained an innate human desire. It may be a used car or a brand new one rolling out of a showroom. It may be a luxury car or a utility vehicle. What one buys depends on their budget and user requirements. And once affordability is not a restricting factor, people also go beyond their requirements. For instance, someone who has started their job life will try for an entry-level segment car or a decent two-wheeler. But for an established and affluent businessman, owning a Mercedes may not be a big deal, whether or not it is a perfect match for his usage requirements.

Many automotive consultants worldwide with years of experience are of the view that even if auto sales have plummeted globally in the last one and a half years, the demand for automobiles is not going anywhere. But a long pending problem with the auto industry is that the manufacturers and dealerships are not able to devise business models and service delivery systems that strongly resonate with the market and consumer requirements. The transition to electric vehicles is yet another challenge of uncertainty heading towards them. The onset of the 2020 global pandemic limited their scope of making improvisations in business.

Challenges and Trends in the Automobile and Auto Accessories Industry

Deficient Production Levels

Owing to many reasons, including the shortage of semiconductors, there has been a decline in global motor vehicle production since 2020. Many auto retailers struggled for a while to fulfil the existing list of orders. Both automobile brands and automotive dealership consultants anticipate that chip shortage and other supply chain disruptions will continue to cause lesser production of motor vehicles till 2022. Being in the field of automotive business consulting for more than a decade, we believe that this is not going to dampen the global market demand. The supply chain will be a major area of work for automobile brands. Auto dealership agencies and auto parts dealers may not be able to sustain their operations if the auto companies fail to find solutions to the supply chain issues.

Transition to Electric Vehicles

Auto companies and automotive management consultants know that a glaring challenge for automobile companies is making the transition from gasoline-based motor vehicles into electric vehicles. This transition will call for major overhauls in the production systems. And prior to that, a lot of research and development and testing activities will have to be carried out. A significant amount of financial resources will be required to power these changes. If investors are not convinced, stock prices will hit the floor. Companies will have to give away the technical expertise they have acquired over decades. There will be major lay-offs especially in the engineering and other technical departments. Auto companies are likely to face industry-wide IR protests. Many top-level executives will have to make way for a new generation of leaders. The demand for automotive consulting services is also expected to see a surge.

Online Channel

Another big disruption that has affected the veteran players in the industry is the online channel. From facilitating expert product comparison to purchasing used cars, there are plenty of new-age businesses that have emerged harnessing the power of the internet and its popularity with the masses. From YouTube channels to C2C retail platforms, clarity and transparency provided by these informative and service-based entities have necessitated the conventional auto brands and their dealership agencies to exhibit the same level of authenticity. Many automotive management consulting experts from the industry already see omnichannel as a necessity for auto businesses.

Cab Aggregators and Sharing Economy

It has been more than 10 years since the concept of hired or shared mobility as we know it today came into existence. The business model stands proud and tall till the present day. Thanks to its utility to customers across the world. In many growing and developing cities across the world, many people chose to take it up as a business or simply for side income. There was a win-win reason for banks and businesses to work things out to finance the purchase of new cars for the cab business. But cab aggregators were not good news for auto manufacturers in the long game. Instead of buying a car, customers began to prefer using cab or pooling service. And so far, auto manufacturers have not been able to counter this utility competitively. There is no harm in taking external assistance from any experienced automotive management consultants for revamping the business model.

Inability to Utilize Remote Working

The concept of remote working has become a global phenomenon since 2020. With lockdowns and curfews of varying degrees coming into force across different parts of the world, remote working emerged as a solution to keep businesses running. But all businesses could not have applied this strategy. Retail auto dealers and distributors were one of them. Without opening their showrooms, stores or service centres, these businesses cannot sell or provide any service. Also, the services rendered by auto businesses cannot be considered as ‘essential’ unlike grocery or medical stores. And the global shutdown came too sudden for auto businesses or automotive consultants to make any changes. In our automotive business consulting services, we always stress that auto retailers should plan for such contingencies in the future.

Margin Pressure

Apart from the company-allotted profit margins, the business model of dealers also depends on the revenue from services and financing/insurance activities. It provides an avenue for auto retailers and dealers to decrease their dependence on auto companies for revenue generation. But that market is quickly heading towards high competition and saturation. And with pressure mounting on the auto companies, shrinking profit margins for auto dealers always remains a strong possibility.

Lack of Marketing Strategy

Most auto dealership businesses solely depend on the might of the auto brand they are associated with. They hardly carry any marketing strategy to seek growth and development outside the paradigm of their auto brand partners. Every auto brand allows only a limited number of dealers to operate within a city. This allows auto dealers to become complacent as competition is kept under containment within a brand umbrella. This can sometimes also be a restricting element.

Poor HR

Any experienced automotive business consultant could tell that most auto dealers and retailers lack the required HR management, strategies, and policies. The complexity of HR varies from business to business. But it does not negate the need for HR at all. Even if there is only one employee, business owners should define the hiring criteria. They should have a backup plan in situations of absence, leave, or resignation. These simple considerations assume high significance as we begin to consider larger businesses. Other areas where HR can help are having a planned organization structure, mapping and facilitating training requirements, carrying out performance reviews, addressing regulatory compliances, etc.

Operational planning with SOPs

Whether it is a business of auto parts or a car showroom, there is a multitude of operational activities that have to be carried out. These activities are in the areas of inventory management, sales and servicing, purchase and reordering, CRM, housekeeping, HR, finance, administration, etc. The vastness and complexity of these processes and operations depend on the business size and operations. But the universal requirement is that these activities need to be planned and mapped with operational detailing. Generally, the SOPs are provided by auto companies or their master franchisees. As automotive business consultants, we always emphasize that if SOPs are not provided by franchisors, businesses should develop these SOPs to ensure that their operations are smooth and are in alignment with the required standards.

How YRC can help

Started in 2012, we are a boutique retail and eCommerce consulting firm with a growing international presence. We have consulted over 500 clients in more than 20 verticals. In the automobile and auto accessories industry, we provide business consulting services to automobile dealership businesses of all sizes. We engage professional and expert auto business consultants in our projects. The same set of services is offered in auto accessories business consulting meant for SME auto parts retailers.

Considering the diverse nature and unique challenges of the industry, our automotive business consulting services are focused on designing and delivering precise solutions. Detailed market research is done to gain specific knowledge and understanding of the target market. Reports are accompanied by actionable insights, CTAs and recommendations to help clients formulate their business and marketing strategies.

With the transition to electric vehicles increasingly becoming a reality, the conventional auto manufacturers in the industry will have to focus on diversification. Markets have to be developed from scratch. As a part of our automotive business consulting services, in business model development, our team of automotive dealership consultants work on how brands can create a strong and sustainable differentiation with their offerings. Our team of auto accessories business consulting experts deal with the concerns and priorities of auto parts dealers and retailers. The objective is to help clients optimize the business impact of the ongoing disruptions in the auto industry as well as to build the future roadmap for making a smooth transition into the impending reality of electric vehicles.

In automotive management consulting, we help clients get a grip over their financial and commercial planning with our business plan development services. Here, our team of expert automotive business consultants make the required financial and commercial projections and estimates. This includes demand forecasting, purchase planning, cash flow management, ROI and break-even analysis, projected profit and loss statements, and more.

As digital channels begin to become an increasingly important factor in distribution and delivery, going omnichannel in a strategic way is the best foot forward for businesses in the auto industry. Auto dealers and retailers can digitize their business by staying within the service framework of their auto brands. In automotive consulting, our omnichannel expertise is aimed at helping businesses achieve the much-needed digital transformation from the inside out.

For more information on our automotive business consulting services or if you have any specific queries for our team of auto business consultants, drop us a message and we will reach out to you.

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We work only for Visionaries.

PROCESS AUTOMATION

The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

Photography includes the following steps:

  • Cataloguing your products
  • Cataloguing your images
  • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
  • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

IT INTEGRATION

Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

  • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
  • Where should your Warehouse be located?
  • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
  • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
  • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
  • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
  • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
  • How much space do I require for warehouse?
  • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

 

At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

UI & UX DESIGNING

This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

Part 2: UX Designing:

“UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

“As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

Part 3: UI Designing:

UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

  • In-house Design Team
  • Freelance Designers
  • Outsourced Design Team
  • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

BRANDING

Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

CRITICAL PATHWAY

Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

MARKET RESEARCH

Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.