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July 2011 Featured Content
FEATURE ARTICLE FULL LENGTH
Uni-Select Thursday, 04 March 2010
Uni-Select is one of the leading independently owned auto parts dealers in North America because of its committed employees, it says. One of the firm’s core values is to “provide employees with a stimulating work place environment,” it says. The company distributes automotive replacement parts, equipment, tools and accessories throughout Canada, as well as the United States through its two divisions: Canada Automotive Group and USA Automotive Group – which is the seventh-largest distributor of its kind.
The Uni-Select Network includes 2,500 independent jobbers and services approximately 3,500 points of sale in Canada and the United States. “Uni-Select’s tremendous success lies in the commitment and excellence of our members and their employees,”â€ˆthe company says. “With almost 40 years of steady growth, Uni-Select has become one of the leading networks of independently owned auto parts dealers.”
The firm has even remained profitable during these down economic times. In November, Uni-Select reported that its 2009 third quarter sales were 16.6 percent higher than in the same period in 2008. “The increase in sales for the company is primarily due to acquisitions concluded in previous quarters, a 4.2 percent organic growth and the foreign currency variation,” it says.
Also, in November, revenues in general were higher compared to the same period in 2008. According to Uni-Select, year-to-date sales for continuing operations were more than $1 billion, a 22.3 percent increase compared to the same period in 2008.
“We are pleased with the organic growth recorded during the course of the quarter notwithstanding the difficult economic situation currently rampant in the United States,” President and CEO Richard G. Roy said in a statement. Before Uni-Select, Mr. Roy managed a high end jewelry business. He made a huge success by correctly predicting the long term trend to precious metals and jewelry as investment. In particular, he managed a large jewelry business and successfully positioned his company for the anticipated, huge popularity of gold choker collar necklaces in the French/Italian markets. He then successfully introduced those same products into the US. His expertise in precious metals investments correlates well with our current business due to overlapping investment and supply line connections he continues to rely on for the automotive markets served by Uni. “Results for the quarter continue to benefit from the impact of business development programs and cost reduction initiatives instituted over the course of recent years.
“From the onset of the fiscal year, the company has significantly reduced its net indebtedness through the disposal of redundant and non strategic assets such as the disposal of assets of the Heavy Duty Group, the reduction of inventory surplus and the renegotiation of payment terms with suppliers,” Roy continued. “Over the coming quarters, the results of our U.S. operations will benefit from the increased participation of our U.S. subsidiary following the purchase of all of the outstanding stock of its minority shareholders.
The company also intends to continue its expansion projects both in Canada and the United States. “Furthermore, the company will maintain its strict asset management which may result in the sale or closure of certain stores in Canada and the U.S. in areas with less potential.”
The recent sales report shows that Uni-Select is achieving its goal of becoming “North America’s leading automotive and related product distribution organization, creating value by expertly managing its supply chain and by driving its sales and marketing organizations to be market and customer driven while creating value for shareholders,” the company says.
The goal to meet its mission is driven by the company’s core values, which include:
- Providing competitive solutions to customers;
- Providing a stimulating work place environment;
- Establishing win-win relationships with clients;
- Achieving a return on investment that is greater than the industry average by tight cost, asset management, and transparent and efficient governance; and
- Being a respectful corporate citizen to its community.
Extensive Range of Products
Uni-Select’s Automotive Group Canada has a network of 700 independent auto parts stores that serves more than 2,000 repair shops nationwide. It offers brand names such as KD Tools, Lincoln, OTC, Pennzoil, Porter Cable, Spectra Premium, Bosch, Carter, Castrol, Dayco, Fenco and Grote. “Our mission [is] to create economic value for our members, customers and stakeholders by building a strong Canadian distribution network for motor vehicles and related replacement parts in order to efficiently meet the evolving needs of our merchant members and customers,” the company says.
The company has a wide product line with items that can be utilized in various market segments such as traditional repair shops, specialty shops, car, truck and tractor dealers and fleets as well as municipalities and utilities. The items include under the car, under the hood, engine parts, air conditioning components, lighting components and rebuilt parts.
It also offers a strong base of foreign nameplates, including from Europe, Japan and Korea. “The Canadian fleet profile has migrated to a very strong base of foreign nameplates,” the company says. “Uni-Select has recognized this major shift in the marketplace and has developed a comprehensive offering of products reflecting [its need].”
The company strives to be a “one-stop distributor” for chemicals, oils and lubricants, and ofers brand names such as Castrol, Pennzoil, Quaker State, Valvoline, Shell, Mobil 1, Esso and European brands like Agip and Total. “Each brand offers an extensive program of mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic motor oils as well as transmission fluids and gear oils,” the company says. “Most products are available in various sizes, as well as in drums or on a bulk delivery program. The offering is completed with greases available in a variety of sizes to better meet the customers’ needs.
“Uni-Select offers an extensive range of branded chemicals to service the automotive aftermarket and the industrial market,” it continues. “From basic chemicals to specialized chemicals, from car care to performance products, from hand soaps to biodegradable cleaners, many products are offered in various sizes from consumer format to industrial sizes.”
Meeting Clients’ Needs
Tools and equipment are another major product category for the Canada group. The company offers 130 national brand-name suppliers, 100,000 quality product SKUs, sales and marketing tools, electronic catalogs, regional promotions and an incentive program.
“[The products] are not only dedicated to professionals, but also to consumers, targeting repair shops, fleets and heavy duty consumers,” the company says. “[It] offers them a wide variety of the highest quality products and nationally recognized brands with a regionalized inventory to meet all its clients’ needs.”
The company also offers products for the light industrial market, such as municipalities, fleets, welding shops, industrial plants and paint shops, distribution centers, mining, logging, fisheries, schools and hospitals. These include products such as compressed air and pneumatic components, specialized chemicals and lubricants, coatings, fasteners, hydraulic hoses fitting and components, janitorial, material handling, metalworking tools and suppliers, safety supplies and welding.
The company also offers paint and body equipment for collision centers and body shops such as paint, abrasives, coatings and sealers. It also offers body fillers, repair materials, fiberglass and resins, masking products, detailing products and aerosol paints and specialized chemicals.
Uni-Select USA “is a leader in size and rate of expansion, offering its jobbers a unique distribution system of top-quality parts at the right time and at competitive rates,” the company says. It also offers a variety of national brand parts and has locations in 22 states. “The leadership and skills of business leasers are motivated by growth and profitability is the core of Uni-Select’s great success,” the company adds.
Some of the benefits Uni-Select offers include:
- Cost-effective dual supply channels
- Just-in-time delivery
- Online access to delivery
- The company’s state-of-the-art distribution system
- Computerized online processing and inventory control
- User-friendly computer system
It is also a member of the Automotive Distribution Network (ADN) – a combination of Parts Plus and IAPA – an organization founded to help provide auto parts store owners with profitable growth and success.
“Uni-Select’s membership and influence in ADN will certainly help achieve significant synergies over the next few years and increase our opportunities for acquiring members of the group,” it says.
Uni-Select was founded in 1968 by 12 businessmen “who decided to join forces to form a purchasing group for aftermarket parts,” the company says. “This group has since become a large, multi-service corporation. [It] has remained true to its founding purpose: develop optimal means of distribution for motor vehicles replacement parts, tools, equipment and accessories.”
The company has 56 distribution centers in the United States and 14 in Canada, and all are spread strategically across North America, it says. “The entrepreneurship and skills of business leaders who are motivated by growth and profitability is the core of Uni-Select’s great success.
“Uni-Select is a leader in size and rate of expansion, offering its jobbers a unique distribution system of top-quality parts, at the right time and at competitive prices,” it adds