Presented by Centric Parts and its StopTech performance and racing division

June 24, 2011

U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano Visits Centric Parts

U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano Discusses Issues Facing Centric Parts

On June 8, 2011, Centric Parts was honored to welcome Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and her staff to our City of Industry facility for a Congressional visit. Rep. Napolitano (D-CA) is serving her 7th term as the U.S. Representative for California’s 38th Congressional District, which includes City of Industry, Pomona, Norwalk and other parts of East Los Angeles County.

While visiting our offices the Congresswoman met with Centric Parts President, Dan Lelchuk, CFO Estelle Cohen and Director of Integrated Supply Chain Steve Hughes, who were grateful for the Representative’s time and insight.

The Centric Team with Rep. Napolitano
The Congresswoman met with our group to learn more about what Centric Parts does and to find out how she can better serve us as one of her larger constituents.

“What can I do for you? How can I better serve you and represent you in Congress,” the Representative asked. While jokingly declining an offer to make some parts deliveries to our customers, the Congresswoman was very helpful in several other ways. “I was with Ford Motor Company for 30 years in part inventory control, so I understand about the auto industry and the parts business.”

“We were able to talk to the Congresswoman about some of the legislation that is affecting the aftermarket. With her prior industry experience and long political career, she was extremely helpful in finding solutions,” said Estelle Cohen.

One of the bills discussed was CA SB750, which limits the ability of independent key providers to issue replacement keys for BMW vehicles. “The impact of Legislation like CA SB 750 will cost the aftermarket money and jobs,” explained Steve Hughes.

When Representative Napolitano asked for further evidence as to how this issue would impact consumers and small business owners, Hughes gave the following example, which seemed to resonate with the Congresswoman: “Imagine you are out in the middle of nowhere and you lose or damage your ignition key. If they don’t allow independent shops to cut those keys, you would be forced to go to the closest BMW dealer for a replacement. In some rural areas it is entirely possible that you wouldn’t be able to find a dealer nearby, so you’d likely be stuck waiting for a FedEx shipment the next couple of days.”

The group also discussed ongoing intellectual property (IP) issues - and patents in particular - that threaten our competitive advantage in overseas markets, a bearing Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD) that is unfairly being applied to a whole wheel hub assembly, and Right to Repair, which aims to protect consumers from a monopoly on car repairs while protecting the viability of independent repair shops.

“Right to Repair is the name given to legislation designed to allow small repair shops access to complex systems information from the original equipment manufacturers. With cars getting more complex every year, smaller repair shops increasingly lack the data and proprietary tools necessary to perform repairs themselves,” explained Steve Hughes. “The number of computers and computer controlled functions on new cars is staggering.”

“Right now, there is no legislation preventing original equipment manufacturers from limiting access to computer codes and other data that independent repair shops need in order to perform adequate repairs on vehicles,” explained Centric President Dan Lelchuk. “If they chose to do so, and they have on numerous occasions already, the OEMs could keep that information private, forcing consumers to have their repairs done at the dealership. Not only would consumers likely have to pay higher repair bills due to a lack of competition, but it could easily drive independent repair shops out of business altogether.”

Lelchuk continued, “We strongly believe that consumers should have the right to get their personal property serviced where they choose. That’s why the U.S. needs to pass a Right to Repair bill like House Bill HR1449, recently introduced by Congressman Edolphus Townes of New York. The Right to Repair Act has been around for a decade in one form or another, but we haven’t been able to get Congress to move on it. This is a critical issue for our industry that needs to be dealt with.”

While promising to further review these issues, the Congresswoman also recommended individuals in the private and public sector who may be of further assistance at the local, state and national levels. Rep. Napolitano supplied names and numbers and even a few on-the-spot connections with some of her many contacts.

It was a very productive meeting that resulted in several specific suggestions that will better help Centric meet its current and future goals. In fact, Hughes and Cohen have already been in contact with Napolitano’s  Legislative Director in Washington, Joe Sheehy, regarding possible resolutions to some of these issues. Centric looks forward to working with the Representative and her staff even more in the future.

June 14, 2011

Pacific Jobbers Warehouse Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Style

Centric Parts VP of Sales, Mike Musso, recently traveled to Hawaii to attend a 25th anniversary celebration honoring one of Centric Parts' distributors, Pacific Jobbers Warehouse. Mike wasn’t alone either, as more than 525 people showed up at the Honolulu Country Club to celebrate this special occasion.

Centric Parts booth display

During its 25 years in business Pacific Jobbers has continually grown and that trend continues even today. The company recently announced that it is planning on opening another location on the island of Maui in August.

Gary and Mike
Centric’s booth at the event was manned by our sales rep in Hawaii, Gary Kaneshiro, who said that everybody who came by had only positive things to say about Centric – and PosiQuiet pads in particular. Congratulations to Pacific Jobbers on reaching this milestone and here’s to another 25!

Gary with a customer

June 8, 2011

Kansas Career & Technology Center Training Next Generation of Technicians

The Kansas Career & Technology Center (KCTC) in Memphis, Tennessee is a vocational training center within the Memphis City Schools system. They provide vocational training to nearly 300 students each year to prepare them for careers after school. “We prepare literate, responsible people for their roles of leadership in a technological society. We strive to teach our students that learning is a life-long commitment and that all citizens have the responsibility of improving themselves and their surroundings,” reads the school’s mission statement.

Instructor Brian Sneed teaches Automotive Technology at the KCTC, giving his students hands-on experience with Hummer H1 SUVs and military HMMWVs. The students learn about maintenance and repair work, including rebuilding front brake calipers and installing lines and rear parking brake calipers.

Brian recently wrote to Centric Parts to see if we could help him source some Hummer H1 brake components for his class. While none were immediately available, Centric President Dan Lelchuk suggested an alternative. Sneed had some cores that could possibly be rebuilt at Centric, so why not ship them out and let Centric ship back the rebuilt ones?

The calipers were rebuilt and shipped back along with a few banners and other items for the students. “We are happy to support the education of young people in our industry,” said Lelchuk. “As a company we are all about educating customers and end-users about brakes, so donating these rebuilds was an easy decision.”

Best of luck to all of the students. These types of programs are such a valuable asset to our educational system and Centric is proud to be helping in some small way.

June 1, 2011

Cal Poly Pomona Students Visit Centric Parts

Franklin Lock of Centric Parts hosted a group of his Cal Poly Pomona classmates and professors on Friday, May 27 for a presentation and tour of our Industry facility. Mr. Lock hosted the group of 17 Logistics students as part of his senior project. 

Franklin has been with Centric for almost 18 months and has overseen the implementation of a new ERP & WMS software system that will make our inventory management, bookkeeping, shipping and receiving even more efficient than they already are. He has also been instrumental in improving our safety procedures among other things.

Besides hearing about real world challenges to implementing classroom theory, workplace culture and safety from Franklin, the group also heard from President Dan Lelchuk and Operations/Traffic Manager Dean Wenzl who shared even more practical knowledge of real world situations with the students.

"Our goal today was to enlighten the students about things they may not have learned in the classroom," said Lelchuk. "There are many issues that students don’t typically learn about until they enter the workplace, so we tried to prepare them for those situations."

Most of the students seemed impressed with the size of the Industry facility and the consistently high fill rate we enjoy. They were overwhelmed when they found out we handle more than 50,000 part numbers and can still deliver on our Right Part, Right Place, Right Time, Right Price pledge. They were also very thankful for the time that Dan and Dean spent with the group.

"They hadn’t visited a workplace of our size yet where they had such direct access to top management," explained Lock. "Everybody had so many questions and it was great to get the answers straight from the top."

By hosting these types of groups, Centric hopes to better prepare students for life after graduation. Through tours, internships and our everyday business practices, Centric is as much about education as it is about automotive parts. We are proud of Franklin and his classmates and are honored to be a part of their education.