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Counterfeit Parts [THA 336]

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Get ready for an eye-opening episode as we dive deep into the world of counterfeit parts in the automotive industry. Tanner Brand, a mobile diagnostician and trainer; Bob Stewart, the global brand protection manager for General Motors; and Stephen Contos, a patent attorney counsel specializing in automotive engineering and software, discuss the implications of counterfeit parts for technicians, shop owners, and large companies. What is the difference between aftermarket parts and counterfeit parts? What are the legal and security risks from obtaining software from gray market or black market websites? It's clear that this is a complex issue that requires ongoing attention and discussion. Stay tuned for a potential part two of this episode where we'll continue to explore this topic.

Tanner Brandt, Autodiag Clinic. Tanner’s previous episodes HERE.

Bob Stewart, Global Brand Protection Manager for General Motors.

Stephen Kontos, Patent Attorney/Counsel specializing in automotive engineering and software at Harrity & Harrity LLP.

Show Notes:

  • Watch Video Episode 
  • The Problem of Counterfeit Parts (00:02:35) Discussion on the issues and problems caused by counterfeit parts in the automotive industry.
  • Identifying Counterfeit Parts (00:04:00) The difficulty in distinguishing between counterfeit and genuine parts, and the challenges faced by technicians.
  • Gray Market Goods and Trademark Infringement (00:06:46) Explanation of gray market goods and how they relate to trademark infringement in the automotive industry.
  • The OEM and Parts Suppliers (00:08:17) Discussion about the relationship between OEMs and suppliers, including licensing and selling to other brands.
  • Legal Implications for Selling Counterfeit Goods (00:10:37) The legal liability for sellers of counterfeit goods, including patent infringement and strict liability tort.
  • Illegitimate Software and Security Risks (00:17:11) Discussion on the availability and risks of purchasing illegitimate or cracked software, including the embedding of malware and compromising of credentials.
  • Security Risks and Stolen Cars (00:20:01) Exploration of the security risks associated with stolen software, including the potential for theft of customer data and vehicles.
  • Security Issues in Automotive Technology (00:23:34) Highlighting the security challenges posed by the increasing use of technology in vehicles, including fraudulent data injection and the control of autonomous vehicles.
  • Verification of Technicians (00:24:54) Discussion on the trend of verifying technicians performing repairs and the issues with technicians being targets for their tools.
  • Remote Programming and Software Legitimacy (00:25:26) Exploration of the potential risks and problems associated with remote programming, including the use of illegitimate software and incorrect programming of vehicles.
  • Liability and Legal Risks (00:27:41) Discussion on the liability of individuals and companies involved in remote programming events, including the potential legal risks and the role of warranties in such cases.
  • Importance of using appropriate tools for software configuration (00:33:47) Story of a vehicle engineer losing control of the steering wheel due to incorrect software configuration, emphasizing the importance of using the right tools.
  • Safety concerns with remote programming in collision centers (00:35:35) Highlighting the potential safety risks and legal liabilities associated with remote programming in collision centers.
  • Trademark Law and Branding (00:42:51) Exploration of trademark law and its implications for using brand names, logos, and slogans in automotive businesses.
  • Risks of Associating with Companies (00:45:21) Explanation of the potential risks and legal issues that arise when associating oneself with a particular automotive company without proper authorization.

Thanks to our Partners Shop-Ware and Delphi Technologies

Shop-Ware: More Time. More Profit. Shop-Ware Shop Management https://getshopware.com/

Delphi Technologies: Keeping current on the latest vehicle systems and how to repair them is a must for today’s technicians. http://DelphiAftermarket.com

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
      As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
      But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
      Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
      Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
      Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
      The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
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