When we, as a business community, face many unknowns and uncharted territory in front of us, there is power in going back to the basics. With just a few months left in this challenging year, I want to remind every commercial truck dealer that the heart of our business revolves around this basic principle: we are a people business above all else. So let’s take advantage of everything ATD offers to help strengthen and empower our managers, sales forces and service technicians through the rest of the year.
The commercial truck industry is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, truck orders showed the strongest levels on record since October 2019. Class 8 net orders for the past 12 months now total 168,000 units, and experts say we are hitting the height of the summer demand. While the market has endured the worst of the decline since the onset of the pandemic, we need to work hard to keep the industry moving upward despite high levels of unemployment.
The greatest hidden secret in ATD is that you might not be taking advantage of the resources at your fingertips. In a world of fragile markets, it’s time to use your basic membership offerings, which include ATD Academy and 20-Group, workshop recordings, online webinars and much more. These basics are the building blocks of longevity: they teach us how to sharpen our business skills; to manage our expenses; to navigate the regulatory maze post COVID-19; to retain our workforce; and recruit much-needed diesel technicians for the future.
I’m proud to say that the ATD Academy has reopened its doors at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Tysons, Virginia, and the 2020 class schedule is available. The Academy never stopped educating truck and car dealers throughout the pandemic. I urge you to review the valuable online webinars on countless issues, like dealer data, Paycheck Protection Program rules, ATD Best Practices or Passing the COVID-19 stress test. Recordings of all webinars in the Dealership Lifeline Series are available to ATD and NADA members 24/7, free of charge.
There are also many NADA Driven guides to download for free and share with your staff including the latest issues: Safely Operating your Dealership During a Pandemic and Reopening Your Dealership During a Pandemic. Driven guides tackle everything from tax changes to technician recruitment. The ATD website and the weekly ATD Insider catches you up on the latest industry news. ATD Truck Beat captures the current market and latest sales analyses. Remember all these resources are items you’re already paying for. Take advantage of the education, training, and multimedia resources at your disposal.
When I first addressed fellow truck dealers just six months ago on the Las Vegas stage, I mentioned that dealers—and our small-town businesses—have many odds stacked against us. Yet we persevere and win every day because we are not just competitors; we are one powerful team. Despite an extremely challenging year, we leaned on one another, we learned from our mistakes, and we have returned to the basic principles that have always made us successful. America is still moving, and I am confident truck dealers everywhere will keep up the pace through the remainder of 2020.