RV AfterMarket Education and Certification Can Improve Everyone’s Bottom Line

Posted: 11/17/2011


The National RV Dealers association has enjoyed a strong relationship with RVAA and there is a true attitude of cooperation between the two organizations.   One of the most important examples of this cooperation is in the area of AfterMarket continuing education for RV retailers.

RVAA continues to play a leadership role in the industry by demonstrating to dealerships that a strong parts and accessory department can improve overall profitability.  RVDA, through the RV Learning Center, also supports the RV AfterMarket through education and certification programs for retail parts specialists and parts managers.

As RV Learning Center Chairman of the Board Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center told RVDA members at the recent RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, “We all know that the dealership profit centers of four and five years ago are not the same as they are today.  Many dealers I talk to understand that the service, parts, and accessories departments have become even more important to our collective bottom lines.”

Retailer Parts Learning Guides and Certification

Improving dealer profitability and customer satisfaction are two of the primary reasons RV Learning Center developed educational efforts aimed squarely at the fixed operations areas at RV dealerships.

Through a partnership with The Ohio State University, the RV Learning Center maintains curricula and corresponding Learning Guides for parts managers and parts specialists.   Topics covered include parts and accessory store merchandising, marketing, managing inventory, and customer relations.   In fact, the Learning Guides include many of the tasks and skills for retail parts and accessory people included in the “Dealer Tips” section of the RVAA website.

Once a retail parts professional has enough experience and education, they are eligible to take a certification exam and earn either a certified parts specialist designation or the more advanced parts manager designation.

Continuing education is required to keep both certifications current.  This is where RVAA members can have a big impact on parts certification – through providing training to retail personnel and offering certificates of completion so that the training can apply to recertification.

Parts and accessory training programs can be in person or online.  So in addition to providing continuing education that can help retailers do a better job with your products and processes, you can help certified parts personnel meet their recertification requirements.  For more information on the parts certification programs, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com.

RV Industry Training Calendar

Another industry partnership that continues to bear fruit was developed in 2007 through the Go RVing Committee on Excellence – The RV Industry Training Calendar at www.rvtrainingcalendar.org.   RVDA along with RVIA, RVAA, and ARVC – the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, developed the calendar as a free, one-stop resource for all industry personnel to both find and list training opportunities.

All industry training providers can post information about national, regional, and local training programs. You can login to the calendar and upload events by the appropriate dealership department. Information includes the title of the event, description, date, time, location, cost, and contact person.  Both RVIA and RVDA promote the calendar and provide prominent links on our websites.

Use RVDA and the RV Learning Center as a Resource

RVDA and the RV Learning Center recognize the importance of the parts and accessories market and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with RVAA and its members.  I urge you to share this information with your company representatives who interact with dealership employees on a regular basis.  Continuing education and parts certification can help ensure that the RV AfterMarket remains a vibrant part of the RV industry . . . and improve everyone’s bottom line.

RVDA Vice President for Communications Phil Ingrassia has worked in the RV industry since 1990 and is Certified Association Executive (CAE).   He can be reached at pingrassia@rvda.org.