Each year, automotive oil change professionals gather for the International Fast Lube Expo (iFLEX), a multiday conference hosted by the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), that focuses on the topics and trends affecting the fast lube industry. This year’s conference will be held March 9-11, 2015, at the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In true iFLEX form, AOCA is planning an exceptional lineup of education, as well as opportunities to uncover the latest industry trends, gain knowledge about new products and services, and connect with more than 600 fast lube owners, operators and managers — all while enjoying the beautiful sunshine of central Florida!
AOCA made significant improvements to the educational programming this year. To start, attendees will have more opportunities to attend educational sessions. iFLEX 2015 will feature sessions on Monday and Wednesday. In the past, sessions were only available for one day. The sessions have also been shortened from 90 to 50 minutes, allowing attendees to take in more education while at the conference. Attendees will also be able to purchase recordings of the educational sessions when registering for iFLEX — a great chance to take education back to employees who aren’t able to attend the conference or learn from sessions you aren’t able to attend.
This year’s sessions are broken into four different tracks, each honing in on a key area of fast lube operations: employee management, advertising and marketing, business practices and technical. iFLEX 2015 will include more than 20 educational sessions focusing on a variety of topics, from technical training to management skills. Sessions will cover products and services for the automotive service business, employee management, business best practices, advertising and marketing, and industry trends. Other topics include common issues and solutions for canister oil filters and the merits of offering a limited menu of additional services versus offering a wide range of additional services.
Many of the sessions will be led by true experts in their field who bring practical knowledge all attendees can apply. This year’s keynote speaker, Dennis Snow, is a good example. Snow spent more than 20 years at the Walt Disney World Company, where he honed his customer service and leadership skills — skills that are just as important in the automotive oil change industry, said Dave Everett, co-chair of the AOCA Education Committee.
“He’s from outside of our industry, but he’ll be talking about leadership principles, management and service excellence, all of which apply to our industry,” Everett said.
Of course, the most important measurement for the value of any education is being able to apply what you learn. Everett pointed to last year’s AOCA Talk Live, a round-table discussion for iFLEX attendees, as an example of just how valuable iFLEX education can be. During iFLEX 2014, AOCA President Jim Grant led a discussion about drain plugs for the Chevy Cruze. Many people were using the wrong drain plug, but after attending the AOCA Talk Live discussion, iFLEX attendees were able to put what they learned into action.
“A lot of people replaced improper drain plugs and saved thousands of dollars in doing so,” Everett said.
AOCA repeatedly hears from members that one of the best aspects of the oil change industry is the willingness of fast lube owners, operators and technicians to work together to share ideas and stories of what has and hasn’t worked in their own stores. Attend iFLEX 2015, and join your colleagues in sharing a commitment to the success of the fast lube industry. Visit www.aoca.org to learn more and to register for iFLEX 2015.
EMILY SCHMITT is editor at the Automotive Oil Change Association. For more information on membership in AOCA, call 800.230.0702 or visit: www.aoca.org