Podcast Interviews

NARSA/IDEA Trade Association – Your Way to Success

Learn how the NARSA/IDEA Trade Association can help your heavy-duty parts and service business be more successful.

Episode 115: The NARSA/IDEA Trade Association is one organization with two areas of focus. The National Automotive Radiator Service Association (NARSA) is a global organization for owners and operators of businesses engaged in the sale, repair, remanufacture, production, and design of heat exchange products and services. The International Diesel Emissions Association (IDEA) is a network geared toward helping connect suppliers and manufacturers to businesses involved in the servicing of Diesel Emissions components.

The real power of NARSA/IDEA is the network that comes together to help each other succeed in the radiator and diesel emissions systems business and the work they do to educate the trucking industry about best practices that will keep trucks on the road longer, decrease downtime and roadside repair events, and lower total cost-per-mile.

In this episode, you will learn about exactly how this association can help your heavy-duty parts and service business to be more successful and how to better support independent fleets.

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To learn more, go to NARSA-IDEA.org

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Complete Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You’re listening to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost per mile.

Jamie Irvine:

Heat exchange products and diesel emission systems are a recurring theme because modern fleets need to keep these systems working properly to maintain more uptime. And of course, to avoid that downtime and costly repairs. In this episode, we’re going to introduce the NARSA IDEA Trade association. We’re going to learn all about who they are, what they do for the industry. I think you’re going to really enjoy this episode. My guests today are Bobby Duran and Mark Taylor. Now Bobby is the president of cooling systems in Puerto Rico. And Bobby started his career with SNF radiator service in New Jersey in ’05 successfully exiting in 2016. He’s been a nurse, a member for 15 years and a board member for over 10 years. And he’s currently serving as the president of NARSA IDEA. Bobby, welcome to the show.

Bobby Duran:

Thank you. I’m really honored to be on the Heavy-Duty Parts Report with you today.

Jamie Irvine:

Mark Taylor graduated from Wesley college before starting his own rad repair business in ’81. He later owned and operated ERS cooling systems for 36 years. He served as the president of NARSA from 2014 to 2016. Then chairman from 2016 to 2018 before becoming the executive director in 2019. Mark Taylor, welcome to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

Mark Taylor:

Thanks for having me, Jamie. I appreciate it.

Jamie Irvine:

So, Mark, can you explain to me what NARSA IDEA is an acronym for? What does that stand for?

Mark Taylor:

In 1854, a group of radiator men got together and they called themselves the National Automotive Radiator Service Association. Since then, we’ve kind of shortened it, we just use NARSA the International Heat Transfer Association because we’re a worldwide organization. Now a couple of years ago, it became evident that we needed to add something to do with emissions to our association because so many of our members were cleaning DPF. So we came up with IDEA which stands for International Diesel Emissions Association.

Jamie Irvine:

All right. So that gives us an idea of really what you’re focused on who you are, and it’s great that there’s been international expansion over the years, Bobby, what was this trade association established to accomplish? It’s one thing to understand the name and what it is but what was the real goal behind the establishment of this association?

Bobby Duran:

Well I mean the main thing is just, it was networking, but I mean, back in the fifties, the industry was huge. Every radiator there was no aftermarket per se, every radiator had to go to a shop up until probably the seventies, early eighties. So there were tens of thousands of shops all over the country. It was established so that people can network and manufacturers could market to their customer base. Lately as we’ve evolved, the industry has shrunk, but those that have stayed have evolved and have become very successful. So now where we’re at is that basically we exist to provide one connection, one opportunity, one idea, which basically means that if you go to an event or if you go to one of our online events or just network with other members, we basically realized that if you just get one of those things, if you make that one connection, you meet that one person that kind of introduces you to a new vendor or introduces you to a new service, they give you, or they give you one idea, it’s like, Hey, you know what, maybe you should change your gasket material, maybe you should use this technique instead of that technique in rebuilding cat folded cores or something like that. Or one opportunity again, just, you know, I can say right off the bat one of the opportunities that was the biggest in my career was simply that DPF and emissions were introduced to me at a NARSA event, by a man by the name of Tom Sutherland from California. Had I not been part of NARSA we would never have gotten into that. And that had become very lucrative for us and lucrative for my career.

Jamie Irvine:

So I’d like to talk about kind of the big issues facing the trucking industry right now. Mark, maybe we could start with you. What are some of the biggest challenges facing our industry when it comes to, maybe we’ll just focus on the cooling side on radiators?

Mark Taylor:

Besides, you know, the pandemic has caused a huge supply chain problem that everyone, no matter what part of the industry they’re in, you know, they’re having or experiencing the same supply chain issues. But outside of that, cooling system, maintenance is still the number one most important thing that eludes a lot of smaller fleets. I’d like to think the bigger fleets, because they have professionals that they can afford to hire that they do that job full time, Jamie, but for your smaller fleets who don’t have designated, you know, kind of fleet managers, and they’re doing a lot of this stuff themselves, the owner of the company and he has a guy, you know, a mechanic and they’re doing their own repairs or the owner-operators, the cooling system maintenance is I think still eludes a lot of people and because cooling system maintenance is lacking that affects the engine, the radiator, and all the other components that the coolant comes in contact with. We actually, yesterday did a podcast with a gentleman from old world industries, and he told us 40% of engine failures are directly related to the cooling or or lack of maintenance on the cooling system. So not only do we experience our have engine failures, but we also then have radiator issues, oil cooler issues, after coolers, all of these other, especially now the engines are so complex and you have all these different coolers, EGR coolers, and things like this on diesel that you didn’t have before. The radiators aren’t as robust as they used to be 25 or 30 years ago, 25, 30 years ago, a radiator was built like a tank and the life expectancy for truck radiators were maybe like 15 years. And of course, all that’s changed, you know with the new emission regulations. And then with trying to make the trucks lighter, to be able to get better fuel economy. The manufacturers, the truck manufacturer did the same thing. The automotive manufacturers that 20, 25 years ago, they went to plastic and aluminum. So now the aluminum radiators are even more susceptible to cooling systems that aren’t maintained properly.

Jamie Irvine:

Bobby let’s talk about diesel emission systems when it comes to the trucking industry, I’ve talked about this at length on my show. Many, many people have come on and discussed it. But from your perspective, since you’ve been in the business, and you mentioned that earlier, what’s the big industry issues that, that people are dealing with right now when it comes to diesel emission systems?

Bobby Duran:

In our market you know, we’re in Puerto Rico. So I used to be based out of New Jersey and we had millions of trucks within the area in our market here. It’s simply lack of knowledge on how to deal with these systems. They’re relatively new for our market. There’s still a lot of older trucks on the road, but it’s the same thing. People want it repaired. People want it cleaned, but then there’s the diagnostics that go on to that. So, you know, where we service the filters, there’s also the customers, we’re saying, Hey, look, we’re seeing evidence of coolant in there, maybe you’ve got a bad EGR. Just because you clean the filter, you need to service that vehicle. And there’s a lot of confusion there as far as in our local market, getting them serviced properly.

Mark Taylor:

And you’ve been on a panel that our association has sponsored. And I think that at the end of the day, what comes down to is that our association wants to educate the service provider and let our members know that you need to be a true partner to the truck owner, to the fleet. And you need to be on the lookout for when there are problems that are evident, that you can point these problems out to the fleet manager, to that truck owner so that they can diagnose the problem properly. Because so many times people think that the DPF has failed. The DPF doesn’t fail. It’s merely like a strainer or a screen. It just catches what comes downstream. So when that thing starts failing often or repeated failures, and they’re not getting the longevity, that is a problem that needs to be identified by the service business, by the people that are offering the service of cleaning the filters. And I think that’s our biggest job that one of the jobs that we have to do is to educate our members.

Bobby Duran:

I’ve had multiple situations with fleets that I did all their cleaning for in New Jersey, where they want it to have swing units on the shelf. Well, what happened? They would have a DPF failure there. Mechanics would pull that swing unit off the shelf, put it into the truck. I would get the DPF. And by the time I told them, I said, Hey, you guys got a major problem. You know, that trucks on the road with that swing unit, and they’ve never diagnosed the problem properly. It costing them a lot of money.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back. If you’ve ever thought about starting a mobile repair shop, or you’re looking to take your shop on wheels to the next level, you need to read How to Start a Mobile Repair Shop. This free e-book from Fullbay walks you through everything you need to know to get started and to scale your business. Grab your copy at fullbay.com/mobile. Fullbay is the leading heavy-duty shop management software solution for fleets and independent repair shops. So they know a thing or two about how to run a successful mobile operation. Grab your copy of this free e-book at fullbay.com/mobile. Before the break, we were talking to Bobby and Mark about NARSA IDEA, the trade association. And we were talking about some of the big problems facing the trucking industry. Bobby, who are you looking to have join the association? Describe an ideal member to me.

Bobby Duran:

Ideal member is someone that’s positive about growing their business. That’s looking to learn and share ideas, that is the ideal member, because all this works with an exchange of ideas, whether that person is a high-end shop that has 20 technicians in Texas, or that person’s a five man shop that has a shop in Brazil. We all learn from each other. I always like to say that I learned the most by going into the most remote shop that doesn’t have access to parts because they’d need to be innovative. And I always learned something from the smallest shop to the largest shop. So that member, that ideal NARSA IDEA member is someone that just is willing to share, willing to learn and just wants to discuss the industry and how to move forward and how we could all progress in our business.

Jamie Irvine:

So they need to be either servicing radiators or diesel emission or both, but there’s not a pre-qualifier of shop size or number of people, employees or anything like that.

Bobby Duran:

Absolutely not. Most of our shops, most of our very successful shops now started as one or two man operations, and I’ve progressed and I’ve seen members go from three or four man shops to now 20, 30 person operations with distribution and aluminum welding, and fuel tank repair and emissions. And a lot of that they got from networking with NARSA members. And we have such great members that are willing to share their knowledge and I’ve been the beneficiary of that. I would not be where I am today. Had it not been for members like David Bienvenue and the Braswells that are in North Carolina that have guided me. Mark Taylor. I mean I met Mark right after an event he hosted in 2007. I never knew him. I stayed after the event and we became fast friends. And I basically said, I saw Mark’s shop. And I saw where I wanted to be. And largely I owe Mark a lot to where I am today because of him being willing to share his knowledge.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back. The way we buy things has changed over the last year. We’ve all grown accustomed to the ease of online purchasing. This is no different in the heavy-duty truck parts industry buyers are looking for a streamlined digital experience where they can quickly find the part they’re looking for. If you’re looking to get started with e-commerce, there’s no better partner than GenAlpha technologies. If you want to learn more or schedule a free demo, make sure to head to genalpha.com that’s GEN alpha.com to start maximizing your online potential. Mark, you produce a trade journal, and I believe it is what is the trade journal? What is it called? What is the focus of it? And how do people find it if they want to?

Mark Taylor:

The magazine that we produce is The Cooling Journal and comes out bi-monthly. So we’re doing six issues a year. If you are in the business, some type of cooling system business, you don’t necessarily have to be a radiator service center, but let’s say you’re doing a lot of cooling system work, you can get the magazine for free. You can go on to narsa-idea.org, and you can get my email. Or my email is [email protected] And we’ll send you a copy, either a paper copy, or you can get it digitally, but the magazine has two sections in it. The first part of the magazine is usually cooling system related. It’s going to be stories about radiator shops. We usually do like a spotlight on a radiator company. It could be a radiator manufacturer or radiator service company or distributor. The second part of the magazine is usually pertains to diesel emissions. And so these are technical articles. They’re editorials. We have our members send us photos of jobs that they’ve done in their shop. Sometimes you get these really huge radiators that people are really proud of serviced and refurbished, and they send us pictures in. So we highlight those pictures in our magazine, some industry news, we advertise our events or whatever, and that’s basically what the magazine is.

Jamie Irvine:

Oh, good to know. Bobby, I know that you also have a podcast, and what’s the name of the podcast and where can people find it?

Bobby Duran:

As a longtime podcast addict I came up with the idea of starting a podcast, but then they wanted me to host it. So here we are, it’s called Solder & Soot and it’s the only podcast focused on the emissions and cooling systems industry. And typically what we do is we either profile people have been successful in the industry and find out how they started and you know their ups and downs and how they succeeded and overcome and have become successful. And we also bring on experts in different topics like coolant to talk about and educate our members on different things that they would be related. Yeah, it’s called Solder& Soot. And so you could find it at anywhere you hear your podcasts.

Jamie Irvine:

So we are right now publishing this and people are listening perhaps on a podcast player, maybe they’re on TNC radio live right now, they’re driving down the highway for the people who are in the trucking industry that are operating equipment. Mark, what’s one thing you want to leave them with that, sometimes people remember what we say last, so what’s that one thing?

Mark Taylor:

Jamie, I always approached my business from the standpoint that I spent about two thirds of my waking time in my business. And I really believe in the power of associations and trade groups. So no matter what part of the market you’re in, whether you’re in general truck repair, truck service, your in tires, batteries, trailers, new truck sales, whatever, if you’re a driver, get in your association, the association that represents what you do, because they’re just so powerful. And it’s a proven fact that people that belong to associations will increase their profits. And that’s just, that’s a hard statistic. So that’s, that’s the one thing I’d want to get across to your listeners. Join your association.

Jamie Irvine:

No individual is an island. Bobby, your turn.

Bobby Duran:

If I was a trucker going down the road or someone in the parts industry if you see that NARSA or IDEA sticker on the door, it typically means that this is someone that’s serious about growing their business serious about learning all the cutting edge. And that’s usually a good sign that you have a good provider in your radiator and emissions services.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to the Heavy-Duty Parts Report, I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. We’ve been speaking with Bobby Duran and Mark Taylor from NARSA IDEA. To learn more, go to narsa-idea.org. Bobby, thank you for being on the Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

Bobby Duran:

Thank you so much. It’s been a great experience.

Jamie Irvine:

Mark. Happy to have you here as well.

Mark Taylor:

Thanks Jamie. It’s been a real honor. Appreciate it.

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