30 Years On: Still Uniting Every Player in the PBE Game

In providing its members with added marketing, purchasing and private label product support, the International Autobody Marketing Group works to improve communication between every player in the PBE field.

Founded in 1992, the International Autobody Marketing Group (IAMG) consists of 8 warehouse distributors with 28 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to past-president Lloyd Fields (1999-2020), IAMG membership services over 10,000 jobber customers each year. Owned by its members, the group consists of two separate, yet inter-related business units.

The first, in no specific order, is IAMG’s corporate division, which facilitates many of the organizations’ marketing functions. They include:

  • Consolidating member purchasing power to work with manufacturers in creating a mutually beneficial group buying program. This allows each warehouse to purchase larger quantities at lower prices, so they can offer their jobber customers better buying prices and improve margins for everyone involved. Currently, over 40 vendors are involved in the purchasing program.
  • Gathering sales data for tracking product demand and success. This provides the jobber, warehouse and manufacturer with feedback in enhancing their product offerings or improving pricing schemes.
  • Assembling promotional efforts for group manufacturers and warehouse members, which includes a quarterly publication, The Autobody Source, and its BUZZ CLUB digital platform that distributes to over 55,000 end-users and body shops across North America. One main marketing website is also managed and published by IAMG, www.autobodysource.com, which celebrates its 30th year in 2022 as a one-stop info site offering end-users how-to videos on current trends and solutions, new product information, and jobber listings for body shops looking to find local suppliers.

The second arm of IAMG is its Private Label division. This is the organization’s collection of premium & value products, which include:

  • 5 Star Autobody Products — their premium alternative brand
  • ADVANTAGE Refinish Products — its sister premium alternative brand
  • Professional’s Choice Products — which IAMG describes as their commodity brand

The Private Label branch of IAMG also provides testing, labeling, packaging and marketing services in support of these products.

IAMG utilizes a sales force of over 80 individuals to help drive these products through the distribution channel and into the hands of the end-user. This group is led by IAMG President Matt LaGuardia and VP of Private Brands Erika Brower.

Keeping Their Eye on The Ball

The biggest trends impacting all involved with IAMG are no different than anyone else involved in PBE distribution. With more consolidation on all levels, a growing number of manufacturers struggling with COVID-era distribution challenges, inflation and supply shortages, Fields states that the organization will continue to focus on refining its procedures and product offerings.

“Everything starts with the insurance companies,” he continues. “They’re pressing the shops for better quality at lower costs. So that flows uphill, and the shops expect the same from the jobbers, the jobbers from the warehouses, and the warehouses from the manufacturers. That’s where we play such a vital role.”

“We’ve been focused on improving product selection in terms of quality and breadth of coverage with all 40 manufacturers we partner with as they sort through post-pandemic supply issues. Our main goal is to always provide the jobber and end-user with a quality product at a competitive price.”

In working with manufacturers, we try to make sure everyone involved, right down to the end-user, is able to meet their customer and operating demands.”

Lloyd Fields, President of IAMG 1999-2020

“In working with manufacturers, we try to make sure everyone involved, right down to the end-user, is able to meet their customer and operating demands.”

Looking forward, Fields sees good business management practices as becoming more and more important in order for jobbers to compete and survive. This includes a better understanding and awareness of financial resources, inventory turns, and the impact competition continues to have on pricing strategies.

For IAMG and their warehouse members, Fields knows the key to continued growth is paying attention to opportunities outside the realm of traditional product offerings, and working to educate jobbers on how they can capitalize on these new opportunities.

This article, “Touching ‘Em All”, was originally written by Jeff Reinke and published in the June 2004 issue of Professional Tool and Equipment Distributor, a Cygnus Publication. Content has been updated to reflect the current IAMG company structure and market.

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