David has worked in the automotive aftermarket industry for over 20 years; holding various sales, marketing, business development and product management roles with several aftermarket companies, including Dorman Products and Wells Vehicle Electronics.
As the vice president of marketing at NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.), Inc., David is responsible for all marketing and product initiatives for the brand. He earned a BSBA in marketing from Kutztown University, and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. He has also completed executive leadership development courses at Northwood University.
Shop Owner: NGK’s history is rooted in innovation. Describe the company’s OE legacy and product innovation and how these factors have contributed to the availability of quality ignition products in the aftermarket.
David Boer: NGK has a long history of both innovation and OE heritage. In fact, this past year NGK celebrated its 80th anniversary globally and 50th anniversary in the US. Since 1936, we have been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality when it comes to both spark plug and oxygen sensor design.
Along the way we’ve set some groundbreaking industry firsts, including:
• The introduction of copper core spark plugs to the consumer market
• Pioneering the development of new ceramics and its revolutionary application to integrated computer circuitry
• The introduction of our “V-Groove” technology spark plugs, where we were the first company to offer a plug that was ideal for clean-burning, lower-emission engines
• The first to introduce iridium spark plugs for the OEM and performance markets
In addition to our long history of OE innovation, this past year we introduced a full line of premium ignition coils specific for the U.S. Aftermarket to round out the aftermarket ignition program as The Ignition Specialist™.
SO: With NGK’s new “The Ignition Specialist™” tagline, what can customers expect in terms of product offerings and VIO coverage?
DB: “The Ignition Specialist™” tagline translates to NGK’s OE legacy, unsurpassed quality and our leading VIO coverage. NGK’s expanded ignition product line includes spark plugs, ignition coils and wire sets; with each individual product line covering over 95% of domestic and import vehicles in operation.
SO: What are some of the advantages of The Ignition Specialist™ program for shop owners and technicians; for example specific marketing/communication outreach, training programs, merchandising, etc.?
DB: This program will include sales, marketing, and technical training elements to support shop owners and techs. As you would expect from an ignition specialist, the marketing support will include POP material to help shops show their customers the importance of ignition system repairs. This complete ignition campaign will continue to be built to support the needs of shop owners and technicians. Our training programs will also be inclusive of additional elements associated with the broader ignition system. This relates to the need for systems expertise, and not just individual parts requirements.
SO: In addition to a growing family of ignition products, what are some of the value-added offerings you provide to independent repair shops?
DB: This starts with enhancements to our cataloging data that include unique information of our products, such as; count and location (for products such as oxygen sensors and ignition coils) to help with accuracy of identifying the correct product required. Other program enhancements include sealed poly bags to ensure that the product has never been installed. All program elements have the same goal in mind, to ensure the complete confidence of the technician, which is why they choose the NGK brand.
Another recent achievement (2016) that we are very proud of is NGK’s Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE) Accreditation Program. CASE is an Automotive Service Education (ASE) accreditation program administered by the Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) for corporate entities that provide technical education seminars to working technicians.
This automotive industry-specific accreditation certifies that NGK’s process of developing, evaluating and delivering training meets the best standards of automotive in-service training. NGK’s Tech Team is staffed with ASE-certified technicians to provide training and offer assistance to installers. We are in a new age of automotive innovation, and connected and intelligent car systems are rapidly influencing the diagnostic procedures for automotive repairs.
Our ASE-accredited Advanced Driveability Training program is a hands-on class; designed to teach technicians how to use modern and traditional diagnostic tools more effectively when identifying repairs. As a CASE-certified training provider, NGK is able to award CEU credit to technicians who successfully complete the training course. Our CASE certified training is an extension of NGK’s commitment to both supplying and educating for the future.
SO: What other opportunities do you see for the brand in the near future?
DB: There are plans to continue growing our product range based on our core technologies. This would include NGK ignition products, as well as, our NTK technical sensor range.
SO: Do you see any market challenges moving forward?
DB: NGK views the ever-increasing technology being used in vehicles as a competitive advantage. Our technical capabilities and OE expertise are what set us apart from our competitors.
SO: What is NGK’s unique value proposition that helps differentiate it from the competition?
DB: Our unsurpassed quality standards and leading product coverage are what differentiate us from competitors. At our manufacturing plant in West Virginia, NGK products go through rounds of quality and performance checks, both during and after production. Product components are first sampled before being released into the manufacturing process, ensuring all specifications are met.
NGK Production Operators and Quality Control Technicians also take dimensional measurements of parts during the various stages of production.
Finally, spark plugs and sensors are processed 100% through functional and dimensional checks before being shipped to customers. These steps are integral to the foundation of NGK’s OE legacy; building to the quality standards and warranty demands of the automotive world.
When a technician uses NGK products, rest assured, they have the confidence that they are using products that are being designed, manufactured, and tested to the highest quality standards.