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Boat shows are a very good time to share inventory

It seems to me that sharing inventory is something we have needed to do more consistently as retailers for a long time. Moreover, current market conditions lead me to believe it could be even more important and beneficial now.

For instance, with our major winter boat shows slated to run during the next three months around the country, and with the expectation that there will be buyers and that boats and motors will be sold in those halls, it is a very opportune time to be sharing inventory.

Itís reported that some manufacturers have programs in place to help dealers share inventory. However, itís most often limited to a particular model or two that have proven especially hard to move. But in times like these, it could be even more advantageous for both dealers and builders to get deeper into a systematic inventory-sharing program. For one thing, it could help clear out products languishing in factory fields or dealer yards.

For another, it could help dealers meet some customer demands, given that many of the industryís production lines are currently idle or producing very limited models. Dealers will have limited products on display at the boat shows. Invariably, a customer will want a color or engine or model that isnít on display or in stock. If the dealer had a shared inventory list with fellow regional dealers of the same boat line, itís probable a boat could be moved out of one dealerís inventory while the customer of a fellow dealer is immediately well served.

In addition, with many manufacturers now announcing that theyíre using the 85 percent of their Grow Boating assessments to help their dealers through rebate offers, discounts, incentives or other promotional considerations, doesnít a shared inventory list with the clear purpose of moving products make even more sense?

If your manufacturer isnít in the game, take the initiative yourself and contact all your dealer colleagues carrying your brands within a reasonable radius of you. For example, Ed Lofgren, 3A Marine Service in Hingham, Mass., is currently working with his colleagues in New England to create a shared inventory arrangement. Ed is chairman of the MRAA for 2009 as well as president of MRAAís educational foundation.

Build a shared inventory list and agree on the terms you can both benefit from. Discuss the boat shows each of you will be covering and come to a mutual agreement on what boats, prices, etc., each can promote from the shared list. In these times, two dealers could be better than one ó three better than two ó in moving inventory.


3 comments on “Boat shows are a very good time to share inventory

  1. Kris Thayer

    Inventory Sharing We have the SOLUTION ! Marine Dealer Trader has created an online inventory sharing system that allows your dealers to view both yard inventory and dealer inventory’s in a BRAND SPECIFIC ARENA (pat pend). There’s no other system like it in the Marine or RV Industry.
    Our Goal is to help Manufacturer’s and Dealer’s clear through their excess inventory’s using their Network of Dealer Partners..

    A industry first Retail “Boat locator”TM
    system link, which lists your Dealer Partners Inventory on the Manufacturer’s web site

    Our Inventory Sharing and Warranty claim system can be adapted for any product.

    For more information Call
    Michael or Kris Thayer
    Phone 517 787-1979 or

  2. Michael Thayer

    The timing is perfect for inventory sharing. In both good and bad economic times we can succeed with
    working together in our dealer networks. Dealer’s must understand that it can be a win win situation when
    dealers work together to improve inventory turns. It helps to move non current product, and it up the odds that dealers can close more retail sales. What dealer would ever want to let a retail customer leave their booth or showroom with out an opportunity to locate what they want to purchase? Seems to me that
    would be leaving money on the table.

  3. Scott Davis

    Mr. Schultz,

    Nice article! We at DealersCircle fully agree with your assessment of the importance of inventory sharing. In the 4th quarter of 2004 we implemented an Inventory Sharing module into our system that has been available to over 500 dealers since that time. As of late, we have been working to enhance this module to help dealers with floorplan costs.

    For more information visit us at or contact Jamie Gaskins at (904) 219-2470

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