An inventory turn?

Last summer, in the midst of one of the toughest selling seasons anyone can remember, Boating Industry published an e-white paper on inventory management. The final article of that 30-page document was written by Peter Houseworth, director of client services for Info-Link Technologies.

In it, he suggests the marine industry would know a corner had been turned, and the dismal inventory situation had begun to improve, when “a consecutive three-month downward trend in days in inventory was tracked.” Over the last few months, Info-Link’s numbers show that is exactly what has been happening.

The marine market research firm calculates a boat’s days in inventory based on when it was built and when it was retailed to the customer, then averages the inventory age of boats sold during a given month. After reaching a high well above 400 inventory days sometime last August, Info-Link’s statistics indicate that the average number of days in inventory for boats sold since has dropped steadily.

During the last three months of 2009, the days-in-inventory average fell from around 400 to 375, a level not seen since the early part of last year. That’s still about 100 days more than the average was in August of 2008, when the age of inventory blasted off like a moon rocket, but it’s a good sign nonetheless.

Whether we’re headed back toward the good old days and a more “normal” inventory age, which Houseworth says is between 200 to 250 days – a level that hasn’t been achieved since August 2006 – is anyone’s guess. But things do seem to be getting better.

What about you? Have you seen any signs in your day-to-day business that the inventory situation is improving? If so, we would like to hear about them. Or if you don’t believe things are turning around, please share those thoughts as well.

To read Houseworth’s article, download your free copy of the Inventory Management White Paper by clicking here.


  1. Any downtrend is certainly a good sign but 375 days means that the boat is in inventory for more than a year. It is virtually impossible to be profitable with a turn of 1:1. We need to get back to at least 2:1 which means an average of 180 days in inventory. To be truly profutable the number should be 3:1 which translates into 122 days in inventory which is what the good dealerships realized before all this turmoil occurred.

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