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At The Helm: Participation in 20 group gathering provides unique industry insight

By Tim Hennagir

Each year, Boating Industry’s Top 100 Dealer Application includes a query about 20 group participation.

Dealers are asked to explain the role they play within this unique learning community, which delivers best business practices, peer reviews of financial performance, and the opportunity to improve professionalism and profitability.

American author, scientist, and statesman Benjamin Franklin first used the 20 group concept when he created the Junto Society back in 1727.

While the marine industry’s 20 groups are different than what Franklin originally envisioned, the gatherings are the ultimate form of dealer-to-dealer sharing.

Observing the inner workings of a 20 group was a welcome and eye-opening experience last fall when Boating Industry was extended an invitation to attend a Cobalt 20 group meeting.

Hagadone Marine Group President Craig Brosenne invited me to attend the early November meeting after consulting with facilitator and consultant David Parker of Parker Business Planning, Inc.

The centerpiece of the 20 group visit was HMG’s new $7.5 million mega marine center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which has three new buildings and more than 51,000 square feet of added service center space.

The behind-the-scenes experience with this leading group of dealers prompted additional thought about the value of 20 groups, and a visit to Boating Industry’s archives.

In a September 2014 feature story, Parker penned a line that struck home as I was reading through my meeting notes and doing follow-up research on the flight home.

“The true ‘deliverable’ of a 20 group is that it drives continuous improvement in ways that a manufacturer cannot duplicate,” Parker wrote. “Belonging to a 20 group creates peer pressure among members to improve their financials, facilities, processes, procedures and CSI.”

Long-term 20 group members consistently increase sales volume, improve service and CSI scores and significantly upgrade their facilities, Parker wrote.

Very often, they add additional locations, which in turn increase sales, all while significantly increasing net profits.

The higher net profits create better balance sheets, allowing for increased floorplan limits and the ability to upgrade their facilities and buy more products. This is truly a win-win scenario for both dealers and manufacturers alike.

A large number of motivated dealers and 20 group members are found throughout the pages of this edition.

The Boating Industry team hopes you enjoy our coverage of dealer accomplishments from the past year, and we look forward to hearing from many of you in the months ahead.

 

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