There are two big problems marine dealers have when it comes to old or obsolete parts — they are hard to find and harder to sell.
But with change the only constant in the boating industry today, it doesn’t take long for an overstocked item to fall out of favor and begin gathering dust on a back shelf.
Bombardier Recreational Products says research has shown that, on average, dealerships consider 60 to 70 percent of inventory to be slow moving. However, BRP has recently developed a system to help dealers address some of those concerns. It’s an inventory management tool called StockPro. It’s free. And BRP believes it will help Evinrude/Johnson dealers improve profits, improve customer satisfaction and, in turn, help create customer loyalty.
“We received feedback about what our dealers were looking for,” says Paul Jurgilanis, Six Sigma Agent, P&A, for Bombardier Motor Corp. of America. “They wanted assistance in improving inventory efficiencies. They wanted to have a parts locator available. They wanted pricing updates.”
StockPro delivered on the parts locator function this January, and BRP is currently testing a parts replenishment system in “limited release” with about 50 of its dealers around the country.
So far, Jurgilanis — who launched the design, development and implementation of StockPro — says the reaction to it has been great.
Nine out of 10 times, when he helps a dealership setup its StockPro Parts Locator — which is now available to all BRP dealerships — the dealer will get a call within 48 hours from somebody who wants to buy a part it helped them find.
The key to the SPL system is an “integrator” BRP developed that allows the company to communicate with the individual dealer’s business system. (Watch Captain, Paulson Computer Systems and several others currently support StockPro, and BRP has sent specifications to many business system providers, allowing them to support it if they wish.) The SPL allows dealers to view BRP’s warehouse stock status and, if the part they are looking for isn’t available there, it provides them contact information for the dealers that do have it.
“They just type a part number in, and from that, it will show a listing of other dealers that have that part,” Jurgilanis says. “It’s not like you look up a specific dealer to see what all he has. They don’t get access like that. We provide security.”
The SPL isn’t unique to just Johnson/Evinrude parts. It provides information on parts from other manufacturer’s inventories as well, if dealers want to make that information available.
“The StockPro Parts Replenishment System is designed to help dealers “maintain an optimal level of working stock, customized to your business,” BRP explains in its promotional material for the product.
The company reviews each participating dealer’s current inventory profile, evaluates his or her order history with Evinrude/Johnson parts, then recommends how to optimize that inventory.
When a dealership connects to the Internet each day, its computers are programmed to go to BRP’s server, which can scan the dealer’s inventory file, if he or she chooses, then send out parts that have fallen below customized preset levels.
“Dealers want to concentrate on selling engines,” Jurgilanis says. “They don’t want to concentrate on selling parts.”