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Working Successfully With WDs—A Primer For Small Businesses

Representatives from several warehouse distributors that focus on auto racing share their suggestions about how to improve the distribution chain.

By John F. Katz

Building a strong relationship with a warehouse distributor (WD) can prove to be a profitable opportunity for not only large parts manufacturers, but also for smaller racing businesses. So, we asked several WD representatives what both manufacturers and customers/builders/retailers could do to improve the system. All of them offered helpful suggestions.

Jason Ganim of Nickels Performance in Piney Flats, Tennessee, provided a list: “Technology, packaging solutions, maximizing invested inventory dollars, pull-through marketing, and improved training solutions—any way that manufacturers can help ensure our value proposition will ultimately help us serve the end customer.”

“The biggest thing the manufacturers could do would be to keep supply up with demand,” added Matthew Davis of Premier Performance Products, Rexburg, Idaho. “Oftentimes we bring on a popular product line and find it is selling faster than the manufacturer can make it. This creates a backlog—what we call back orders,” where the complexity of the manufacturing process may stretch lead times to as long as two months. Beyond that, “of course, quality data is important for a smooth flow of product to the end user.”

“Accurate data,” said Daryl Sampson of Turn 14 Distribution, Horsham, Pennsylvania, “and timely dissemination of information to the WDs.”

“Manufacturers need to make sure their product offers good margins,” emphasized Luke Van Woensel of Engine and Performance Warehouse (EPWI), with locations in Denver, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas. “They need to have a good fill rate. They need to be good at introducing new products, have reasonable terms and policies, and most importantly, market savvy. We’ve noted a wide range of performance amongst our many suppliers.”

Ultimately, however, it falls on the WD to take care of their dealers. “For a small business,” said Brett Kinsfather of Motovicity Distribution, Madison Heights, Michigan, “cash flow is always difficult, customer pressures are difficult, and timelines are difficult. So it’s important to be able to call a single source, where you can get all of those things addressed quickly—as opposed to calling eight different manufacturers. You have someone you can rely on to address a number of issues with a single phone call. That’s actually a major source of comfort.”

“We focus on bringing value between the manufacturers and our customers,” added Ganim, “by ensuring we have the right products available, sold by an expertly trained staff, with shipping options that our customers need. When our customers and vendors are provided with the best information on the products they are using or selling, and those parts are readily available in the market, everybody wins.”

Working Successfully With WDs

Since cash flow is an important consideration for smaller racing businesses, along with customer pressures and timelines, it’s important to be able to call a single source, such as a warehouse distributor, where all concerns can be addressed quickly along with a steady flow of race products. Seen here is Turn 14 Distribution.

Performance Racing Industry