5 Questions with the Blackwell brothers


Looks like we ran out of space in the May issue for the 5 Questions feature between brothers Greg Blackwell and Mark Blackwell (then again, it is called 5 Questions). While the Q&A pretty well covered the topics the brothers know best — OEM workings and Distributor happenings — here are some bonus goodies covering such things as flooring costs and parts stocking.

Greg Blackwell: One of the biggest hurdles for dealers has been cash flow. Is there a better way that a dealer could or should manage their monthly flooring costs?

Mark Blackwell: That has certainly been a big challenge. I am happy to say that Polaris has been in front of the curve working down dealer inventory levels, but also striving to get dealers the hottest products, fast. Ordering smart, managing inventory carefully is of course critical. And having the right MIS is crucial. I am really impressed with the work the Lightspeed guys continue to do to help dealers manage their businesses better.

GB: With the downturn in the industry, do you see the OE’s requirements for dealers changing? Like new unit inventory levels for instance? Faster delivery times from the OE to the dealer?

MB: I can’t speak for the other guys, but as I noted earlier, I think Polaris has been ahead of the curve in this area. And our dealers seem really pleased with the direction and progress.

Mark Blackwell: As the market begins to stabilize and improve later this year, are there any major shifts that you expect to see? What do you think will be the keys to success for dealers?

Greg Blackwell: We believe that the consumers are ready. They are tired (like everyone else) of waiting and just need to get out and ride. We have already seen that just in the last couple of weeks with some good weather around the country. They have been saving their money and they will spend it if given the chance. Dealers need to be stocking the items that consumers want to buy. Many manufacturers (both OE and aftermarket) continue to create demand with innovative marketing and quality products. Dealers can’t let that buying consumer walk out of their shop. Don’t try to spread the inventory too wide. Stock in depth. If a dealer is small, don’t bring in 5 different kinds of jackets in one or two sizes. Pick one or two jackets and bring in a complete size run. Same thing with all the other products. Don’t buy 5 different oils, bring in two, but bring them in depth. Don’t give that consumer a chance to go somewhere else, because they will. And then you may never get them back.

posted by Dennis Johnson