David Zemla, Progressive Suspension: 'We turned our sales focus to training'

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David Zemla, Progressive Suspension's marketing expert, on what he gleaned in 2010.

Dealernews: What is your gameplan for taking on 2011? What specific changes are you making?
Zemla: We just wrapped a move and expanded our operation as well as brought in a few more people and some equipment. This is the first real expansion Progressive Suspension has seen in years and we are pretty happy with the results. We have a highly technical product line and a top notch engineering team that supports it. I like our odds.

DN: What missteps, if any, did you make in 2010?
Zemla: It really goes back further, 2009 was a tough year and we cut back in a big way, in some cases we were too cautious in gauging demand for what would be 2010 product.

DN: 2010 wasn’t a great year for most of our industry, but how did the market or economic conditions specifically affect you or your business?
Zemla: We were lucky in 2010 and did not see the hard hit many others did. A lean operation and solid collection of new products certainly helped lessen the pain. That and I think our marketing is pretty good, but I could be biased.

DN: What would you have done differently in 2010 if you had possessed a crystal ball?
Zemla: Probably carried a little more inventory, overall we are happy with the results.

DN: What did you do right in 2010?
Zemla: I really liked our new product collection. Well thought out and nicely timed for the segments that remained strong. We also turned our sales focus to training. The dealers where receptive and it made all the difference.

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