Mike Jackson, Internet manager for World of Powersports in Decatur, Ill., reflects back on 2010.
"2010 saw double-digit growth in our Internet parts business, and a slight rebound in unit sales over 2009. The good news is that with all the dealers that have gone out of business, there has been a number of consumers looking for a new place to buy their parts and accessories, so the smaller sales volume is spread around to less dealers. One of the hardest adjustments for 2010 is to our commissioned employees. Adjusting to the lower sales at the counter and lower unit sales meant 15 percent to 20 percent lower commissions for key employees and managers. While these staff members were making excellent pay in 2007 and 2008, the last two years have required some adjustments. It has been challenging to keep them motivated, but their pay is still well above other area jobs.
“I feel we did a really good job in 2010. We recognized the downturn very early on and made the hard decisions in 2009. Taking the losses on inventory early meant we were able to reduce flooring expenses and position ourselves for the long term. While many of our decisions may have upset our suppliers, we are still in business and profitable while some of our competitors have completely gone out of business.
“In 2011 our dealership will continue to adapt its inventory levels and purchasing habits to meet customer needs and suppliers’ new multiple-order-period programs for major units. With too much inventory going into 2009, we had to make some tough decisions on inventory write-downs but were able to adjust our inventory to an acceptable level. Inventory management will continue to be one of the most important factors during 2011, along with managing employee overtime and other variable expenses.”