Motorcycle Stuff initiatives court dealers

Publish Date: 
Apr 1, 2007
By Joe Delmont

DEALER EXPO, Indianapolis, Ind. - Dealers visiting the Motorcycle Stuff display at Indy might have found that the company has a new focus, a new attitude and a bunch of new product lines, according to Tim Dodd, president of the national distributor.

Many would say it's time. The Cape Girardeau, Mo.-based distributor went through some major changes in 2006. Motorcycle Stuff is an operating unit of Global Motorsports Group, based in Morgan Hill, Calif. GMG also owns Custom Chrome, a distributor of V-twin products, in addition to several other companies.

GMG, in turn, was owned by a New York investment group, Stonington Partners.

The changes started when Stonington Partners sold GMG to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm. The resulting GMG/Cerberus team spent most of 2006 analyzing costs, streamlining operations, building up short inventories and rebuilding relationships with suppliers and dealers. Dodd expects that the efforts made during 2006 will begin to bear fruit for Motorcycle Stuff in 2007.

"With the change in ownership, the focus changed — from looking internally to looking externally," says Dodd. "That's how we used to operate. If we were focused on our suppliers and our customers, our bankers would be happy."

One of the big moves made by the owners last year was to consolidate the overall company's six warehouses into three. "Now our cost structure is more in line with where we need to be," says Dodd.

To pick up the slack, GMG added FedEx as a small-package shipping option for deliveries. "Now we effectively cover 95 percent of the United States in two days with FedEx and UPS," says Dodd.

The distributor has completed what Dodd calls "a complete portfolio revamp," which means the distributor dumped unprofitable product lines that were tough sells for the company and its dealers. It replaced those lines with new products that are described in Motorcycle Stuff's 2007 catalogs, which were available at Indy. Also new: a 2007 ATV catalog. (continued)