Suzuki also did field research and found that sometimes consumers had fitment problems and other issues with aftermarket products. With this in mind, Suzuki knew it had to take a holistic approach to changing the OE P&A business, one that included everything from the ordering and shipping policies right down to making significant reductions in retail pricing. After all, OE products are often viewed as the more expensive way to go.
After getting the OK from parent company Suzuki Motor Corp., the plan was put into play. In addition to the other changes, some retail pricing was cut by 60 percent, Eastman noted.
|Suzuki reportedly has created a more competitive pricing structure, increased shipping turnarounds and eased return hassles.|
For dealer stocking orders, the company reduced the qualifying minimum order from $250 to $100 and extended the same-day cutoff time from noon to 2 p.m., allowing dealers to make smaller orders later in the day. For critical orders, the cutoff time was also extended and Suzuki changed freight costs to make them more dealer- and customer-friendly.
Suzuki is also working with ADP to integrate warehouse information into the Lightspeed DMS so that dealers not only can make sure orders are more accurate, but they can get all this information in one place, Eastman said.
To get the word out to dealers, Suzuki hired Neal Wallbaum as parts sales manager. Wallbaum comes from the Cycle Gear chain of PG&A stores where he spent four years as a retail sales manager and another eight as district manager.
Wallbaum says that getting dealers to increase their OE parts offerings is a low-risk proposition. The items are already in the dealerships, the dealers already have accounts with Suzuki and dealers don’t have to shell out big for a minimum order like they would with a distributor, he explained.
On top of this, Suzuki has created a more competitive pricing structure, made the P&A easier to order (and return), put it in branded packaging to help compete for that top-of-mind exposure, and is going to market and advertise it, he says.
“We want the dealers to give us another shot at it,” Wallbaum said. “We’re gonna show them we can do it right.”