Tucker Rocky Distributing is a company in a constant state of metamorphosis, which upon closer examination is probably good for a supplier of trend-rich powersports parts, garments and accessories.
Five years ago the company was dealing with a lackluster warehouse management system and the subsequent delayed orders and headaches that caused for dealer customers.
Today, by all outward appearances, Tucker Rocky is firing on all cylinders, forging ahead into new markets, creating better relationships and moving more product as a result.
Tucker Rocky president Steve Johnson says the privately held company experienced "strong double-digit year-on-year growth" from 2005 to 2006.
"I think one of the core reasons Tucker Rocky is doing as well as it is today is because we're showing that we really are a long-term partner for the dealer," Johnson says. "We may make decisions that aren't quite optimal for our bottom line in the short term, but it's really the long term that we're all about; it's creating that relationship, trust and partnership with the dealer, and helping them grow their business."
Johnson says Tucker Rocky has spent the past couple of years implementing a strategy around four areas: product, fill rates, people and flexibility. Today, he says, keeping a healthy business is all about the day-to-day execution of those areas.
"Product is about having items that consumers want and therefore dealers need," Johnson says. "This last year we added over 88 new manufacturers and literally thousands and thousands of new items. And we've not only brought in more manufacturers, but we're also doing more sourcing and developing of our own products."
"If it's in the catalog, you best have it in your warehouse," Johnson says. "That's always a struggle, given the supply chain we have. Sometimes we'll order a product six months in advance, and sometimes the supply gets extended out beyond past that, and so it's pretty hard to predict with clarity what demand is going to be.
"We've had a focus on improving our fill rate; it's getting better; we are putting a huge amount of inventory into this company like it has never seen before because we think that's one of the basics for growth."
Johnson says the "People" portion of the strategy involves having quality-trained people with enough time to spend in dealerships.
"We've added sales territories this last year and we continue to look for new territories to add, but it's all about spending quality time with the dealer," Johnson says. "Our product line is obviously very broad, and since our manufacturers are also our customers who hire us to represent their products, we have to make sure our employees have quality training and the time to take that training into the dealerships and really work with the retailers."
Flexibility deals with the art of changing with the business environment. "If we do too good a job selling product to a dealer, and a dealer can't sell that product, we're tying up his dollars and our dollars," Johnson says. "What's important to dealers and what is important to us is that the product turns with a reasonably good profit. And I think when they have that, they'll come back and continue to buy products from us."