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TURN 14 CTO CHRIS CANDIDO TALKS

  • Dealernews
  • Mar 01, 2024

 

As Turn 14’s Chief Technical Officer, Chris Candido has a lot on his plate! The automotive distribution giant’s up-to-the-minute online inventory tracking, forecasting and dedicated Customer Support Department allow the company to cut lead times and keep its customers informed about product fulfillment. With 723,000 sq./ft. of warehouse space, Turn 14 Distribution boasts ground shipping coverage to 45% of the U.S. population in one day and 100% within two days. Globally, Turn 14 Distribution’s competitive freight rates, 'ship to your shop' flat rate shipping, late shipping cutoff times, seven-day-a-week operation, and same day in-stock order fulfillment is a lot to take in… Then add taking in more than 11,000 pallets of product and over 60,000 SKU's when it came time to transition Tucker’s inventory into Turn 14’s facilities! We put Candido in the hot seat at AIMExpo to cover what has been happening behind the scenes. 

I'm CTO and co-founder of a certain 14 Distribution operation…

Turn 14, we've heard that name here around the show. It's new to the powersports space, but not new in the bigger automotive distribution world.

Yes we've been in the automotive space for about two decades. We tried to transition into powersports over the year, but last year, we purchased the assets of Tucker. We've kind of taken that on and rolled that into our organization…  that's what we're doing now.

Everybody from the car side of things seems to see things a little bit different than powersports people. What do you see here at the show?

It’s really been pretty eye-opening for me to be on the ground, talking to dealers and talking to brands… It seems everyone is very focused on the market. People want to talk about the industry, they want to talk about what they're interested in. And it seems really nice. We're used to the SEMA show, which is a lot bigger, but I think this has a lot of really good content and a really good interaction. So it's been really good! 

Speaking of SEMA, for those that don't know, Turn 14 was awarded Warehouse Distributor Of The Year for how many years consecutively? Five out of six, or some incredible number like that?

It was, I believe, three years of the past five… So it has been a pretty good run. We appreciated the recognition, and it is a real honor. 

It means you guys know what you're doing, you are efficient on the operations side, and you have happy dealers at the other end of the pipeline. Those kinds of economies of scale and the efficiencies that you have developed in that bigger automotive picture can help powersports. How will Turn 14 impact us in powersports?

Well, I think we have a lot of great systems, we spend a lot of time and effort trying to be as efficient as we can be. We put a huge emphasis on technology. From the warehousing level, where we use a lot of automation, down to our systems, we try to be as efficient as possible and easy to work with. But I would also say on the flip side, we have an excellent team. The new folks we've hired in the powersports side have been fantastic as well. They have great synergy with our team. So it's been a really big win there. We have a lot of people who know how to navigate the industry and know a lot of folks that have a lot of retail knowledge. And also I think we have excellent dealers and excellent suppliers. So it's kind of a win all around. We're big on relationships.

You're the chief technology officer, can you please touch upon what ACES and PIES are and what we can learn on the powersports side from Turn 14’s specific model?

ACES and PIES are basically a product categorization standard, established by Auto Care on the car side. They make it really easy in automotive, it's very easy to get products into catalogs in a way that's usable across the dealer network. So ACES and PIES simplify attributes and standardize data for vehicle fitment and applications. On the motorcycle side, we had kind of a struggle because we're used to dealing with a common system for a couple of decades. We're working on actually adjusting some of those standards to bring over to powersports as part of our business practices. I think it will be something we'll push for within the industry, because I think it's a good move to be unified. People bringing new products to market can be done with a click of a button versus, having somebody inputting data and keeping it up to date.

Speaking of inputting data, there was a lot of SKUs that had to be integrated from the old Tucker system into Turn 14 

It has been a lot of work. Our team has done an excellent job with it, the folks that we transitioned over to hit the ground running, and they're really committed to what they're doing, which has been tremendously helpful. We're still working through the transition right now. Also in the midst of the Tucker process, we doubled the footprint of our Pennsylvania warehouse and opened another warehouse in Indianapolis. So it's been a lot of challenges along the way! But I think we're getting everything under foot and kind of getting rolling. So we're excited.

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