Get an adult beverage first if you like, then speculate with me a moment on what a boat dealership might work like in future – say the year 2015 or so. As long as we are just having fun, we might solve as many of today’s problems as we can. Here is what I see making life most difficult for boat dealers at the present:
- The industry has had a large, stagnant inventory that grew like an evil weed when the economy slowed. We are likened to the car industry, but their inventory is normally turning on the order of every 60-90 days. If it grows, car production and deliveries shift pretty quickly. They still got into trouble, but they are getting out faster than we are. I know that when the economic climate gets gritty, we may see our holdings go well past a full year’s needs – just when we can least afford to carry it.
- The recreational marine product mix is so diverse that even in good times, some niches will remain vegetative. A Mercedes and a Jeep are a lot more alike in use than a bass boat and a motor yacht.
- Our inventory monster has been low on location efficiency for years. We have minimal means of mating products in one locale with demand in another – used or new. Some boat builders have tried to help with this, but most just wanted to build another boat. Boy, was that short term thinking.
- When we guess wrong on stock, we have to dump it at poor or negative margins to stay alive. It seems we have guessed wrong on a lot recently – particularly quantities. This creates an expectation in the minds of the buyers still around and makes them pretty resistant to “normal” pricing. … [ READ MORE of this article and comment ]