It has been and will continue to be a challenging year when it comes to inventory, restyler Josh Poulson says in the June edition of THE SHOP Magazine, but he has been searching for the silver linings in the 2021 inventory fight.
Finding the Parts We Need
Poulson can’t remember a time when it was ever this difficult to get the parts he needs for vehicles his shop is working on, he said.
Manufacturers faced the same challenges as everyone else when the pandemic hit, resulting in layoffs, cancelations of raw materials and overall desperate measures. And nobody was ready for what came next: an explosion in sales.
It became a perfect storm as manufacturers couldn’t produce product quickly enough and the worldwide scale of the pandemic meant that even if one manufacturer wasn’t affected, it was almost certain another one was. Additionally, safety precautions and a smaller workforce reduced productivity.
Fast-forward to 2021, Poulson says, and the industry is still feeling the side effects and wondering if we will ever see inventory levels return to a point where we can order what we want and get it when we want.
To adjust, Poulson says his shop has been forced to try different brands they maybe would have shied away from in the past. It hasn’t always been easy, he says, and they have learned why his shop prefers some brands over others but has also helped his company not be so narrowminded when it comes to specific brands.
The Right Vehicle
Another issue Poulson and other restylers are dealing with is a shortage of new vehicles.
Carmakers went into the pandemic with a slimmer inventory than in previous years, then shut down for weeks, and are now facing other supply issues, from microchips to plastic floor mats.
With stimulus checks and other forms of government money being dished out, the demand for vehicles has increased, and with fewer cars on the lot, dealers are having to change the way they do business.
The aftermarket can capitalize by realizing that dealers need to make as much as they can on every deal and present an opportunity to do some preload packages or showroom cars. Packages allow dealers to make some additional gross profit and it’s a great way to showcase your products and services and prove what you can do. Because of this, make sure your dealers know about all the products you offer.
No matter how long these inventory challenges exist, we have to continue moving forward and finding opportunities.