[Author: Andrew Goodman, 11.2016 | Keywords: Executive Insight, Member Issues]
In the December 2014 issue of The Retailer, I wrote about the top 10 issues facing our members. At that time, the top 10 issues were 1) taxes, 2) inventory, 3) buildings, 4) economic trends, 5) dealer transition, 6) legislative/political, 7) employee related issues, 8) dealer-manufacturer relations, 9) technology and 10) trucking regulations. In light of the recent changes to commodity prices, I felt that now would be a good time to see if these issues have changed.
- Whole Goods Sales – Two years later, the number one issue on the minds of dealers is, not surprisingly, the sales of whole goods, which are down. While this downturn is directly related to commodity prices, the big question is, when we will see a turnaround? Most prognosticators predict this will not occur before 2018.
- Right to Repair – “Right to Repair” or “Do it Yourself” repair legislation remains the second most common topic discussed. Attempts have been made to pass legislation that would require dealers and manufacturers to “transfer an authorized copy of the computer program, or the right to obtain such copy” when the equipment is transferred. Currently, service manuals and guidelines are made available to owners of the equipment for servicing, but copyright protects the computer program.
- Service Department – Shops in most dealerships remain busy. This is important since shops often are the most profitable part of the dealership, making it vital toward maintaining a strong customer base in the long run.
- EDA Dues – Formerly known as the North American Equipment Dealers Association, the Equipment Dealers Association of St. Louis, MO, no longer has a connection to INEDA and as a result, charges dues at its own rates.
- Dealer Inventories – Our quarterly state of the industry surveys show that whole goods inventories are down 20% per year for each of the last two years. This bodes well for getting inventories in line with reduced demand for equipment.
- Manufacturer Pressures – Some manufacturers are trying to get dealers to buy more inventory in order to qualify for certain sales and incentives programs.
- Sales – Several dealers have stated that sales are okay. Although most said that sales were down, some stated that they were still selling products (especially those under $50,000) and that they could operate on this rate of sales.
- Taxes – The issue of taxes is always on this list and includes, but is not limited to, excise tax and sales tax issues. We are still receiving several questions about what is taxable and what is not.
- Fair Labor Standards Act – Many questions surfaced regarding the changes in white collar rules. These changes did not affect the special exemptions for certain employees of farm equipment dealerships. We also continue to receive questions about rules for underage employees.
- Employee Shortage – We continue to experience a shortage of qualified people to work in dealerships, especially technicians. This issue has been with us for a long time and will continue to be into the future.
It is interesting to note that over the long term five issues have continually appeared in the top ten. These include: taxes, inventory, economic trends, employee relations and dealer manufacturer relations. At INEDA, we will continue to focus our efforts on these issues.
About the Author
Andy has worked in the equipment industry for 47 years; 22 of those leading I-NEDA. His extensive knowledge and experience helps Andy guide our members through dealer-manufacturer relationships, complicated mergers and acquisitions, and legislative issues. When he’s not working, Andy enjoys riding his motorcycle, fishing, model railroading and spending time with his wife and grandchildren.