Keystone News

Partnering With A Warehouse Distributor: A Recipe For Growth

Wholesalers serve as an integral partner in the traditional three-step distribution model within the specialty auto products market space. Their role is to facilitate business relations between the manufacturing community and retailers and restylers, connecting those they serve with the purchasing power of end consumers. As business builders, the goal of any wholesale distributor is to enhance the purchasing experience for customers by providing access to comprehensive inventory levels, a reliable logistics and delivery system, dependable technological tools and friendly, knowledgeable customer support.

But there is one thing that all players in the automotive aftermarket need in order to be successful — consumer demand. Fortunately, 2014 was a strong year in the automotive industry, up 5.8 percent in sales in comparison to 2013, with predictions standing tall in 2015. According to Reuters, “U.S. auto sales will end the year strongly, as December sales will be 10.4 percent higher than a year ago. U.S. auto sales will hit 17 million in 2015 for the first time since 2001,” said representatives of JD Power & Associates and LMC Automotive. These statistics paint a positive picture for wholesale distribution channels, allowing for stronger, more aggressive investments in inventory, infrastructure, programs and people.

Depth And Breadth Of Inventory

Whether in business as an independent storefront or installation center, a national or regional auto parts chain, or an e-commerce seller, a wholesale distributor has the key manufacturing relationships that offer access to thousands of brands and an even more impressive portfolio of products. Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc., one of the largest and leading wholesale distributors in the specialty auto products market space, stocks products from more than 800 manufacturers and 300,000-plus SKUs to best serve the needs of its customers. These manufacturers and product categories are organized into market segments, which are managed by a team of automotive experts who execute first-to-market initiatives — including new lines, new products and new applications — monitor regional and national trends, as well as forecast and analyze product demand to maintain high service levels, so customers have the ultimate product fulfillment experience. Wholesale distributors do the legwork so manufacturers can focus their efforts on filling the pipeline with innovative product development, and retailers and installers can fulfill customer demand while growing their businesses.

Logistics And Delivery

In an environment where end consumers have various online and brick-and-mortar options available to them, all wholesale distributors understand the importance of capturing demand. Consistent, dependable delivery and customer service is of immense importance to help retailers and restylers close the sale at the point of a customer purchase.Keystone has developed a robust and sophisticated logistics system that operates via highly reliable and route-based fulfillment networks. Its six warehouses and nearly 50 cross-dock locations are strategically positioned throughout the country to best meet the delivery demands of customers throughout North America. Keystone customers have the greatest variety of product selection, enjoy later product order cut-off times and earlier deliveries, as well as experience personalized driver delivery, returns and pick-ups. Doing business with a wholesale distributor ensures you have the product you need, when you need it most — no matter how large or small the order is. Retailers are able to better manage cash flow and meet customer demands by receiving smaller, more frequent deliveries versus placing large orders with a single manufacturer.

Industry Support Services

Warehouse distributors encourage employees to roll up their sleeves and get right in the action by working closely alongside those being serviced. Distributors will do whatever possible to help drive sales for both the manufacturer as well as the business owner, from employing stellar people who are enthusiastic about the industry, providing next-day delivery services to maximize customer service, offering unique marketing programs to grow a retailer’s business and developing innovative technology that improves efficiency and effectiveness.Keystone customers experience real-time selling assistance with marketing and inventory tools such as e-Keystone, designed to provide jobbers with purchasing power 24/7; modern year, make, model lookup and smart-search technology; detailed product applications, features and benefits; as well as discount positions, promotions and inventory levels. Start 2015 With A BangIn the end, how long a store or installation center has been in operation and the amount of revenue it pulls in per fiscal year has no bearing on a jobber’s ability to experience the vast benefits of doing business with a warehouse distributor. Say goodbye to doing things the hard way, and partner with a WD that can not only deliver inventory, but also a solid platform for growth in 2015.

Recent Articles

Keystone Welcomes RideTech

EXETER, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. welcomes RideTech, one of the world’s largest aftermarket suspension companies, to its performance category. RideTech, formerly known as Air Ride Technologies, was founded in 1996 when owner Bret Voelkel, now a member of the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Hall of Fame, developed an air ride suspension for a 1970 Ford Mustang project car.

RideTech has since evolved into an industry-leading company with a full line of products, from air suspension systems, coil overs, and shock absorbers to coil and leaf springs, control arms, sway bars, and much more. Serving a variety of applications from street to track, RideTech is committed to manufacturing high-quality parts that display cutting-edge performance, durability, and reliability. “We do the research and development, CAD drawings, prototyping, CNC machining, CNC tube bending, jig welding, shock assembly and dyno, air spring crimping and burst testing, and final assembly all within our facility in Jasper, IN,” says the company.

Dedication to in-house quality control has allowed RideTech to become a performance suspension specialist, with a virtually non-existent backorder rate and decidedly competitive warranty. The company stands behind all of its shock absorbers with a 1,000,001-mile warranty as proof that RideTech truly “goes the extra mile.” Furthermore, RideTech promises that any driver who expires their RideTech shock warranty, “will get a picture of themselves and their car in a full-page ad in Hot Rod Magazine.”

“Our business model has not been derived from any business seminar or book,” says the company. “It is simply our common-sense approach to give the customers what they want, when they want it. Since we are (a staff of) hot rodders, we feel we have a reasonably good idea what ‘it’ is.”

At the 2018 SEMA Show, RideTech introduced several new product launches, including a new line of sway bars that offer unparalleled dimensional accuracy and bar rate consistency. Featuring 100% in-house CNC-bent tubing, the new sway bar program also employs investment casting technology to redesign bar ends and end links for more durability and easier installation. RideTech also debuted an all-new billet modular spindle design for C5/C6 Chevrolet Corvettes (as seen on the company’s race-winning Track 1 C5 Corvette), and a new, larger rod end and weld-on bearing known as the R-Joint XL.

Looking forward, RideTech continues to invest in R&D and expand its engineering department resources, making its innovative suspension systems more durable and technologically capable. The company’s RidePRO-X Digital Air Suspension Leveling System made an encore appearance at SEMA 2018 to debut its innovative new smartphone app that provides greater custom calibration and increased accuracy. In addition, RideTech is active outside the automotive aftermarket, diversifying its portfolio with OEM, marine, and military applications.

With a dedicated team focused on product development and customer satisfaction, backed by a true passion for hot rodding, RideTech is working hard to secure another generation of exciting suspension systems. “RideTech is the leader when it comes to performance suspension system upgrades. The complete systems give our customers the ability to make one purchase for everything they need to fully upgrade a suspension system,” says Joe Rutledge, Director of Category Management for Performance at Keystone. “Our team is honored to be able to offer the RideTech product line to our customers.”

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of automotive aftermarket products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

NTP-STAG’s Pre-Cart Functionality Makes Preparing for EXPO Easier Than Ever

Exeter, PA – One of the most important things a dealer can do before they attend NTP-STAG’s EXPO, is prepare. “Over the past several years we have integrated technology solutions into our trade show to make it easier for our customers to maximize their time on the show floor with us and take advantage of all the special offers we provide,” states John Spaulding, Director of Events and Communications. “Early preparation and utilization of these new tools can really improve a customer’s experience at the show,” he adds.

The company found that dealers who reviewed their purchase histories, took stock of their inventory and forecasted their demand for certain products before the show typically had more time to visit with suppliers about new lines and learn about new products and services offered by NTP-STAG. “Our Pre-Cart option within VIA allows our customers to get a head-start on building their show orders. The functionality is available now, giving everyone attending EXPO plenty of time to develop a buying plan for when they are with us in Nashville January 22-23,” says Fred Petrivelli, VP Sales NTP-STAG.

NTP-STAG’s pre-cart works just like an e-commerce shopping cart. Customers can add items to the pre-cart by selecting the Add-to-Expo Cart button available on product list and product detail pages within VIA. Pre-cart contents can be modified at any time and show pricing will appear on those items at the opening of the show.

EXPO attendee can also use the Pre-Show Upload tool available in the EXPO site. The Upload tool uses a simple Excel file format that allows customers to build their show buy and upload directly into a pre-cart. This is extremely helpful for customers that use their point of sales software to output usage reports. The information those reports generate can now be easily translated into a shopping cart making it much faster to build an order.

To see a quick tutorial about Pre-Cart go to Expo Precart Tutorial to learn more.

Technology advancements have also influenced how orders are placed at the show. Electronic ordering was introduced at EXPO two years ago, and is fast becoming the most popular way to submit orders. “Dealers are realizing that the time savings, order accuracy and other benefits associated with the technology makes the order writing process easier, faster and more enjoyable,” says Spaulding. “We use a bring-your-own-devise-and-data approach to our web-based solution and found that it is easier for people to use equipment they are familiar with. If it can connect to the internet, it can be used to place orders at the show.”

NTP-STAG EXPO is the industry’s largest warehouse distributor sponsored event. It draws attendees from across North America and features educational programming, exhibits from over 200 suppliers, season-best buying opportunities and a variety of networking functions. The event is being held January 22-23 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. To learn more about the event or pre-cart ordering, customer should contact their sales representative or visit expo.ntpstag.com.

NTP-STAG Expo 2019 Show App Available Now

Exeter, PA - NTP-STAG has announced the launch of the 2019 Expo Show App and its availability to download from the Apple Store and Google Play.

EXPO QR Code

The App is the Expo attendee’s gateway to real time information about the show.  Users will gain access to the show agenda, RV University schedule and PRO Seminar speakers and topics. Additionally, the App provides an interactive floor plan to make finding suppliers easier and live updates for notifications on prize drawing winners, Power Hours and much more. It’s simple to use and a very handy tool to get the most out of the Expo experience.

Getting the App is easy.  Go to https://guidebook.com/g/ntpstagexpo19

1. Tap the "Download" button to download the free Guidebook app
2. Open Guidebook and you can find our "NTP-STAG Expo 2019" guide
3. Tap "Enter passphrase" and enter ntpstagexpo19 to download our guide

Whether EXPO is the largest RV distributor sponsored event in North America. RV Dealers, Service Centers and Mobile Repair businesses are attracted to EXPO for the education and buying opportunities the event provides.  This year’s show will host 36 technical product and business development seminars at RV University. The exhibit hall will be home to nearly 200 suppliers showcasing new items, a model store and NTP-STAG exclusive marketing and merchandising offers. The season’s best deals await NTP-STAG’s customers at EXPO and the new Show App makes getting the most out of the event, easy.

NTP-STAG is the leading full service distributor and marketer of aftermarket RV products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, experienced associates, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.

Keystone Automotive Launches New Mobile App

Exeter, PA Keystone Automotive Operations, has launched a new mobile app that puts the power of their industry best “eKeystone” business-to-business system into any device and makes it mobile! “Access to information when and where a person needs it was a fundamental consideration in the building of our app for mobile devices,” states Harneet Kaur, Director of Marketing at Keystone. “Fast, convenient and thoughtful access to data, tools and sales resources that make our customer’s lives better and more productive was the objective and the result we achieved,” she added.

Shop owners are often in front of the counter, out in the parking lot looking at a customer’s vehicle, making a dealer sales call, or in the shop working on a vehicle build. This app gives them the flexibility to access eKeystone tools anywhere they work.

“In addition to being able to access all the power and resources available on eKeystone, it goes even further. One of the new features is VIN Lookup which has been on our desired feature list for a long time” states Fred Petrivelli, Vice President of Sales at Keystone. The app harnesses mobile device technology including voice-to-text capability to allow users to search for products simply by saying a category or brand, and utilizes the camera to scan QR, UPC and vehicle VIN numbers and VIN barcodes. This scanning capability takes the mobile app from a retail sales driver to a store management tool for inventory control and other store functions like pricing, labels and ordering.

eKeystone App Barcode and VIN Scanner

The eKeystone app includes all the proprietary data in Keystone’s B2B system. Subscribers can access 800k+ cataloged SKUs, 400k images, 20k videos, 40k installation instructions, and more. “When you put a tool like this to work in a live business environment the possibilities for improving customer service and sales are endless,” explained Petrivelli.

Whether the app is used to scan a vehicle VIN to help identify accessories appropriate for that vehicle, place an order, track a shipment or upsell accessories in a car lot, car show or event, it will prove to be a powerful sales tool that can be taken anywhere.

The app is now available for download on the iTunes App Store and Google Play and immediately available to existing Premium eKeystone users. Once loaded onto a user’s device the app is activated using the customer’s eKeystone account login information.

For more information contact a Keystone Automotive Operations customer service associate at (800) 521-9999.

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