Keystone News

  • 1/1/2016 12:00:00 AM

The New Year is a special time filled with sincere reflection and genuine aspiration for the months to come. For the Keystone family, it also signals a time to express gratitude for those who make it all possible—loyal employees committed to excellence from start to finish; passionate suppliers steadfast in outfitting the aftermarket with innovative products; and valued customers on the edge of the latest trends, helping to drive consumer demand and contribute to the continued success of this impressive industry.

2015 was a great year, one brimming with many moments that inspire an even better tomorrow for Keystone. We drove continuous improvements around the fundamentals that secure the framework of our business model—depth and breadth of inventory, sophisticated logistics, smart diversification and knowledgeable team members who advocate excellent service. These areas serve as the backbone of long term sustainability in an ever-changing environment.

“If You’re Not Changing Then You’re Not Growing.”

Change is a predictable force in life. Businesses can choose to guide the inevitable in a positive and profitable direction or succumb too late without a clear path in sight. We believe with change comes growth opportunity. Proper analysis and planning allows businesses to confidently invest in their future, ensuring a presence for many years to come.

This year we welcomed Coast Distribution System, Inc. to the Keystone family under the LKQ Corp. (Nasdaq: LKQ) umbrella, providing suppliers with unrivaled market coverage and dealers with prime access to the largest inventory of parts and accessories in the industry. In a recent interview with RV Business, Bill Rogers, Vice President and General Manager of Keystone, NTP-STAG and Coast, commented about the acquisition, stating the merger offers customers a plethora of unique marketing, education, merchandising and trade show offerings that would be highly difficult to deliver effectively without the combined resources of the now-one company. “We’re anticipating another strong year in the RV segment and are excited to be heading into the Expo season. Our combined sales force will be gathering the entire dealer family together from the existing NTP-STAG organization and welcoming new Coast dealers to the event, which will be hosted in New Orleans this January,” said Larry Montante, Category Management Leader. It’s the ideal setting to kick-start the year!

Additionally, we expanded our logistic capabilities to include two additional warehouses in 2016, securing a foothold and extending our reach in the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes region and both Central and Western Canada. The new facilities located in Cheney, Washington and Brownstown, Michigan add an additional 500K square feet of inventory space to the current 2 million sq. ft. footprint, enhancing service capabilities in these critical geographies. “The new warehouses not only help us better expand and penetrate into various geographies, but also increase efficiencies and service levels that benefit both suppliers and customers.” said Montante. “We are committed to investing in the market with the goal of offering deeper and broader coverage across various product categories.” Customers, that spells “Cha-Ching” for you—deeper product coverage in additional locations gives you more choices and those choices can translate directly to more profit for your business.

Quality, Teamwork and Service

Investment in quality yields positive results no matter your business—manufacturing, distribution, retail or installation. And that’s certainly true of the FX Products team, who, debuting its line of vehicle accessories at SEMA for the first time, proudly took home first runner up in the New Products Exterior Accessories category for the HD Running Board. Additionally, Keystone’s eCommerce sales force was presented with the third annual RealTruck Vendor Award for extraordinary commitment to EDI, inventory feeds and continual brand growth. “We’re honored to win this award. It’s great to have partners like Real Truck who are equally committed to giving customers a positive e-commerce experience,” said Lori Adams, eCommerce Sales Manager at Keystone.

The Keystone team was honored to be presented with the WD of the Year award by our partners at Advanced Flow Engineering, Inc. (aFe). This award, accepted by Jon Ruzzi, Category Manager for Speed and Performance, and Ralph Ruzzi, VP of Canadian Sales, demonstrates the power of true partnership. “We’re very proud to be the recipient of such a prestigious award,” said Montante. “Jon and Keystone sales have worked collectively with the aFe team to achieve long term, sustainable growth.”

Looking Ahead

The 2016 Keystone BIG Shows are upon us. An enormous amount of time, energy and resources are dedicated to making the BIG Shows an exceptional experience for all guests. As the largest wholesale-only buying opportunity in the automotive aftermarket, the bar is certainly set high to produce an engaging event each and every year. Montante, part of the Keystone family for more than 30 years, has witnessed the BIG Shows grow exponentially in size, scope, quality and aftermarket influence since the inaugural launch in 1999. He’s always amazed how each year tops the one before. “More suppliers, more customers, further exposure…. It’s bigger and better every single year,” said Montante. New lines continue to be a huge focus and great source of growth for the Keystone team. Using the BIG Shows as a launching pad for many of these incoming manufacturers has been successful not only for them, but also the attendees. “We want to be part of the process to really help our customers market themselves as a local source for new and innovative products,” said Montante. There’s no better springboard than the Keystone BIG Shows. Getting first dibs on new lines, new products and new applications allows customers to get a jump start on the competition.

Mark your calendars for this year’s BIG Shows.

BIG Show East - Saturday, February 20th, 2016 Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

BIG Show West - Saturday, March 5th, 2016 Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine, TX

Recent Articles

Keystone Automotive Announces 2019 RAM Project: The TerraRAM

Exeter, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations announced during its BIG Show at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX, plans to build a customized 2019 RAM 1500 show vehicle – the TerraRAM.  Modeled to be the Ultimate Overland Adventure Vehicle, the TerraRam will be a fully self-contained, on- and off-road explorer that combines rugged good looks with the latest technology and performance improvement products available in the aftermarket.

 

“We wanted this project to be a collaborative one where we have a chance to showcase the products and brands going into the build along with our customers that will be instrumental in putting the whole thing together,” says Larry Montante, VP of Category Management. Playing off the BIG Show theme, “The Ultimate Road Trip”, TerraRAM will be taken on a year-long odyssey that will feature Keystone customers contributing to the build along the way. Larry adds, “We think it will be a terrific way to build a community around the project and shine a bright light on the suppliers and installers that help make it happen.”

 

Shrouded under a cover on the exhibit hall floor during BIG Show, the TerraRAM drew a lot of attention and questions from attendees and exhibitors. “The show is a great platform to create some excitement for the project. We have a clear vision about the features we want to build into the truck and look forward to flushing out the finer details over the next 30 days as we sift through the proposals we received from suppliers that want to be part of the project,” says Larry. “Suffice it to say, the TerraRAM will embody the spirit of travel wherever the road leads.”

 

Plans for the TerraRAM include featuring the latest in solar and satellite technology to improve off-grid connectivity. Additionally, extensive suspension improvements, exterior and interior upgrades, performance enhancements and a few surprises from Keystone’s RV supplier partners will help make the vehicle a home on the road. The company’s goal is to deliver a comfortable, self-sustained earth traveler that can thrive in the most remote locations and harshest conditions. 

 

The truck will be equipped for boondocking, rock-hopping and interstate travel (but only as a last resort) and have an extensive array of technology and performance products provided by the distributor’s supplier partners. “Through terraRAM we hope to illustrate the value aftermarket products have in helping enthusiasts realize their vision for how they want their vehicles to look and be used,” commented Harneet Kaur, Directory of Marketing at Keystone.

 

According to Kaur, this TerraRAM is more than a typical truck build project. “While our intention is to create a vehicle capable of far reaching journeys, we also intend to follow the journey that makes it capable,” she says.  By documenting the build and following the vehicle across the country as it goes from stock to the TerraRAM, the company hopes the product and installer profiles they produce and promote on social media and other select media outlets, creates awareness and interest for the sponsors’ products and the vehicle itself.

 

Keystone invites the industry and enthusiasts everywhere to take part in the TerraRAM’s journey in 2019 by following the project on Keystone Social Media Channels, TheEngineBlock.com and selected media outlets.  

 

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.


70 New Suppliers to Exhibit at BIG Show

EXETER, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations’ BIG Show is adding a lot of new features… and exhibitors to its event March 8-9 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.  In addition to a Warn sponsored keynote by Ken Schmidt, a double-header concert featuring Tim Montana and Karen Waldrup and casino night presented by WeatherGard, the BIG show is attracting new suppliers as exhibitors like never before.

“We have more than 70 suppliers exhibiting this year that weren’t at our 2018 event,” says John Spaulding, Director of Events for Keystone Automotive Operations. “The interest in BIG Show as a way for suppliers to connect with jobbers, dealers, installers and retailers continues to grow. Our show platform is becoming the premier destination for introducing new products, selling to new customers and engaging with the market in ways that most of us can’t in our day-to-day roles. It’s a vital part of our business and we know our customers and suppliers look forward to it every year.”

New items are essential to the aftermarket and its more than just model year changeover that’s driving new product development. Innovative solutions for improving vehicle performance, whether it’s suspension, exhaust, engine, tires and wheels or accessories that enhance the overall functionality, are creating sales opportunities for aftermarket product resellers and installers. Events like BIG Show play a pivotal role in showcasing these opportunities and connecting all the supply chain players in an effort to grow sales for everyone.

“The show experience has been designed to focus on new products,” says Spaulding. “We have a New Products Showcase with more than 180 new items on display. In addition, 36 companies are exhibiting new Point-of-Purchase tools that give our attendees ideas about how to merchandise and sell new products in their stores.” New suppliers will be highlighted on the BIG Show floor map and will be prominently featured throughout the event.

Brand new suppliers to Keystone will be showcased in a special sales promotion at BIG Show. Golden tickets representing extra bonus discounts will be given to every attendee. The tickets can be used for purchases from the 40 exhibitors at the event that are new to Keystone.

“Our sales initiatives and on-the-floor activity are all about helping our customers grow their business,” states Vice President of Sales for Keystone Automotive Operations, Fred Petrivelli. “We know that these new product and new lines can have an incredible impact on their sales and profits and want to make sure they are aware of the opportunities so they can make informed decisions about the best way to serve their customers and their businesses in the future,” he adds.

The Keystone BIG Show is the industry’s largest distributor event in North America drawing thousands of attendees from Canada and the United States. Host to more than 200 exhibiting companies, nearly 100 show vehicles and an agenda packed with special events and networking opportunities, the BIG Show is the place to be March 8-9 in Grapevine, TX.

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.

Keystone’s Parts Via Program to add Broader e-Commerce Reach and Loyalty Benefits for Its Members

Exeter, PA - In 2017, Keystone Automotive Operations launched Parts Via, an innovative sales network that linked organic site traffic at its brand  partner’s websites to local brick and mortar business via a “Buy Now” button. The profits from the online transactions are shared among the participating supplier partners and dealers while the free, ship-to-store delivery option served as a catalyst for driving consumer traffic to the local business. This new, incremental business stimulated add-on sales, installation revenue and service opportunities, furthering the value of the Parts Via Program to its membership.

The company announced that it is launching Phase II of Parts Via to the automotive aftermarket during its annual BIG Show March 8-9, 2019 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. This phase includes program enhancements that expand e-commerce reach through a consumer facing website and marketplace store. In addition, Parts Via members will be part of a new customer Parts Via loyalty program.

“Our development roadmap for Parts Via has always included growing the network though enhanced tools and participation,” stated Bill Rogers, President of Keystone. “We recognized early on that a consumer’s path to purchase is one with many forks and the decisions made by them along their journey impact where the final purchase is made. We wanted to build a program that put our partners in the best competitive position to capture the sale regardless of where and when a consumer chooses to buy something, whether it is in a store or online.” He concludes.

Keystone will be previewing its new consumer website www.partsvia.com during the BIG Show as part of the Phase II rollout. The site will complement the “Buy Now” functionality on partner sites and have the added benefit of hosting all the Parts Via partner products in one location. The new site will include a robust parts look-up tool, fresh content and ship-to-store / ship-to-home options. “This will further expand the opportunity for our brick and mortar Network Dealers to participate in an on-line sale that may have otherwise gone around them.”  Also, a new appointment scheduling feature that will allow Parts Via Network Dealers to promote available installation times will be added soon.

Understanding the sheer volume of business generated through online marketplaces that brick and mortar businesses are not participating in, prompted the company to look for a solution that allows their customers to claw back some of that lost revenue. Keystone has launched its Parts Via Amazon Marketplace store. This storefront will sell products under the Parts Via banner and generate similar benefits for the member Network Dealers. The storefront’s current 2,661 SKUS are made up of high-volume MAP brands that help maintain margins throughout the supply chain.

“As we thought about the introduction of Parts Via Phase II, we wanted to leverage some of the unique capabilities we are providing our customers and wrap them into a loyalty program,” said Larry Montante, VP Category Management. “We are introducing the Parts Via Loyalty program in conjunction with the Phase II launch.” The new loyalty program employs a tiered approach to participation that makes getting involved easy and scalable for future growth regardless of a business’s size, focus or markets served. As a Parts Via Network Dealer’s participation and engagement with Keystone grows so to do the benefits of being in the Parts Via Loyalty Program.

The dealer’s benefits will be determined by their status within the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of the program. Some examples of the benefits include dealer web locator placement and positioning, Parts Via profit share, installation network inclusion, marketing support, BIG Show benefits, preferred product access, exclusive promotional opportunities, unique travel and event incentives, and Keystone services incentives.

“Just like airline mileage programs, we intend to award points and member benefits based on sales and other goals,” says Montante. He adds, “We will be using an online rewards tracking program that will allow our customers to monitor their status in real time and redeem their points on a variety of member rewards.” The availability of these new tools and services will allow Keystone to expand the Parts Via value proposition to its Brand Partners and Network Dealers driving more business back into local businesses.   

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.

Keystone Now Offers Black Horse Off Road

Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. has added Black Horse Off Road to its stable of truck and off-road product offerings.

Long Island-based Black Horse Off Road has grown from a small wholesaler of accessories to a nationally-recognized brand during the past 15 years, according to Keystone. The company offers grille guards, bull bars, brush guards, safari bars, hard tonneau covers, no-drill side step systems and running boards, bumper guards, lighting solutions, and electric winches.

The company’s latest offering, the Black Horse Armour Bull Bar, is constructed of heavy-duty stainless steel in an aggressive and modern angular design, available for a variety of makes and models.

Black Horse Off Road recently announced a partnership with American Luxury Coach (ALC), which debuted a limited-edition Black Horse Series 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 at SEMA 2018.

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