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 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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