Keystone News

  • 3/9/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Bradley Worrell

Bill Rogers stepped into the role of vice president and general manager for NTP-STAG in July 2015, during an especially hectic time for the RV parts distributor. About the same time Rogers took the helm, the company reorganized its top management team, it began its consolidation and reorganization of Coast Distribution’s operations following the acquisition, it continued its integration of Stag-Parkway’s operations after acquiring that distributor in October 2014, and it continued with its intensive planning for The Expo, it’s first combined NTP-STAG distributor show and what is believed to be the largest RV aftermarket show ever.

Some might find juggling those various responsibilities daunting, but then Rogers is no stranger to holding executive leadership positions in supply chain management, with a long track record of working for such companies as General Electric, Textron/ Bell Helicopter and Keystone Automotive, the parent company of NTP-STAG.

“My job is really easy, given I am surrounded by an excellent team of competent, passionate and highly experienced professionals,” he says modestly. “My emphasis is on keeping us focused, removing obstacles and bureaucracy, and on customer satisfaction.”

As the NTP-STAG show was winding down on Jan. 20, Rogers took time out of his busy schedule to talk with RV PRO about the show, the state of the company’s ongoing process of integrating three national RV distributors, the combined company’s expanded services to assist dealers, and its overall plans moving forward.

RV PRO: With the acquisitions of Stag-Parkway and Coast Distribution now behind you, what’s the message you want to get out to the industry, especially for dealers attending this show?

Rogers: I think our overall intent is to take the opportunity to say, ‘We’re not some big (corporation) that has no face. We’re all of the same people you’ve dealt with forever.’ Nothing has changed.

In fact, hopefully we’ve done a good job of integrating and taking the best of everything (from NTP, Stag and Coast) in a well-balanced manner and with a broad section of the people from those organizations and applying it to the task at-hand.

And to be really humble about it, in all honesty. We understand there are options, we really do. And if we don’t do things the right way, shame on us; it’s ours to lose. We have to do the right things and earn the business we have.

RV PRO: Where are you in the integration process today? Are things basically wrapped up, or is there still more to do?

Rogers: No, things aren’t done. Yes, there are things left to do.

I think we’ve integrated seven warehouses out of 17. At this point, we are focused on the execution of The Expo and the show orders and that activity. So, there’s nothing more planned for the next few months at this point. But I guess, overall, I would say that, by the end of 2016, we should be mostly done.

RV PRO: When the integration is complete, what do you envision the company will look like?

Rogers: I think it will end up looking like an expanded version of NTP-STAG. With the resources and the combination of the people, processes and systems, I think we will have more and more customer satisfaction, more customer service options, enhancements to systems, broader offerings, and just continue to work on satisfying customers.

RV PRO: So, NTP-STAG Coast, a Keystone Automotive company, seems like a bit of a mouthful. Any thoughts on a possible company name change moving forward?

Rogers: That’s a great question, and everyone is focused on it. … I think, once we get through the integration, we’ll come up with some name that makes sense for the business going forward.

I think that name will probably be separate from the Keystone or the automotive side, because Keystone on the automotive side has a long history and it makes sense to keep it in place on that side.

It was easy when it was NTP-STAG; it seemed to fit together. We had a nice solution for that. … So, maybe we just retain NTP-STAG, or maybe we just start with something new altogether to keep it fresh.

RV PRO: To what extent do you see the combined company keeping any of the specific elements that were distinct to NTP and Stag and Coast?

Rogers: We have taken a good examination of each of the businesses and gotten input from each of the organizations to say: What do we do well? What do we not do so well? How does it fit into the logistics structure that we’ll press on with?

In terms of things like the shows, the marketing, how we set up, and who we put in place in terms of the inside and outside sales force: All of those things are where most of the opportunities are to get feedback from both our internal folks and from our customers. Whatever elements of the businesses are retained will be the result of that input.

RV PRO: Of course, Coast had its own line of branded products, such as the Husky towing products, the Faulkner furniture and the Powerhouse generators. Has there been a determination yet as to whether the combined company will continue to sell those products?

Rogers: Yes, they will be offered moving forward. There’s no reason not to continue to support those lines. There are customers that are depending upon those lines today.

They are a brand that Coast created. Whether we would have taken that same approach, who knows? But our ownership of those brands is certainly something that we wouldn’t do anything to hurt.

What I will tell you is that, on the branded products, those are our focus. We won’t put a Coast proprietary product ahead of a branded product in terms of emphasis.

But if a customer likes the Coast products … and likes the value proposition that goes with those, then we completely support that and we’re not doing anything to change that part of the business. We’ll support it and we’ll see how it goes.

RV PRO: Meanwhile, Stag-Parkway was always known for its strong educational emphasis, especially its Professional Retailer Organization (PRO) program. Will that continue to be an emphasis for the combined company moving forward?

Rogers: For 2016, it is absolutely a priority for us to support the industry in education. As we mentioned this morning, we’ve done a lot of work to try to get the PRO offering to be consistent and approved by the (RV Dealers Association’s) Mike Molino Learning Center. It’s under review now and we’re pretty confident it will be helpful in terms of those certifications … for parts manager and service manager positions. Those are the current things I think will contribute to us helping in that area.

What we are challenged now, though, to do – and this is something I feel very strongly about – is how do we get more techs into the RV market? Because, there is a real supply issue with techs. One thing I hear consistently from all the dealers is: ‘There’s not enough techs. And, we have a hard time getting and retaining techs.’

To the extent that we can help increase the supply of technicians, I think it’s a huge win for us, personally, and for the dealers. Because they’ll write more business and we’ll get some portion of that. So, I think it’s a win-win.

Our intent is to work with RVIA, work with RVDA, and work with any other organization that we can help support with our training facilities, putting parts in place to help with training, maybe facilitating suppliers getting together. So, there’s lot of help we can provide and we are very interested in doing it.

RV PRO: If you would, talk a bit about what kinds of facilities you have in place now to serve dealers, and what your plans are moving forward.

Rogers: We had six distribution centers in place to serve dealers. We added a seventh distribution center, just outside of Detroit, in Brownstown. The square footage on that is 360,000 square feet, and that started operation at the first of the year. That warehouse will service the whole Canadian and upper-Midwest market.

In addition to that, we have a new warehouse coming online in the beginning of the second quarter in Spokane, Wash. That will be 250,000 square feet, and that will replace the distribution center we have in Wilsonville, Ore., which is about 100,000 square feet. So, it’s bigger and it’s farther north, so strategically we can get to more places, certainly in the provinces of Canada. So that is underway and being set up as we speak.

In addition to that, our cross-dock changes are kind of dynamic: We have opened new cross-docks in several areas.

Meanwhile, we did additional incremental space to our Kansas City distribution center that added 60,000 square feet with a building addition. And then in Corona, in Southern California, there was a portion of the warehouse building we didn’t occupy before. The tenant moved out and we were able to grab that, so we added another 30,000 square feet and now occupy the whole building.

Also, I’d note we’ve added 90 cube vans, 27 tractors and 152 drivers to our fleet service.

RV PRO: Based in part on where your new warehouses are located, it seems like the Canadian market is taking on even more importance for your combined company than the previously individual distributors? What’s ahead for the company in serving that market?

Rogers: Actually, Coast had a big presence up there and NTPSTAG had a growing presence up there. Now we have the opportunity to continue that. … So, with the combined entities we now have the volume to support programs we’re known so well for in the U.S., like merchandising store sets, personalized catalog programs, direct mail programs, etc. All of those things now can be supported because of the base that has been set, so it’s a great avenue for them.

RV PRO: You’ve talked about how the combined company will benefit customers in the U.S. and Canada. What do you say to those who express concern about what distributor consolidation means for the aftermarket?

Rogers: I think we were a little slow to try to address that (concern) with our customer base, so they understood who we are and what our intentions were, better. … That wasn’t the real focus for us; we were focused on the nuts and bolts of making sure the integrations went right on the logistics side, and that we were servicing them as best we could. But we lacked in the communication, in telling them who we were and the why.

Their concern, while understandable, shouldn’t be a big focus for them. We are going to be here to service their needs and there continues to be strong competition; dealers still have many options. … To the extent we can put our customers at ease, that’s going to be our focus.

RV PRO: Subsequent to NTP-STAG’s acquisition of Coast, Meyer, Land ‘N’ Sea and now Camping World have all announced plans to enter the RV parts distribution business. Has that surprised you?

Rogers: My view is that, if there’s opportunity, people are going to get into the business. I assume they see an opportunity. So, I’m not surprised by it. ...

I think it speaks to the vitality of the industry. When you look at the growth in unit sales, it’s amazing. When you follow any global company now, they would all love to be doing business in the U.S. And the RV business is primarily a U.S. and a Northern American business, as we see it. ...

Now, we feel like we’re in a good position to be a good answer to the customers’ needs. But again, if we don’t continue to meet dealers’ needs and exceed their expectations, somebody else will. That’s just the way things work.

RV PRO: Speaking of the RV market, are you optimistic about it for 2016, particularly as it relates to your company?

Rogers: I do have high expectations for the overall industry and for NTP-STAG. All of the things that make it attractive are still there. … I think RVIA and RVDA and the combination of the Go RVing campaign does a great job of trying to attract new entrants to the market and increase the overall market. I think people are doing good things to increase the market interest, and I think (lower) gas prices are certainly helpful.

During and after the recession, there’s been a strong demand for retailing parts and providing service. As dealers benefit, we expect to see gains as well.

RV PRO: What details can you share at this point about next year’s show?

Rogers: Anaheim is what we’re planning for next year (Jan. 30-31); we’re very excited about that. That venue, I think, offers something new and fresh.

I would just expect us to build on what we’ve done at this year’s show in New Orleans, which has been great.

 

  • 3/7/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Bradley Worrell and Jesse Sidlauskas

The first show since NTP, Stag-Parkway and Coast Distribution all combined offered one large buying venue for dealers.

NEW ORLEANS – More than 2,500 people turned out for NTP-STAG’s distributor show, dubbed The Expo, to shop from nearly 200 exhibitors.

This year’s show, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, marked the first time that formerly separate distributors NTP, STAG and Coast Distribution were all together under one roof as a combined company. And while show officials didn’t release numbers, the expectation was that it would be the largest RV distributor show ever in terms of dealer turnout and sales.

“We don’t have the numbers in yet, but we’ve definitely exceeded any show we’ve done before, so we’re real pleased,” said Bill Rogers, NTP-STAG vice president and general manager. “I’m sure the numbers will exceed anything we’ve done in the past.”

For their part, vendors remarked positively on the volume of traffic and commerce throughout the two-day show.

“It’s gone very well,” Chase Healy, Furrion director of specialty vehicle sales, said late in the closing day of the two-day event. “We’ve sold a lot of product.”

“Sales-wise, it was huge for us,” said Bob Brammer, president of Stromberg Carlson, who noted the company saw particularly strong orders for its jacks. The NTP-STAG show “exceeded our expectations,” he added.

“It went well; we moved a lot of systems – even better than we expected going in,” said Erik Guldager, national sales manager, mobile products, for Winegard. The supplier launched three major products at the NTP- STAG show and got “an incredibly good response on our new, low-cost Dish Playmaker satellite product. Dealer feedback on that product was wonderful,” he said.

Valterra CEO George Grengs commented favorably on the “excellent dealer attendance,” noting that “it looked to be the largest show on record for the RV aftermarket.” Valterra reported that its best sellers at the show included its Dominator Sewer Kits and its Pure Power and Odorlos Tank Treatments.

Debuting New Ordering Technology

The busy opening afternoon led to a shortage of order forms as dealers stopped by on the opening day to pick up forms as part of a shopping process. Still, by the next day, the buyers’ demand for order forms appeared met, leaving vendors to collect purchases throughout much of the day.

In future years, the need for a paper supply could become a contingency, as NTP-STAG tested an electronic ordering system on 49 iPads at the show. That system operates like many online shopping carts, allowing buyers to search through the NTP-STAG parts catalog for stock keeping units (SKUs) from NTP, Stag and Coast. Totals are given in either Canadian or U.S. dollars, based on preference.

NTP-STAG’s parent company, Keystone Automotive, first tested the idea with a smaller batch of iPads at an automotive show in Canada in July. The distributor used the NTP-STAG show to debut a larger rollout of the technology.

Patrick Stevenson, who oversees information technology for NTP-STAG, said that the idea is to eventually replace the paper shopping and ordering system with a more advanced version of the electronic system being tested.

“The engine is just a search, and it differs from VIA as a value to suppliers,” he said. “It’s a cross- reference search for parts, so you’re not going to look by part type to find (for example) a hitch, but if I know my part type – whether its NTP, Stag, Coast or manufacturer part number – the results start to narrow down.”

As he punched a number into the search bar, a dropdown list populated and began to narrow product options as he reached the end of the SKU, before finally offering options of products.

The electronic system has some advantages over the paper standard, Stevenson said. Most notably, a full electronic rollout – which the company hopes to achieve in the coming years – would minimize the amount of paper used at the shows.

“The amount of paper that is used at a combined event like this is monumental,” Stevenson said. “We brought more paper to this show than we did all four automotive big shows in the spring, and the demand has been overwhelming.”

Still, it is unlikely that the paper system will ever become entirely obsolete, according to Stevenson, who noted that it will likely play a role as a backup to the electronic system in the future.

“You always want to have a Plan B because you’re subject to connectivity challenges,” he said. “So we’ll always have a Plan B in the form of paper, but the goal is to go into the electronic era full steam ahead, and then maybe in conjunction with some combination of devices at booths and/or devices within the customer’s hands.”

Terry Trailer Auction Garners Money for Hall of Fame

At the close of the show on Jan. 20, NTP-STAG officials named the winner of a silent auction for a fully restored 1978 Terry travel trailer, with all proceeds being donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

Urs Buechin, owner of Heidi’s RV Superstore in Hawkestone, Ontario, won the auction, with a winning bid of $20,300.

“NTP-STAG believes in the RV Hall of Fame mission, and we are happy to offer up the Project Terry Trailer as a fundraising tool to help the Hall of Fame continue its good work,” John Spaulding, NTP-STAG marketing director, RV said. “All the proceeds of the silent auction, plus a $5,000 contribution by NTP-STAG will go the the RV Hall of Fame.”

The trailer was restored with new brakes, bearings, hubs, tires and wheels, as well as siding, an awning, a new roof, vents and graphics. On the interior, new lights, toilet, sinks, tanks, furnace, air conditioning, refrigerator, range, water heater, furniture, counters, floors and woodwork were installed.

Project Terry sponsors include Carefree of Colorado, Coleman-Mach, Dicor, Husky Towing Products, JR Products, Norcold, Powerhouse Products, Suburban, Thetford, Valterra, Ventline by Dexter and Winegard.

 

Recent Articles

Tim Montana Live in Concert at the Glass Cactus

Gaylord Texan and Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

Join us and WEATHER GUARD to welcome Tim Montana for a LIVE concert before the BIG Show in Dallas, Texas on February 23rd at 8:00 p.m.. Protected by WEATHER GUARD.

* You must show your convention badge for entry.
* Must be 21 to attend.

 

ABOUT TIM MONTANA

It’s easy to see why Montana’s music connects with so many people far and wide. Dubbed as one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need to Know,” his musical influencers range from Merle Haggard to Guns N’ Roses. Montana’s passion for music has not gone unnoticed by his fellow musicians. “Tim is the real deal. He’s a little bit country with lots of hard rocks — or maybe he’s a rocker in touch with some serious country roots,” says ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. 

Tim grew up in Butte, MT in a household that did not support his musical career. He quickly learned if he wanted to make a reality of out his passion to sing and play guitar, he had to escape Big Sky Country. He packed his bags and made his way to the heart of country music, Nashville, TN. 

Soon after living in Nashville, a rodeo performance caught the attention of David Letterman. David was so impressed by Tim’s music, he personally invited Tim to perform on The Late Show with David Letterman. 

Montana continued to write and record which earned him a worldwide publishing deal with the Spirit Music Group. This led to an introduction with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. The two of them collaborated on multiple different tracks including, “This Beard Came Here to Party” which was the anthem for the Nashville Predator’s 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tim followed up with writing on Kid Rock’s current single, “Tennessee Mountain Top” and “Greatest Show On Earth” as well as Mac McAnally’s current hit, “Amarula Sun.” 

In September 2017, Tim released his single, “Hillbilly Rich.” Rolling Stone called the song an, “an ode to fantasies about telling off your boss, making it rain, and having everything all at once.” Shortly after the song was released, Tim performed the single live on Fox & Friends.

To learn more about Tim Montana you can click here to visit his website.

The BIG Show to Feature Erik Qualman as Keynote Speaker

Gaylord Texan and Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

KEYSTONE AUTOMOTIVE OPERATIONS, Exeter, PA.  -  Keystone Automotive Operations is pleased to announce the addition of Erik Qualman as keynote speaker to the 2018 BIG Show lineup, Friday, February 23rd at 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM prior to show opening at 6:00 PM. “Our BIG show is bigger than ever this year and we wanted to add a Keynote Address as a new component to our program,” commented Fred Petrivelli, VP Sales for Keystone Automotive Operation. “We are always looking for ways to help our customers and believe that delivering thought provoking content and solutions that can expand the way they think about their business is important.”   He adds, “We are very grateful of Warn’s sponsorship of Erik Qualman and helping us provide an educational and entertaining jumpstart to our event,”

 

#1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in 49 countries and reached 25 million people this decade. His Socialnomics work has been on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling.

What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube helped Qualman be listed by Forbes and Fortune as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. His business books are used in over 200 universities and he has received an honorary doctorate for his groundbreaking work.

His book How to Sell on LinkedIn is becoming mandatory reading for sales teams. Qualman was formerly a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT’s edX labs. “The digital age has brought an unprecedented focus on branding, especially social reputation. We feel Erik’s remarks will strike a chord with our customers as they look for new ways to connect with their consumers,” says Petrivelli.

For more information, attendees and suppliers should visit www.keystonebigshow.com or contact their Keystone representative.





Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of aftermarket automotive 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 offering to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

Holley and Keystone Automotive Operations team up to bring Bullitt Mustang to the BIG Show

Exeter, PA (February 2, 2018) The iconic 1968 Mustang fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt (1968) will be on display during the Keystone BIG Show February 23-24, 2018 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. The Bullitt Mustang came out of hiding after 40 years of being one of the best kept secrets in automotive folklore.  It’s unveiling occurred at the North American International Auto Show this January in the Ford booth during the company’s announcement of a special edition 2019 Bullitt Mustang celebrating the 50th anniversary of the movie.

Sean Kiernan, the car’s owner, had this to say, “I’m really looking forward to showing Bullitt at the BIG Show. Being a Keystone cousin – I’m an LKQ employee – it’s fantastic that the timing of the event and the attention the car is getting are so well aligned. I think it will be awesome for our customers while creating a real buzz in Holley’s booth.”

Sean has said that his family kept the car a secret over the years with plans to eventually restore it as a father-son project. It was used as a daily driver after the Bob Kiernan (Sean’s father) purchased it in 1974 from an ad that ran in Road & Track Magazine. Auction estimates place the value of the vehicle between $4-5 million – comparable to other iconic cars like the Batmobile and James Bond’s original Aston Martin.

Two 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the award-winning film. One was sold to a private buyer and the other one, due to its condition after being thrashed around the streets of San Francisco, was destined for the salvage yard. “This original Bullitt Mustang is one of the most iconic vehicles of all time,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association. “It’s one of the most important artifacts of the 21st century in terms of automotive history. It is a national cultural treasure.” (as quoted in USA Today).Bullitt Mustang

 “We are really excited to be bringing Bullitt to the BIG Show and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Holley. To give our customers the chance to see this very rare piece of American automobile heritage in person is thrilling,” said Bill Rogers, VP and General Manager for Keystone. “For most of our guests this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and definitely worth the trip to Texas to see.”

The work of the Historic Vehicle Association with support from partners such as Ford Motor Company, Hagerty, Shell, Pennzoil, LKQ Corporation, American Fuel and Petrochemical manufacturers, and The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage have resulted in Bullitt being the 21st vehicle listed on the National Historic Vehicle Register.

To learn more about the Mustang Bullitt visit www.historicvehicle.org. Details about the BIG Show can be found at www.keystonebigshow.com.

 For additional information and videos click here: https://www.historicvehicle.org/documentary-films/

BIG Show Sponsored by WEATHER GUARD®

February 24, 2018 Gaylord Texan and Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

KEYSTONE AUTOMOTIVE OPERATIONS, Exeter, PA.

Keystone Automotive Operations is excited to announce the return of BIG Show sponsor, WEATHER GUARD® for the eighth consecutive year. “We’re ecstatic to return as the 2018 BIG Show title sponsor. It’s one of the most effective ways we have found to connect one-on-one with our customers” says Lenny Colasuonno, Senior Vice President of Sales. “We utilize the time at BIG Show to showcase new products, hear what is working, and learn how we can improve the products and services we provide to help our customers be even more successful selling WEATHER GUARD® products. The fact we get to do it while having a little fun is a bonus” he adds.

A highlight of the WEATHER GUARD® sponsorship will be a concert following the show opening on Friday February 23rd.  BIG Show guests are invited to kick up their heels with Tim Montana from 8:30 pm – 10 pm at the Glass Cactus. This up and coming band has been dubbed as one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need to Know.”

The BIG show opens Friday, February 23, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm with a reception on the show floor followed by the WEATHER GUARD® concert. On Saturday, February 24 the exhibit hall will be open from 9 am to 6 pm and will feature more than 200 exhibitors with new products on display and the best deals of the year. The show concludes with a closing reception from 6 to 8 pm on Saturday at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Convention Center on in Grapevine, Texas.

Previously, Keystone held two (2) events annually, BIG Show East and BIG Show West. “This year, we’re combining our two events to create a BIGger, Better experience all under one roof. Our new one-show format will draw on the best elements of each event and be a destination for customers from all over the US and Canada to learn about new products while having the chance to capitalize on some of the best buying opportunities they will find anywhere,” remarked Fred Petrivelli, Keystone VP of Sales.  

For more information, attendees and suppliers should visit www.keystonebigshow.com or contact their Keystone representative.

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of aftermarket automotive 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 offering to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

WEATHER GUARD® is an industry leader in truck and van equipment, including truck boxes, drawer units, shelving, cabinets, and racks for trucks, vans and utility vehicles. WEATHER GUARD® organizes trucks and vans for greater productivity and provides tools and valuables superior protection against break-ins and weather.

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