Getting the Goods on Buying Groups
TRAWICK: There are still issues with plasmas this year because of shortages out there, but on the whole, it’s been much better last and this year than in the past. Again, we’re large enough that we provide fairly large volumes to the manufacturers. We place our orders similar to a lot of the nationals, with a six-month forecast and 60 days rolling. That way, the manufacturers know what we need. Every now and then you’ll have hiccups but overall, they’ve done a good job in supplying us.
GLIKES: No—because we need to forecast better. We somehow believe vendors have the goods in their warehouses, but that phenomenon changed about five years ago. Distributors took over that role, and suppliers are just looking to bring it in 12 times a year and empty their warehouses 12 times a year. It’s very difficult for specialists to do business. What we’ve been trying to do is get our members to forecast better, and roll it up collectively, and do business with people who still stock goods and believe it’s the role of the supplier to supply in a timely fashion.
BELLOWS: Supply chains have gotten better than two or three years ago, when they were really bad. There were some systems issues with some of our major competitors. But on the appliance side, there have been improvements. Electronics, though, still continue to be a problem, but we’re partnering with key suppliers, and most of them were certainly aware that availability is a major issue, and we seem to be working a little more closely with them to make sure we get the goods. Dealers are having to learn to step up and buy larger quantities and forecast a little better than they have in past. It’s tough to “just-in-time” on the electronics side.