Thoughts On Business - Service Body Stocking Strategy

In the last ten or so years, I have visited a great number of commercial truck departments at dealerships and was very interested in seeing the inventory choices and trying to understand their strategy at commercial upfit stocking. In addition, I have started or been a part of building a number of them. And, last, I have a serious passion for commercial trucks in general.

With all of this, and testing a lot of stocking strategies, every operation has benefited greatly in gross profits and sales by stocking a good selection of service or utility bodies as the stocking leader. Every operation. Every time.

Now many of the dealers that I visited did not have this strategy, but it was obvious to me that they would have benefited if it were part of their strategy. The big difference is that the service body is useful to a much wider spectrum of clients compared to flatbeds, contractor bodies, van bodies and the like. In addition, there are so many standard variations on the service body theme, let alone the customizing that runs to infinity.

Now, I have really studied and tested this thoroughly. My strategy for a typical store would be about 45% service bodies plus or minus 5% with seasonal fluctuations of up to 15% maximum. This has proven time and time again in many different locations to be profitable and maximize sales.

I've seen dealers focus more on flatbeds or van bodies (which is especially true of tilt-cab and medium duty dealers). In some locations, I found so few service bodies on dealers lots that I was amazed and extremely curious. I just see a huge market being missed. Another thing is that with very small numbers of service bodies, there can be no selection of sizes, features, enclosures, etc.

Consider the service body and its vast and varied virtues. Now might be a good time to look at your stocking strategy and see where you are. Maybe it is time to change the mix and develop a new strategy.

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