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What Would You Change About Your Manufacturer? Dealers sounded off to that question in Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2015 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook survey. Many of the responses were related to inventory ordering requirements and deliver y times. A dealer in New York says, “Seems like all manufacturers are tr ying to run ‘lean and mean’ just-in-time inventor y. That’s good on paper, but does not allow for quick opportunities like rain in late summer or snow.” A dealer in Illinois says, “Lead time on ordering trac- tors … they have to be ordered 6-8 months ahead of time. Seems like it always happens that you’ll have a run on a particular model right after you last ordered and you won’t have enough on order. I have learned in the small tractor market you’ve got to have a lot full of tractors to get people to stop in.” Others were concerned about the business requirements from manu- facturers. A dealer in Ohio says, “Manufacturers are requiring more work to be a certified dealer. Some of this is beneficial and some of it is over the top and a waste of time. Some manufacturers are pushing more costs on to dealerships and shrinking margins. We still have a business to run and need to take care of custom- ers. Sometimes manufacturers lose site that at the dealership we answer to the customer first.” A Wisconsin dealer shares this perspective on manufacturer demands: “They threaten us with market share performance when we always do well and they know that market share alone is not grounds for termination. Manufacturers support us a little, but they demand a lot.” Warranty work is another area in which dealers are at odds with manufacturers. A Kansas dealer says, “The flat labor rate for war- ranty repairs has no basis in shop reality. The time is not relative to the actual work that needs to be done. New equipment is different than a unit that is 2 years old. Dirty, gummed up and hard to diagnose equipment is not being timed for the dealer to capture his real costs. Manufacturers do not pay for diagno- ses, they only cover the repair. Retail prices should be used for reimburse- ment of warranty parts. We have to buy the part or stock the part and should not have to reduce the profit when using the part on a manufac- turer’s warranty repair.” A dealer in New York says that manufacturers are saturating the market “…too many models to select from and customers get con- fused. They do not want to make a mistake about their purchase and walk out the door over whelmed. I have had potential purchasers actu- ally purchase a brand with less selection.” Comments from another New York dealer summarize overall dealer sentiments: “Manufacturers need to realize that we can only succeed if we work together. We have to communicate successful and unsuccessful product offer- ings in our market areas and establish credible goals for both sides of the relationship. Dependable supply chains and deliver y targets must be met for a dealership to serve its customer base better and earn respect within the marketplace.” Visit and indicate No. 118 RURAL LIFESTYLE DEALER n WINTER 2015 19