2011-2012 changeNot many people want to start a new project during the holidays, unless it’s one that doesn’t require as much time as an entire kitchen remodel.  So, the end of the year for cabinet dealers, contractors and remodlers tends to become a time for finishing tasks (current projects, finances, payouts, etc.).   With the approach of the New Year, this should also be a time for reflection and new beginnings.  Take the project down-time as a chance to do some “out with the old, in with the new” tune-ups as you look over last year’s product offerings and next year’s upcoming needs.  It’s a great time to evaluate your product lines.

Do they still fulfill their initial purpose?

Are your product lines, especially your “marquee” brand, still cost effective for your dealership?  Often, cabinet dealers choose a line because it is broad (lots of SKU’s) and well-priced.  After 3-4 years of price increases, the line may no longer be as competitive as it once was.  Or, perhaps the manufacturer has changed their direction in order to increase their business, but they are now no longer appropriate for what you initially brought them in for – builder business, for example.  Decide whether or not they still fulfill their initial purpose.

How did they perform in other areas?

Are your suppliers easy to do business with?  Do they have a knowledgeable rep that helps you grow your business and ensures that your staff is well-trained on their product?  Are their lead times consistent and as good as or better than advertised?  Is the product line popular with your target market and is the quality of the product and finish a good match with the cost?  Finally, do they stand behind their products and deliver exceptional customer service?  Really take this time in the last few months of the year to decide what worked and what may need to be replaced.

What will you need for to the New Year.

  The first of the year is a great time to make sure you have the right number of product lines, keeping in mind that too many is often a bigger problem than not enough.  You need to ensure that each line appropriately targets a portion of the customer types that you service with minimal overlap and that the pricing is competitive in your market.  And, of course, you have to remain convinced that the manufacturer still treats their dealers as valued trade partners, not businesses lucky to have the opportunity to sell their line.  Do your current lines still stand tall in those areas?  If not, you may want to think about finding something new for 2012.

If you’re thinking about adding a new supplier, be sure to contact other dealers to get their first-hand opinion.  This is your business and you do get to decide whom you want to do business with.  Your products are the lifeblood of your business, so take some time now to prepare for a successful new year by evaluating everything you sell.

To read more about the different cabinet classifications, access your free Cabinet Manufacturer Classifications Guide below.