Improved response to dealers behind new distribution method
Kolpin Outdoors, an aftermarket accessory company based in Plymouth, Minn., has decided to change its distribution model in 2016. Prior to this change, several major companies including Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Western Power Sports, Bell, Automatic and MTA distributed Kolpin.
Tom Lutes, president of Kolpin, said the decision to go dealer direct was made to streamline the ordering process and be more communicative with dealers. “Our number one goal of the company is to be the most responsive, consumer-friendly company in the aftermarket business. We thought to truly meet that goal that we needed to control our distribution process from tip to tail and eliminate any intermediary touch points,” he said.
While the change was announced just after the first of the year, Lutes said the official cutover date is June 30. The company wanted to provide a long lead time to help ensure a smooth and planned transition for both the distributors and the dealers. This time also allows for any processing orders to be completed before the cutoff.
Lutes said that in the short term, Kolpin will focus on an overhaul of its entire snowplow line, including the new High Rise System. While in the field promoting new product, the company has already had a chance to hear feedback on its distribution change. “To date the response has been overwhelmingly positive from the dealer base,” he added.
Kolpin has built a loyal dealer base and has worked hard to make a name for itself. “Kolpin is a well-known outdoor lifestyle brand that the consumers want; that’s really what it starts with. Secondly, our reputation and history of exceptional service. Lastly, our new program and promotions allow the dealers to increase their profits in Kolpin — those are the three driving factors.”
Kolpin wants its dealers to know that it has a strong commitment to the powersports dealer channel, and it will continue to aggressively push the brand forward. “We will invest in the necessary areas to achieve a customer excellence level, both for the consumer and dealer level — second to none in the industry,” Lutes said.
Alongside its mission to be customer-friendly and easy to work with, Kolpin has launched an online dealer portal, which will serve as an online ordering system, providing dealers with the ability to place daily stock orders and offer additional information to them, such as inventory availability and collateral materials they can download directly. “It’s a work in progress,” Lutes said. “We’ll launch the initial generation and then continue to get input from the dealers as they engage with it and continue to add the features that they want most.”
While the choice to alter its distribution model was not easy, Lutes said the decision to go dealer direct with its products will promote future growth and dealer support.
“Our decision to go dealer direct had nothing to do with the distributors. We’ve had a long, successful relationship with all of these distributors and have a great deal of respect for what they do,” Lutes said. “Frankly, we’re very thankful for the many years of profitable business we’ve done together. But in the end, if we’re going to be true to our No. 1 goal of meeting the test of true customer excellence, we had to have control over and a direct line of communications with our dealers.”