NTP-STAG News Article

  • 6/27/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Sherman Goldenberg

Exeter, PA.-based Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. (KAO) had previously announced the opening of its sprawling, 360,000-square-foot Brownstown, Mich., warehouse, which has been shipping parts and accessories orders to independent automotive retailers and RV parts and accessories clients since last fall. (To view a slideshow scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com page linked above).

But the company’s new “Great Lakes Warehouse” got a more public initiation on Saturday (June 25) when Keystone, led by several senior executives, welcomed more than 100 customers for a casual meet-and-greet session plus lunch and tours of the facility just south of metropolitan Detroit after which attendees joined the “Keystone Team” for a Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians baseball game.

Also in attendance were a handful of supplier exhibitors, including bed-cover maker Truck Hero Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., and hitch manufacturer Cequent Performance Products Inc., Plymouth, Mich.

KAO’s Brownstown facility, now one of seven key warehouses positioned nationally for a company that bills itself as the world’s largest automotive parts and accessories distributor, is designed to service primary Brownstown Open Housecross-dock fulfillment locations in places like Akron, Ohio, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich., and to speed deliveries throughout the north-central U.S. and parts of Ontario.

“I think the most important thing for us to get across is that we’ve always serviced this region as a company,” explained George Lathouris, director of U.S. automotive sales for KAO, a unit of Chicago-based LKQ Corp. “But we needed this facility and the inventory that’s inside it to do a better job here because of the growth and expansion that we’ve been experiencing as an organization. We just needed more square footage.

“So, instead of adding onto an existing facility, we put our merchandise closer to the customer, so they’re getting great order fill – quickly without a lot of transferring – coming right out of this facility directly to their stores.”

And while a clear majority of Keystone’s business is automotive — as were most of Saturday’s open house guests — KAO spokesmen indicate they’ve made a lot of progress lately in integrating the RV parts and accessories businesses added over the past two to three years with the acquisitions of North America’s three largest two-step RV distributors, including Oregon-based NTP Distribution Inc., Atlanta’s Stag-Parkway Inc. and, last August, The Coast Distribution System Inc., Morgan Hill, Calif.

In fact, Lathouris told RVBUSINESS.com that RV dealer parts and accessories deliveries are now part and parcel of KAO’s daily routine, with many delivery trucks now fitted with large “cannon tubes” for handling RV awnings and moldings. And, he noted, the overall impact has been a positive for a business built on volume deliveries across the country.

“I think it’s been great for the (overall Keystone) organization because it gives us the opportunity to offer varied products and, let’s just say, frequency of delivery because the increased volume in the organization gives us the opportunity to service all of our customers better – more cross-docks, more trucks, more inventory, more people,” said Lathouris, who’s based out of Corona, Calif. “It’s a situation where we can take care of more customers in a more effective fashion.”

Now that the integration of NTP and STAG has been completed, the main order of business on the RV side is to finish off the same process with Coast, a process that, according to John Ruch, vice president of fulfillment and logistics, should be finished in six months to a year.

“We’ve integrated or are in the process of integrating 13 of Coast’s 17 buildings,” said Ruch. “The four that are left are Fort Worth, Texas, Atlanta, Elkhart, Ind., and Visalia, Calif. And we’re going to continue through the rest of the year looking to see where we can provide better customer service by combining deliveries on our trucks and getting products more quickly out to our customers. We’re going to continue to integrate where we can, so there’s really no plan solidified yet on dates or anything. But we’ll just look to continue to provide that better customer service. By having everything consolidated, you have better inventory, better cut times and more consistent deliveries.”

Bottom line, Lathouris and Ruch agreed, RV parts and accessories are now part and parcel of what KAO does on a regular basis at all seven of its main warehouses.

“Our true value proposition is we take many different products, put them on one delivery truck and for one fee we drop off — one item or 20 items – a small part of the truck or the entire truck – for one fee — and the merchandise can come from any one of our seven locations direct to the customer,” said Lathouris. “The fact that it may be large and bulky and we can get it there so efficiently, I think, is some of the magic that we offer to the customer base. I think it’s worth noting.”

 

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NTP-STAG Welcomes Pure Liberty Manufacturing

EXETER, PA – NTP-STAG welcomes Pure Liberty Manufacturing, LLC to its fresh water category. Headquartered in Ottawa Lake, Michigan, Pure Liberty Manufacturing has been supplying top quality stainless steel and ceramic sinks, glass vessel bowls, and faucets to the residential, commercial, and RV industries since its founding in 2005.

Finding success as a supplier, the company expanded into manufacturing its own product lines in the United States, using locally-sourced materials. Pure Liberty built its Michigan facility in 2014 and, within three years, started bulk producing its own American-made stainless steel sinks.

Not only are we striving to create quality jobs locally but, by supporting other US businesses in the process, we can continue to promote manufacturing in the United States,” says Pure Liberty. “We strive to lead by example and push for improvement. Here at Pure Liberty Manufacturing, we continue to remain fluid everyday so we are able to provide a better company, better products, and the best service to our customers.”

In addition to residential and commercial offerings, Pure Liberty supplies quality stainless steel sinks specially designed for the RV market. Its standard line, introduced in 2010, consists of nine models, ranging from 10”-18” diameter round bowls to 25”- and 32”-wide double bay sinks. Each unit has been thoughtfully designed with cost, weight, and configuration in mind. Constructed of durable 22-gauge 304 stainless steel, each unit comes with a sound-dampening spray and rubber padding for the sink’s underside that minimizes noise and helps regulate water temperature. Sinks can be mounted either on top of or underneath the countertop, giving RV owners more design, versatility, and customization. All units are cUPC listed, adhering to high-quality standards of safety and sanitation.

New for Pure Liberty is its quickly-expanding line of handcrafted RV sinks. Employing 20-gauge 304 stainless steel, these units are available as a standard undermount sink in either a single or double bay configuration, with straight or curved apron front designs and similar sound-dampening and temperature-controlling treatments. They follow the same safety and quality standards and are backed by the company’s limited lifetime warranty.

Pure Liberty Manufacturing also offers a variety of sink accessories, including strainers, cutting boards, pop-up drains, sink grids, and drying racks in a variety of materials. Additionally, the company is working to incorporate personalized laser etching into its in-house capabilities, allowing the company to apply logos and names onto any of its sink offerings.

“We pride ourselves, not only on our product, but also our relationships,” says Pure Liberty. “Quality product gets you in the door but commitment to relationships, with employees, customers, vendors and others in the industry, keeps you there.” Partnering with NTP-STAG will maximize Pure Liberty’s consumer awareness within the RV aftermarket, allowing the company to access new business opportunities and customers through a vast network of dealers.

“Pure Liberty is a tremendous fit for our aftermarket portfolio. Focused solely on sinks and as a core supplier to the OEMs, Pure Liberty clearly understands the continuing trend of bringing home-like elements into the RV. Dealers will love the selection that they can now make available to their customers,” says Tom Probst, Category Manager. “Additionally, Pure Liberty has engineered single-piece packaging designed to withstand the rigors of shipping fragile, bulky, stainless steel sinks. Reliable packaging, along with Keystone’s truck delivery model, will give dealers the assurance that what they order will be ready for install,” he adds.

For more than 50 years, NTP-STAG has been serving fellow enthusiasts and professionals across the industry. Today, as a division of Keystone Automotive Operations, the company is highly regarded as the leading distribution company across the recreation vehicle market and is uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

NTP-STAG Welcomes MAX-Tank

EXETER, PA – NTP-STAG welcomes MAX-Tank to its auxiliary water storage category. MAX-Tank is owned and operated by parent company, Mangold Advancements, a product innovation business based in California focused on forward-thinking consumer solutions for the RV, automotive, motorsports, and construction markets. MAX-Tank is its flagship product, which produces high-quality water auxiliary tanks and transfer pump kits that are designed to maximize RV holding capacity, thereby giving enthusiasts the ability to “stay longer and play longer” in remote locations.

Running out of water while traveling or camping is a common concern for RV owners, often limiting them from enjoying the full range of their vehicle’s on-board conveniences. MAX-Tank portable water systems seek to provide a safe and sustainable solution that can withstand the rigors of frequent use and real-world conditions.

The MAX-Tank product line offers two systems, one for fresh water storage and the other for gray water management. The fresh water system is designed to carry 50 gallons of water that can be easily transferred to an RV or accessed for alternate use, such as tent camping or gardening. Constructed of high density, UV-stabilized polyethylene, the tank features a vented, screw-on cap and pre-installed bulkhead and brass inlet plumbing. Operation is simple. By virtue of a custom-designed 12V water transfer pump that inserts into the hitch receiver, a 7-pin connector for power source and 10' and 25' fresh water transfer hoses.

The gray water system includes a 50-gallon tank of the same material, as well as an easy-to-operate vented, screw cap and pre-installed bulkhead and inlet valves. Designed to extract gray water from the RV’s system for easier transport and dumping, it features a standard RV sewer discharge valve with additional plumbing parts for right, left, and straight discharge configuration options. The system also includes a 10’ sewer hose, clear sewer valve cap with garden hose adapter, 10’ and 25’ gray water transfer hoses and the same hitch-mounted transfer pump and power source as the fresh water system.

“Max-Tank has brought to market a superb niche product. Developed themselves as recreational enthusiasts, they have prototyped, field tested, and refined this product through extensive off-grid research. It’s an ingenious solution to a pervasive problem in the off-grid recreational market that is growing tremendously,” says Thomas Probst, Category Manager. “Dealer feedback at Expo was excellent with the common refrain being that consumers will immediately recognize the utility, simplicity, and value of these systems.”

For more than 50 years, NTP-STAG has been serving fellow enthusiasts and professionals across the industry. Today, as a division of Keystone Automotive Operations, the company is highly regarded as the leading distribution company across the recreation vehicle market and is uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

NTP-STAG’s Nashville EXPO One for the Record Books

EXETER, PA – If an event’s success is measured by attendance and sales, NTP-STAG’s 2019 EXPO would be one for the record books. By almost every measure – attendance, exhibit hall size, sales, new product and program reveals, the 2019 EXPO appeared to break all the previous show records. “We had high expectations going into the event,” stated Bill Rogers, President of NTP-STAG. “The results were exactly what we hoped for – strong attendance, busy show floor, solid representation by leading suppliers in our market, and great sales,” he adds.

The 2019 EXPO, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, had over 3,000 preregistered NTP-STAG customers, supplier personnel and staff scheduled to attend.  The two day event had the largest RV University attendance ever and the 150,000 square foot exhibit hall was humming with people and deals until the closing bell.

“Our training and education programs continue to be a strong draw for the EXPO,” says John Spaulding Director of Communications and Events. “It reinforces the fact that there is a desire for people to be better at their jobs and have a deeper understanding of the products, business practices and trends that impact their success. Having over 1,100 people signed up to participate in our education programs this year was incredible.”

During EXPO, there was definitely a focus on new items, product categories and marketing programs that can help dealers grow their businesses. The traditional model store was transformed into an idea center where attendees could see how a variety of categories like, pet supplies, portable lighting, kitchen items, smart technology products and PDI components can be merchandised to improve impulse shopping and overall store sales performance.

Fred Petrivelli, Vice President of Sales says, “Helping customers find new products and showing them how to sell them was a key initiative for us at the show this year. Based on the level of interest we saw in the merchandising area and with the 17 new suppliers we had on the show floor, I would say we delivered on that one.”  When asked if the on-the-floor promotions delivered, too, he said, “Keeping the energy up on the show floor was easy. The power hours were terrific!”

The company reported that their pre-cart order building process was a success this year with more than 64% of the registered dealer accounts having come prepared with some of their buying pre-planned. The pre-cart sales totals were up over 50% from 2018. Ralph Ruzzi, Vice President of NTP-STAG Canada said, “Obviously, coming to the show prepared gives people more time to spend with suppliers on the floor learning about new products and I think that really helped us achieve our overall sales plan at the event.”

“Based on what we experienced in Nashville this week, I’d have to say that things are off to a pretty good start,” says Rogers. “The suppliers were very complimentary. Our customers were appreciative and upbeat, and they really showed a keen interest in a lot of the new things we introduced. From our Marketing Garage digital content solutions and Parts VIA to product and service offers from DISH, Pet Comfort, Blue Ox, Airxcel, Carefree, Valterra and others, I really couldn’t be happier with what I saw this week.  The best part was being able to build on so many great relationships that we have.”

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For more than 50 years, NTP-STAG has been serving fellow enthusiasts and professionals across the industry. Today, as a division of Keystone Automotive Operations, the company is highly regarded as the leading distribution company across the recreation vehicle market and is uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.

NTP-STAG’s Pre-Cart Functionality Makes Preparing for EXPO Easier Than Ever

Exeter, PA – One of the most important things a dealer can do before they attend NTP-STAG’s EXPO, is prepare. “Over the past several years we have integrated technology solutions into our trade show to make it easier for our customers to maximize their time on the show floor with us and take advantage of all the special offers we provide,” states John Spaulding, Director of Events and Communications. “Early preparation and utilization of these new tools can really improve a customer’s experience at the show,” he adds.

The company found that dealers who reviewed their purchase histories, took stock of their inventory and forecasted their demand for certain products before the show typically had more time to visit with suppliers about new lines and learn about new products and services offered by NTP-STAG. “Our Pre-Cart option within VIA allows our customers to get a head-start on building their show orders. The functionality is available now, giving everyone attending EXPO plenty of time to develop a buying plan for when they are with us in Nashville January 22-23,” says Fred Petrivelli, VP Sales NTP-STAG.

NTP-STAG’s pre-cart works just like an e-commerce shopping cart. Customers can add items to the pre-cart by selecting the Add-to-Expo Cart button available on product list and product detail pages within VIA. Pre-cart contents can be modified at any time and show pricing will appear on those items at the opening of the show.

EXPO attendee can also use the Pre-Show Upload tool available in the EXPO site. The Upload tool uses a simple Excel file format that allows customers to build their show buy and upload directly into a pre-cart. This is extremely helpful for customers that use their point of sales software to output usage reports. The information those reports generate can now be easily translated into a shopping cart making it much faster to build an order.

To see a quick tutorial about Pre-Cart go to Expo Precart Tutorial to learn more.

Technology advancements have also influenced how orders are placed at the show. Electronic ordering was introduced at EXPO two years ago, and is fast becoming the most popular way to submit orders. “Dealers are realizing that the time savings, order accuracy and other benefits associated with the technology makes the order writing process easier, faster and more enjoyable,” says Spaulding. “We use a bring-your-own-devise-and-data approach to our web-based solution and found that it is easier for people to use equipment they are familiar with. If it can connect to the internet, it can be used to place orders at the show.”

NTP-STAG EXPO is the industry’s largest warehouse distributor sponsored event. It draws attendees from across North America and features educational programming, exhibits from over 200 suppliers, season-best buying opportunities and a variety of networking functions. The event is being held January 22-23 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. To learn more about the event or pre-cart ordering, customer should contact their sales representative or visit expo.ntpstag.com.

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