NTP-STAG News Article

  • 3/9/2016 12:00:00 AM

Bill Rogers stepped into the role of vice president and general manager for NTP-STAG in July 2015, during an especially hectic time for the RV parts distributor. About the same time Rogers took the helm, the company reorganized its top management team, it began its consolidation and reorganization of Coast Distribution’s operations following the acquisition, it continued its integration of Stag-Parkway’s operations after acquiring that distributor in October 2014, and it continued with its intensive planning for The Expo, it’s first combined NTP-STAG distributor show and what is believed to be the largest RV aftermarket show ever.

Some might find juggling those various responsibilities daunting, but then Rogers is no stranger to holding executive leadership positions in supply chain management, with a long track record of working for such companies as General Electric, Textron/ Bell Helicopter and Keystone Automotive, the parent company of NTP-STAG.

“My job is really easy, given I am surrounded by an excellent team of competent, passionate and highly experienced professionals,” he says modestly. “My emphasis is on keeping us focused, removing obstacles and bureaucracy, and on customer satisfaction.”

As the NTP-STAG show was winding down on Jan. 20, Rogers took time out of his busy schedule to talk with RV PRO about the show, the state of the company’s ongoing process of integrating three national RV distributors, the combined company’s expanded services to assist dealers, and its overall plans moving forward.

RV PRO: With the acquisitions of Stag-Parkway and Coast Distribution now behind you, what’s the message you want to get out to the industry, especially for dealers attending this show?

Rogers: I think our overall intent is to take the opportunity to say, ‘We’re not some big (corporation) that has no face. We’re all of the same people you’ve dealt with forever.’ Nothing has changed.

In fact, hopefully we’ve done a good job of integrating and taking the best of everything (from NTP, Stag and Coast) in a well-balanced manner and with a broad section of the people from those organizations and applying it to the task at-hand.

And to be really humble about it, in all honesty. We understand there are options, we really do. And if we don’t do things the right way, shame on us; it’s ours to lose. We have to do the right things and earn the business we have.

RV PRO: Where are you in the integration process today? Are things basically wrapped up, or is there still more to do?

Rogers: No, things aren’t done. Yes, there are things left to do.

I think we’ve integrated seven warehouses out of 17. At this point, we are focused on the execution of The Expo and the show orders and that activity. So, there’s nothing more planned for the next few months at this point. But I guess, overall, I would say that, by the end of 2016, we should be mostly done.

RV PRO: When the integration is complete, what do you envision the company will look like?

Rogers: I think it will end up looking like an expanded version of NTP-STAG. With the resources and the combination of the people, processes and systems, I think we will have more and more customer satisfaction, more customer service options, enhancements to systems, broader offerings, and just continue to work on satisfying customers.

RV PRO: So, NTP-STAG Coast, a Keystone Automotive company, seems like a bit of a mouthful. Any thoughts on a possible company name change moving forward?

Rogers: That’s a great question, and everyone is focused on it. … I think, once we get through the integration, we’ll come up with some name that makes sense for the business going forward.

I think that name will probably be separate from the Keystone or the automotive side, because Keystone on the automotive side has a long history and it makes sense to keep it in place on that side.

It was easy when it was NTP-STAG; it seemed to fit together. We had a nice solution for that. … So, maybe we just retain NTP-STAG, or maybe we just start with something new altogether to keep it fresh.

RV PRO: To what extent do you see the combined company keeping any of the specific elements that were distinct to NTP and Stag and Coast?

Rogers: We have taken a good examination of each of the businesses and gotten input from each of the organizations to say: What do we do well? What do we not do so well? How does it fit into the logistics structure that we’ll press on with?

In terms of things like the shows, the marketing, how we set up, and who we put in place in terms of the inside and outside sales force: All of those things are where most of the opportunities are to get feedback from both our internal folks and from our customers. Whatever elements of the businesses are retained will be the result of that input.

RV PRO: Of course, Coast had its own line of branded products, such as the Husky towing products, the Faulkner furniture and the Powerhouse generators. Has there been a determination yet as to whether the combined company will continue to sell those products?

Rogers: Yes, they will be offered moving forward. There’s no reason not to continue to support those lines. There are customers that are depending upon those lines today.

They are a brand that Coast created. Whether we would have taken that same approach, who knows? But our ownership of those brands is certainly something that we wouldn’t do anything to hurt.

What I will tell you is t

  • 3/7/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Bradley Worrell and Jesse Sidlauskas

The first show since NTP, Stag-Parkway and Coast Distribution all combined offered one large buying venue for dealers.

NEW ORLEANS – More than 2,500 people turned out for NTP-STAG’s distributor show, dubbed The Expo, to shop from nearly 200 exhibitors.

This year’s show, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, marked the first time that formerly separate distributors NTP, STAG and Coast Distribution were all together under one roof as a combined company. And while show officials didn’t release numbers, the expectation was that it would be the largest RV distributor show ever in terms of dealer turnout and sales.

“We don’t have the numbers in yet, but we’ve definitely exceeded any show we’ve done before, so we’re real pleased,” said Bill Rogers, NTP-STAG vice president and general manager. “I’m sure the numbers will exceed anything we’ve done in the past.”

For their part, vendors remarked positively on the volume of traffic and commerce throughout the two-day show.

“It’s gone very well,” Chase Healy, Furrion director of specialty vehicle sales, said late in the closing day of the two-day event. “We’ve sold a lot of product.”

“Sales-wise, it was huge for us,” said Bob Brammer, president of Stromberg Carlson, who noted the company saw particularly strong orders for its jacks. The NTP-STAG show “exceeded our expectations,” he added.

“It went well; we moved a lot of systems – even better than we expected going in,” said Erik Guldager, national sales manager, mobile products, for Winegard. The supplier launched three major products at the NTP- STAG show and got “an incredibly good response on our new, low-cost Dish Playmaker satellite product. Dealer feedback on that product was wonderful,” he said.

Valterra CEO George Grengs commented favorably on the “excellent dealer attendance,” noting that “it looked to be the largest show on record for the RV aftermarket.” Valterra reported that its best sellers at the show included its Dominator Sewer Kits and its Pure Power and Odorlos Tank Treatments.

Debuting New Ordering Technology

The busy opening afternoon led to a shortage of order forms as dealers stopped by on the opening day to pick up forms as part of a shopping process. Still, by the next day, the buyers’ demand for order forms appeared met, leaving vendors to collect purchases throughout much of the day.

In future years, the need for a paper supply could become a contingency, as NTP-STAG tested an electronic ordering system on 49 iPads at the show. That system operates like many online shopping carts, allowing buyers to search through the NTP-STAG parts catalog for stock keeping units (SKUs) from NTP, Stag and Coast. Totals are given in either Canadian or U.S. dollars, based on preference.

NTP-STAG’s parent company, Keystone Automotive, first tested the idea with a smaller batch of iPads at an automotive show in Canada in July. The distributor used the NTP-STAG show to debut a larger rollout of the technology.

Patrick Stevenson, who oversees information technology for NTP-STAG, said that the idea is to eventually replace the paper shopping and ordering system with a more advanced version of the electronic system being tested.

“The engine is just a search, and it differs from VIA as a value to suppliers,” he said. “It’s a cross- reference search for parts, so you’re not going to look by part type to find (for example) a hitch, but if I know my part type – whether its NTP, Stag, Coast or manufacturer part number – the results start to narrow down.”

As he punched a number into the search bar, a dropdown list populated and began to narrow product options as he reached the end of the SKU, before finally offering options of products.

The electronic system has some advantages over the paper standard, Stevenson said. Most notably, a full electronic rollout – which the company hopes to achieve in the coming years – would minimize the amount of paper used at the shows.

“The amount of paper that is used at a combined event like this is monumental,” Stevenson said. “We brought more paper to this show than we did all four automotive big shows in the spring, and the demand has been overwhelming.”

Still, it is unlikely that the paper system will ever become entirely obsolete, according to Stevenson, who noted that it will likely play a role as a backup to the electronic system in the future.

“You always want to have a Plan B because you’re subject to connectivity challenges,” he said. “So we’ll always have a Plan B in the form of paper, but the goal is to go into the electronic era full steam ahead, and then maybe in conjunction with some combination of devices at booths and/or devices within the customer’s hands.”

Terry Trailer Auction Garners Money for Hall of Fame

At the close of the show on Jan. 20, NTP-STAG officials named the winner of a silent auction for a fully restored 1978 Terry travel trailer, with all proceeds being donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

Urs Buechin, owner of Heidi’s RV Superstore in Hawkestone, Ontario, won the auction, with a winning bid of $20,300.

“NTP-STAG believes in the RV Hall of Fame mission, and we are happy to offer up the Project Terry Trailer as a fundraising tool to help the Hall of Fame continue its good work,” John Spaulding, NTP-STAG marketing director, RV said. “All the proceeds of the silent auction, plus a $5,000 contribution by NTP-STAG will go the the RV Hall of Fame.”

The trailer was restored with new brakes, bearings, hubs, tires and wheels, as well as siding, an awning, a new roof, vents and graphics. On the interior, new lights, toilet, sinks, tanks, furnace, air conditioning, refrigerator, range, water heater, furniture, counters, floors and woodwork were installed.

Project Terry sponsors include Carefree of Colorado, Coleman-Mach, Dicor, Husky Towing Products, JR Products, Norcold, Powerhouse Products, Suburban, Thetford, Valterra, Ventline by Dexter and Winegard.

 

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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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