Bill Rogers - NTP Distribution

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Bill Rogers - NTP Distribution
Q&A
with NTP-STAG’s
Bill Rogers
The top exec looks
to the future.
Also in t his Issue:
n Recap of Distributor Shows
n Big Growth in Compact Motorhomes
n Cool Competition in the A /C Market
n D ealers Report Good Turnout
at Consumer Shows
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Exhibitors used The Expo to debut a number of new products. Above left, 3X: Chemistry founder Tom Epstein shares details on his company’s
reformulated rust blocker. At right, a rep with Hughes Autoformers provides insights on the company’s new 50-amp product with built-in surge guard.
2016 NTP-STAG Show
Bigger Than Ever
The first show since NTP, Stag-Parkway and Coast Distribution all combined
offered one large buying venue for dealers.
By Bradley Worrell and Jesse Sidlauskas
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 man-
Exhibitors reported good dealer traffic and solid sales at The Expo.
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Above left: Tri-Lynx President Reg Funk provides details on his line of portable power stations for a customer. Above
right: RV Dealers Association staffers discuss training available through the Association with dealers.
ager. “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
Above left: Samlex America saw a strong demand for its solar power products at the show. Above
right: NTP-STAG debuted an iPad-based online ordering system for dealers at the show.
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MARCH 2016 • RV PRO • 43
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During The Expo, NTP-STAG hosted a silent auction
for a restored 1978 Terry travel trailer, with proceeds
benefiting the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Canadian dealer
Urs Buechin of Heidi’s RV Superstore in Hawkstone,
Ontario, won the trailer with a bid of $20,300.
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
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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, ColemanMach, Dicor, Husky Towing Products, JR Products, Norcold, Powerhouse Products, Suburban, Thetford, Valterra, Ventline by Dexter
and Winegard.
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