SEMA News - June 2009
By Julie Hedges
Data You Need to Succeed in This Business Environment
|Data is collected and tracked in aggregate to provide industry averages for such things as customer return rates, inventory turnover, percentage of sales by market or channel and more.
Now more than ever, companies need to be able to react to changing market and business conditions. Tough economic times will continue to bring new challenges to specialty-equipment market businesses, forcing many to make tough decisions that will impact their company’s future operation and growth. The recently launched Aftermarket Industry Benchmarking Program gives SEMA-member companies the industry-specific financial data they need to succeed in this dynamic business environment.
Many companies already use benchmarking internally to measure and track operational goals and financial performance. Benchmarking helps businesses analyze operational and sales performance. It provides a foundation that eliminates guessing or validates a hunch. Benchmarking can save money by identifying areas for possible cost cutting, or it can grow sales by helping to spot new opportunities.
The Aftermarket Industry Benchmarking Program provides the opportunity for specialty-equipment companies to measure their performance against others in the industry. Data is collected and tracked in aggregate to provide industry averages for such things as customer return rates, inventory turnover, percentage of sales by market or channel and more. The program makes it possible for companies to learn if the changes in markets or operational costs that they are seeing is similar to what others in the industry are experiencing. It will help companies be aware of current practices and determine whether they fit within their own business context and situation.
The Aftermarket Industry Benchmarking Program Provides both immediate and long-term feedback. In addition to providing current market information, such as whether companies anticipate sales will be up, down or flat compared to last year, the program also tracks data over time to provide a longitudinal view of market and sales trends.
Data collection for the program began in January and has already received feedback from more than 1,500 companies.
The benchmarking program is customized to collect data specific to the industry’s three major channels of distribution: manufacturers, distributors and jobbers/retailers. Each month, participating companies are sent a questionnaire by e-mail through a secure link. All data is collected, tabulated, tracked and reported in aggregate. Hedges & Company is conducting the program on behalf of SEMA and provides participating companies with a binding non-discloser agreement to protect their privacy. In addition, all responses are kept anonymous, and individual responses are not shared with SEMA.
As an extra incentive, businesses that participate in the program are the first to receive a summary of the results. Each month they receive a copy of the Industry Benchmark Update report, which includes a tabulation of the questionnaire findings and includes sales forecasts and other key information. The following is some of the data available from the Aftermarket Industry Benchmarking Program.
Despite dire economic headlines, 33% of jobbers/retailers, 25% of manufacturers and 38% of distributors projected sales to be up in April, May and June compared to last year. Sales were expected to remain flat for 37% of jobber/retailers, 35% of manufacturers and 26% of distributors. Sales were expected to decrease for 29% of jobbers/retailers, 40% of manufacturers and 36% of distributors.
To join the SEMA Industry Benchmarking Program go to www.hedgescompany.com/benchmarking and click on the Opt-In Aftermarket Industry Benchmarking Program to register.