Northern Wholesale to Focus on Service, Partnership in ’24 – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News

Chad Smith, chief executive officer for Northern Wholesale Supply (NWS), a regional aftermarket parts distributor based in Minneapolis, Minn., shared some positive news from their December show.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the number of dealers who participated in our show, and their willingness to invest for Spring,” Smith told RVBusiness.

Smith shared that in the recent past, due to supply chain disruptions and back orders, many dealers put in larger orders (for six, nine and 12 months) to help get their orders in first for parts and accessories. “Overstock was definitely a headwind in 2023, but ordering this year returned to more normal, responsible levels,” he said.

Recently, Northern has instituted new forecasting- and inventory-management tools that help NWS provide the highest level of service to dealers. “By leveraging historical demand, market trends and advanced forecast modeling, we have been able to modernize our inventory management process” explained Smith.

Smith has been with the company for about three years and described Northern’s emphasis on supporting dealers’ shift to increased RV service and repair. “We are leveraging our experience with service parts to build simple but effective programs that help make sure dealers have the top service items on hand at all times.” Smith continued. “We also have launched a number of merchandizing support programs, featuring the top-selling and must-have items to feature in-store, delivering more turns and profit.”

With new RV sales down year over year, Smith said maintenance items, repair parts and service and accessories all did well at the show held in Redwing, Minn.

Steve Johnson, category manager for RV, shared that he saw several lines do well.

“The new roofing kits offered through Heng’s were a hit, as was the new line of chemicals from Walex. The new OEX hitch from Pullrite generated lots of attention as well. Dealers were also excited to see that Northern is now stocking GE Appliances and Carefree of Colorado awnings and accessories, and were able to talk with representatives of both companies. Our other new suppliers, Weigh Safe (scalable ball mounts and WDs), RViBrake (braking systems) and Wacko Products (air conditioning silencers) were also very well received by our dealer guests.” said Johnson.

Stocking up on some of these newer items is only part of what made the December show a hit. Smith explained that the education tracks provided by vendors in partnership with Northern helped supply information on new products, technical topics, market trends and certifications.

“I think we are going to add more rooms and training sessions for next year, as these were a huge success this year and delivered great value for our dealers” said Smith.

Smith wrapped up his thoughts about what makes Northern a success — and he pointed to people and camaraderie. “No matter what event we are at or what products we are promoting, we are always seeking learning, networking and engagement. We have great events to facilitate engagement between manufacturers, dealers and the NWS team. These include bowling, casino night, meals and, of course, Club Mondo in the evenings. Any time we are gathering for business, there’s no reason we can’t have some fun while we are doing it.“