AIMExpo Panel: Powersports Industry Pain Points

AIMExpo opened Jan. 19, 2022 in Las Vegas and hit the ground running with its educational lineup. The first session of its DISRUPTIVE THINKING educational platform was the MIC Symposium Panel Discussion, which featured industry experts Tony Gonzalez, CEO of Garage Composites; Pat Kennedy, facilitator and consultant for the Spader Group; and Gart Sutton, owner of Gart Sutton and Associates. Mark Rodgers from Rodgers Performance Consulting moderated the event.

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The panel covered a variety of topics, including what the panelists thought were the single biggest issues in the motorcycle and powersports industry (which happened to be inventory/supply chain problems, hiring and employee retention), how to create an employee experience to bring in more help, service department issues, the characteristics of a successful owner, signs when an owner should sell, digital retailing and more.

Sutton, who saw “people” as the most important issue aside from inventory, asked the audience, “When you find them, are you keeping them? Are you grooming them?” He went on to explain how businesses should have defined paths of growth available to employees.

While Kennedy acknowledged that how a dealer deploys his or her people will make or break a dealership, he also noted that dealers have to keep a pulse on the market. “What are your tentacles like? How are you keeping your feel for the market?” he asked. He spoke of his hope that the old model of manufacturers loading up dealers with product simply for their convenience — which was not beneficial to either party — would die out after the pandemic supply chain crisis.

Gonzalez talked about how, despite vehicles flying out the store for the last 18 months, the same can’t be said for the parts and accessories department. “We didn’t have to do much of anything to get product out the door, [but] part and accessories have gone the opposite way.” He explained how parts and accessories departments need to be run in order to help move that product out.

Stay tuned next week for a more in-depth article on this panel discussion.

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