The letters we receive reveal what's on the minds of the industry and in some cases, they just might change the way business is done.There's nothing we like better than getting letters from our readers. They are a sounding board of sorts, letting us know what readers are thinking about the industry and our coverage of it.
Some of the letters that have crossed our editors' desks lately deserve some comment. Here are four worth noting:
On the topic of Pay on Scan (POS), covered in the March issue, an AutoZone employee wrote that over the many years he's worked for the company he has seen their inventory management capabilities decline significantly. If I read this letter correctly, he reasons that Zone's incentive to implement POS rests not with balance sheet burdens, but rather in the retailer's inability to successfully manage behind-the-counter inventories the very inventories that are essential for a strong wholesale program. That's a very interesting perspective.
Speaking of POS, manufacturers are not the only ones speaking up about the possible ramifications of such a program. The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) now says that POS would bring about a fundamental "shifting of significant business risks of inventory ownership from the distribution side to the manufacturing/vendor segment." They ask, rhetorically, where is the logic in this unbalanced risk?
MAPA goes on to point out that what POS actually does is "expose two opposed philosophies...one which serves the interests of Wall Street and one that serves the interests of the consuming public."
I couldn't agree more. Bowing to Wall Street undermines long-term growth, research and development and customer-focused solutions. Slowly but surely, it chips away at the whole of an organization and its culture with the swiftness of a glacier. What you don't feel today, you are sure to absorb years from now in a much more detrimental way.
On another topic, a long-time industry veteran and store owner shared with us his thoughts on value lines. He is amused by the industry's desire to offer these second lines, which are sold at a lower price, thereby lowering overall sales during a very challenging time in our industry.
All I can say is, "here here!" For years I've debated the worth of value lines. In my opinion, they're a cancer on our industry. Basically, we've lost our ability and desire to sell. Shame on us (now, I know that will generate some letters!)
And finally, they say the pen is mightier than the sword Stan Waits practices what that motto preaches. Stan heads up a jobber-owned WD in Alabama. As readers may know, there has been a focused effort by the industry to draw legislative attention to the Right to Repair Act. Stan used the sample letter found at www.counterman.com and sent it to his representatives in Washington. We certainly encourage that kind of support. Many thanks to Stan for taking the time to alert his representatives on this very important topic. I sincerely hope that more readers will follow Stan's example. Simply go to the Counterman website and click on "Write Your Representative or Senator." By the way, you can also send letters to me or any Counterman staffer from that same website.
Letters are a good thing! And, unfortunately, somewhat of a dying art.
Keep 'em coming!