Take Stock of Your Inventory

The last few years, your dealership benefitted from a favorable market with boats selling effortlessly for healthy profit margins – that is, when you could get your hands on them. But the tides have started to shift. If your dealership is like the rest, you have excess 2023 model year inventory on hand, and new 2024s soon to be on the truck to your facility.

With rising interest rates, persistent inflation, and consumer hesitancy to invest in new boats, it’s crucial for you to adapt your business to the softening market now while planning smart for the future. It starts with conducting a mid-season inventory audit. You want a clear understanding of the age of your inventory and how fast it is turning. You need to know what’s selling and what’s not, not only in your dealership, but also in your region.

That will arm you and your team to make educated boat buying decisions and selling decisions. The goal? To find balance between safeguarding your dealership and optimizing its performance to outperform the market. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into strategies that will help you thrive in this evolving marine business environment.

MRAA Ask the Expert Webinar: The Dynamics of Evolving Inventory Conditions

Your dealership needs to review its current inventory levels, learn about the “new normal” and forecasting and budgeting challenges you will face over the next 6-12 months. Sign up to gain a better understanding of how inventory surpluses impact your business and learn tactics for using “forward thinking” to better match demand. This MRAA webinar features Chad Lyon, Managing Director – Marine & RV Wells Fargo Distribution Finance.


Time to Buckle Down

If you’re looking for new strategies to succeed, you’ll find them during this dealer-meeting season.

You can be forgiven if you entered the last dealer-meeting season expecting good fortunes to continue for the foreseeable future. You also can be forgiven if, as we enter this dealer-meeting season, you’re surprised to find yourself in a softer market than you expected, with a little too much inventory on your floor-plan and, as one dealer recently told me, conditions getting worse by the day.

It’s now time to realign your expectations.

Head shot of MRAA President Matt Gruhn in a blue collared shirt in front of wood backdrop
Headshot image of MRAA Data Specialist Drew Mick in a collared blue shirt at Top Golf

June Industry Insights with Drew Mick

From marine retailer sentiment to inventory levels in both new and pre-owned boats to authentic dealership survey feedback, the MRAA Pulse Report identifies today’s trends to improve your decision making. MRAA Research Specialist Drew Mick gives you a sample of this valuable resource in his Industry Insights video series.

Survey: Inventory Strategies

Learn from other dealers and use the same tactics they are using to manage their inventory levels.

4 Tips to Help Your Dealership Manage Inventory

In order to manage your inventory with more success, you have to leverage your data to make informed decisions.

But we know it’s not easy, especially with a surplus of inventory on hand. That’s why it’s important to adopt a customer-centric approach to understand how many non-current units to retain in your fleet and which new boats to push harder. We recently got some tips from industry expert and Dealer Week 2023 speaker David Parker to help you increase efficiency and profitability by managing your inventory better.

Image of subject matter expert and speaker David Parker of Parker Business Planning in a blue vest and long-sleeve button up at an MRAA Dealer Week event

Beer vs. Boats

Just like in the “Beer Game,” where players struggle to meet growing demand and end up with excessive inventories, your dealership has experienced a rollercoaster of demand during the pandemic. Manufacturers are now wanting you to take more inventory, but a better understanding of the cyclical nature of the industry and improved systemic management could alleviate these recurring challenges.

Read this column from MRAA President Matt Gruhn on the the challenges faced by the recreational marine industry, specifically regarding inventory management and systemic process issues.

Head shot of MRAA President Matt Gruhn in a blue collared shirt in front of wood backdrop
Guest Blog:

Response to Beer vs. Boats Game

This guest MRAA Blog was authored by Parker Stair, Co-Founder of Radian IoT and represents his opinions on dealers and manufacturer inventory management, in response to MRAA President Matt Gruhn’s “Beer vs. Boats” Column.

Matt asks a great question in his article; “What must the marine industry do to change the structure of our game?” From first-hand experience, I believe it starts and ends with improving the timeliness and transparency of retail sales data.  

Training ‘N’ Tactics: ‘Moving Inventory Through Positioning & Promotion’

If you want to train your team but don’t know where to start, MRAA’s Training ‘N’ Tactics (TNT) was created for your dealership. Available exclusively to MRAA Silver and Gold members, TNT is a monthly series that dives into MRAA’s educational videos to select courses that have current relevance to marine dealerships and education.

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!


Dealership Owners–Time for a Mid-Season Checkup

This free, five-page MRAA mini-guide provides you with some direction and topics for doing your own mid-season checkup at your dealership. Writer John Spader and the Spader BusinessManagement Team, explore the topics of Your Budget, Your Inventory, Your Cash Position, Your. Delivery Process and Your Family, and the key questions surrounding each.

“Financing has been a bigger challenge, as well as floorplan interest and possibly soon to be curtailments.”
— Anonymous Dealer

Sample Inventory Management Worksheet

Proper inventory management will help your dealership find greater success. Using the Sample Inventory Management Worksheet from Parker Business Planning you can help reduce uncertainty and become more precise to simplify operations, boost profits and, ultimately, soar to new heights. Get yours now!


From the Lighthouse

As marine dealer and business owner you’re wise to look at both the current and potential economic conditions within the marine industry. But the uncertainty in the market and with consumer purchasing has made it very challenging.

Therefore, to help you improve at inventory management and outperform the slowing inventory turn, be sure to read MRAA Strategic Partner Northpoint Commercial Finance’s latest blog which provides you with four precautions to undertake and two strategies to implement now.

3 Online Courses to Take Stock of Your Inventory

Time to Settle the P&A Inventory Debate

with Eddy Paoletta:

Most dealers find themselves playing in the middle of these two ideologies, which has consequences. It leaves you reaping just 50 percent of the benefits from either while also taking on 50 percent of the headaches from both.

If that sounds like you, you’re doing it wrong. In this course, you’ll learn the right way to approach your parts and accessories business using an open to buy system that is supported through a strategically managed inventory.

You’ll discover how to find and keep products in stock that are not only “hot sellers” but also the next big splash, prevent obsoletion and generate a well-oiled profit center for your dealership.

“ATE: How to Manager Your Inventory:

with Garage Composites:

Check out this Ask the Expert Webinar with Garage Composites to learn about Cash Flow &Dealership Financials. We will discuss how to manage your inventory during the current crisis.

“Selling Boats on Ebay and Craigslist”

with ARI:

Are you missing the boat by not listing your inventory on eBay, Craigslist and other 3rd party channels? Learn just how and why you should be taking advantage of listing your new and used boats and engines on 3rd party listing services. MRAA Members, please enjoy exclusive, free access to this MRAA Training content.