How to create a sustainable wholesale operation

Wholesale operations can be a lucrative source of profits for dealerships, but they also come with their fair share of challenges. Poor planning and haggling can lead to wholesale transactions costing more than they are worth. To ensure sustainable profitability, dealerships must continuously optimize their wholesale operations. Today, we will explore strategies to make wholesale part sales more sustainable and profitable by identifying ideal wholesale customers, maintaining inventory accuracy, and implementing an efficient ranking system for Inventory Return Forms (IRFs). Looking for more support? Download our free Wholesale Business eBook for a step-by-step guide to wholesale health!

Evaluate Wholesale Profit Margins

The first step in optimizing your wholesale operation is to assess the profit margins from wholesale sales. Wholesale transactions should complement retail sales, not compensate for losses and Parts Managers must analyze profit figures to identify any major shifts needed in pricing to maintain optimal profitability. Understanding the actual financial impact of wholesale transactions can help managers make informed decisions and prioritize sustainable practices. 

Cultivate Green Light Customers

Identifying and retaining exemplary wholesale customers is crucial for a thriving wholesale operation. We find it helpful to think of your wholesale customers in three categories like a stoplight. Greenlight customers are those who consistently pay on time, purchase with good volume, and return very few parts for credit. For these customers, offer the best possible discounts while ensuring profitability. Building strong relationships with green-light customers fosters loyalty and long-term profitability. 

Handle Yellow Light Customers Strategically

Yellow light customers can be inconsistent in their purchases, using the dealership as a secondary source and buying erratically. They might have a higher percentage of returns and be slow to pay their bills. Carefully manage these customers to nurture the relationship towards green light status. Offering moderate discounts to incentivize increased purchases, setting clear payment terms, and providing excellent customer service can help improve their buying behavior. 

Minimize Red Light Customers 

Red light customers often cause more trouble than they’re worth. They are those that are difficult to work with, return parts frequently, pay bills late, and often blame you for issues. Red light customers should not receive discounts and should be given minimal attention. You also may want to consider letting go of such customers to free up resources to focus on more loyal and beneficial relationships. 

Maintain Accurate Inventory

Sustainable wholesale operations require precise inventory management. Dealerships must ensure that their OE depot and daily deliveries are efficiently organized, preventing any disruptions in fulfilling orders. Accurate inventory management reduces the likelihood of backorders, boosts customer satisfaction, and minimizes potential losses.

Implement an Efficient Ranking System for IRFs

To further optimize the wholesale process, consider establishing a ranking system for Inventory Return Forms (IRFs) based on sales versus returns. By identifying which parts have higher return rates, dealerships can make informed decisions on stocking, pricing, and negotiating with customers. A well-implemented ranking system streamlines the wholesale operation, improving overall efficiency and profitability. 

Making wholesale sales more sustainable and profitable requires prioritizing strategic customer relationships and maintaining an accurate inventory. By evaluating profit margins and efficiently managing returns, you can build a thriving wholesale operation that complements your retail sales and maximizes profits in the long run. A commitment to sustainability and optimization will ensure that wholesale transactions are truly worth the work and contribute positively to the dealership’s bottom line. 

PartsEdge is the power tool for parts inventories and can help you transform your wholesale operation. Our expert team is dedicated to helping Parts and Service Managers improve their inventory health through custom setups, phase-in settings, and more. We save managers hundreds of hours each year by streamlining DMS management, sourcing setup, and inventory optimization. Our results speak for themselves with our clients seeing an average 20% reduction in total inventory, 15%+ less idle inventory, a 50% increase in ROI, and a 20% increase in parts sales. If you’re interested in utilizing our parts power tool, contact us today!