On November 9th, NATM launched its first annual giving campaign – NATM Feeds America – an opportunity for the industry and NATM to join together in giving back to charitable organizations. For 2020, NATM chose to support Feeding America, an organization that works nationwide to provide meals to those in need. With 98.7% of all funding going directly into programming, Feeding America is able to turn each dollar donated into 10 meals.
With more than 54 million Americans expected to face food insecurity this year as a result of the pandemic and wildfires, feeding our neighbors is more important than perhaps it has ever been. As a new wave of COVID-19 continues to debilitate the country and with schools choosing to go remote this winter, it is estimated 18 million children will face food insecurity – many of whom rely on school for meals.
When NATM launched this campaign in early November, the Association set the goal of raising $5,000 from members and promised to match that first $5,000 dollar for dollar. In less than 36 hours, the trailer industry showed up and exceeded that goal. The fundraising bar was then raised to $8,000 and just 10 days after launching the campaign, the industry again exceeded the goal.
We’re asking for your help to raise $11,000 and create 100,000 meals for those in need. NATM will contribute the promised $5,000 creating an additional 50,000 meals.
Help NATM Feed America today!
To thank our members for giving back, the company that collectively contributes the most will be covered in NATM’s marketing of the campaign, both in print and online via various industry publications, and receive a free full-page ad in Tracks. And, for every $100 donated, you get one entry into a drawing for a free full Convention registration – the more you give the more entries you get!
The 2021 membership renewals are hitting inboxes, which is the perfect time for the Association to reflect on how membership dues are critical in supporting the actions, services, and educational programming that NATM provides for its members and the light- and medium-duty trailer industry. NATM is constantly evaluating costs and benefits to ensure your annual membership investment is being met with valuable returns.
In 2020, membership dues allowed NATM to:
NATM’s commitment is to its members and ultimately to trailer safety. Supporting NATM members’ ability to grow and prosper, while also contributing to the safety of the nation’s roadways, is what drives the Association’s work. Your support of this mission and your feedback along the way is vital to NATM’s success. NATM looks forward to continuing this important work in the coming year!
2021 NATM Membership Dues
Your 2021 NATM membership renewal notice was mailed to the attention of your accounts payable department in November. For international members, invoices were emailed.
For 2021, Membership Dues are remaining the same:
You have the option to renew your membership online at www.NATM.com. Log into the Members Only section to view and pay the invoice. Should you decide to pay online, please advise accounts payable to disregard the notice. Your membership login credentials are below.
Pay Membership Dues Online Instantly:
Membership dues must be paid no later than January 31, 2021. If dues are not received by Jan. 31, the member company will be considered delinquent and all membership benefits will be terminated until paid per the NATM Bylaws.
Thank you for your continued support of the Association. Please don’t hesitate to contact Meghan Ryan, NATM Assistant Director, at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com if you have any questions or concerns.
An excerpt from “You’re the Problem (and the Solution)” by Bob Clements and Sara Hey
Have you ever had a small rock in your shoe? I enjoy running and have spent much of my adult life running as a form of exercise and stress relief. It’s a lot easier to run out your aggression than to punch someone in the face and go to jail, but again, I digress. I get that, to many people, this makes me weird, but I’m okay with it.
There have been times I have put on my running shoes and immediately noticed a small rock inside. Did I put the rock there on purpose? No. But that doesn’t change the fact that the rock is still there. Regardless of how the rock found its way into my shoe, all I could think about at that moment, is that silly little rock. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like or how hard my run is, this one tiny, annoying, little rock, that I did not put in my shoe, takes all of my attention.
So, what’s the solution? I have to stop what I’m doing, take off my shoe, and remove the rock. Does it take time to stop, take off my shoe, and get the rock out? Yes. Is it an inconvenience? Yes.
However, within a moment, something interesting happens. The time, pain, and inconvenience caused by the rock are quickly a distant memory, and I’m experiencing utter relief and able to move forward with my run.
Successful dealers understand that often the changes they need to make don’t require a complete overhaul of their dealership or even a department. Most of the time the changes that need to be made are little things that have a big impact. You don’t always understand how significant the impact is or how much something was weighing on you until you remove the issue. The moment you make the change, things start to become easier, and the issue, like the rock in your shoe, becomes a distant memory.
A small change in your service department that will alleviate pain may include having your technicians clocking in and out of work orders. Sure, it could be an inconvenience to implement this but, after you do, the ability to understand where time is going and what you can do to change the profitability of the department will change the department as a whole.
A small change in your parts department might be the decision to burn down inventory about three months before your slow season, giving you the cash you need to survive a slower time of the year. It’s not often that your employees will take parts, as payment, in place of a paycheck when business slows down, and the extra cash can make a big difference to you. Yes, you and your employees will have to learn a new skill, and it will take time; however, the small amount of pain and inconvenience you experience will be paid back with increased cash flow during a historically slow time.
In whole goods, this small change could be having your salespeople track their follow-up on quotes or bids and the results they were having. As we work with dealerships, we require salespeople to make a minimum of five follow-ups on any quote or bid they have given. Why? Because studies have said that most salespeople make only one follow-up call yet on average it takes five for the average quote or bid to be accepted. Yes, it’s a change from how you have done things in the past, but the effects of the change will create more consistent cash flow into your dealership throughout the year.
No one puts a rock in their shoe on purpose. My guess is that you and your team are already doing a lot of things right or you wouldn’t still be in business. What will separate you from where you are and where you want to be is identifying where the rock slipped in and what you can do to get the rock out. Before you know it, the rock will be a distant memory for you and your team.
Dealers should educate their customers on the importance of understanding a trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and tow vehicle towing capacity. All too often, customers are not familiar with what trailer GVWR or cargo capacity means. Nor are they familiar with what this will require from their tow vehicle in terms of its towing capacity. This lack of information can lead to dissatisfaction if customers fail to complete necessary research before the purchase of the trailer, or if the trailer dealer personnel fails to ask the correct questions to ensure their customer is selecting a trailer that meets their needs and legal requirements.
First, the tow vehicle must be analyzed. What is the model of the customer’s pickup truck, SUV, minivan, or car? All vehicles capable of towing have owner’s manuals with maximum rated towing capacities. What often gets overlooked is "maximum" in this context, which truly means maximum. For example, if a customer has a tow vehicle with a towing maximum capacity of 7,000 lbs., they may not want a 7,000 lbs. GVWR trailer. The customer needs to take into serious consideration the fact that they will be at maximum capacity. Even without accidentally overloading the trailer, the tow vehicle will be working at its maximum capacity and not handle as well. As a result, they could find that their tow vehicle does not have enough power to merge with traffic on interstate on-ramps, to pass other vehicles, or to climb long hills and mountains. Trailer customers end up dissatisfied if they have purchased too much trailer for their tow vehicle. Unfortunately, simply purchasing a larger tow vehicle with a larger towing capacity is not an affordable solution to this problem and preventative measures by the dealer are the best route to customer satisfaction.
Dealers should ask the customer what their intended tow vehicle will be and if they are committed to that tow vehicle for the next few months, the next few years, or just the next few minutes. The customer could be vehicle shopping at the same time they are trailer shopping or may be willing to upgrade in the near future. From there, the trailer dealer can assist the customer in choosing a trailer that their current tow vehicle can handle. Or, in the event that the customer is in the market for a new tow vehicle, dealers can advise customers to purchase a certain category of tow vehicle that meets or exceeds a certain towing capacity threshold. It is a crucial conversation to have at the point of sale as many customers think their tow vehicle will perform adequately towing a certain model of trailer, only to find out too late that they should have either purchased a smaller trailer or upgraded their tow vehicle to handle the larger trailer model.
After the tow vehicle conversation, the topic can turn more specifically to the trailer. Dealers should make sure customers understand that the combination of the shipping weight of the trailer plus the trailer's cargo capacity should never exceed the trailer’s GVWR listed on its VIN. The shipping weight information can be found on the manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO), while the cargo capacity is often listed on the trailer’s tire placard.
For example, if a trailer’s GVWR is 7,000 lbs., the customer's tow vehicle should have a towing capacity that is 7,000 lbs. or preferably more. It is also crucial that the customer not overload the trailer. If the trailer itself weighs 2,700 lbs., the customer should never put more than 4,300 lbs. of cargo in it, because 2,700 lbs. plus 4,300 lbs. equals 7,000 lbs. GVWR, which the trailer should never exceed.
Another critical dealer/customer conversation is what cargo the customer intends to tow. If the customer plans to haul a rock crawler SUV and camping gear that adds up to 5,500 lbs. in the example above, they cannot safely do that with the same trailer. The calculation for this example is the combination of the trailer weight of 2,700 lbs. plus the cargo of 5,500 lbs., which equals 8,200 lbs. This means the trailers’ GVWR would need to be 8,200. But, because the GVWR of this trailer is 7,000 lbs., this customer has overloaded their trailer by 1,200 lbs.
If the customer tells the dealer in this example that they intend to haul an estimated 5,500 lbs. of cargo, the dealer needs to explain to the customer that they should purchase a larger trailer with a higher cargo capacity. If the customer says their tow vehicle cannot haul a larger trailer, then the trailer dealer needs to explain to the customer they need both a larger tow vehicle with a higher towing capacity and a larger trailer with a higher cargo capacity. If this is not possible, the customer needs to find a way to haul significantly less cargo. The customer might be disappointed upon learning this, but later they will be appreciative of the dealer’s honesty, which leads to long term customer loyalty. The NATM Guidelines contain a section on trailer GVWRs.
For more information, contact NATM’s Technical Director Terry Jones.
Reports from Washington regarding another round of stimulus have American riding a rollercoaster in recent weeks. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed stimulus talks had been stalled, only to be potentially reinvigorated the next day, and again stalled last week only to be reinvigorated by the end of the week.
House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have been meeting regularly, with reports late last week noting the parties were working quickly toward an agreement. Central discussion has been funding for testing and tracing needed to safely reopen schools and the economy. According to Bloomberg, three remaining sticking points include aid for state and local government, school funding, and liability shields for employers. However, by Monday morning, optimism again waned as Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin continue to reconcile differences.
While just a few weeks ago President Trump announced moving another stimulus package to the backburner, instead forging ahead with the nomination of a new justice to the Supreme Court, the President has since reversed course and pushed for Congress to reach a deal on a stimulus package. On Fox News last week the President noted he wanted a bill “even bigger than the Democrats” though he went on to note that not all Republicans were in agreement with him.
Importantly, according to the Washington Post, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned "more economic stimulus was needed to sustain the recovery. Politico further reported the Chairman Powell said, "too little fiscal support for the economy would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses." Bloomberg reported that Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said the economic recovery had "flattened out and was in "vital need" of economic stimulus.
Meanwhile, the stock market seems to be riding the same ups and downs as optimism for another round of stimulus before the election. On Monday morning, CNN reported stocked tumbled alongside hopes for a new stimulus package before the election.
It’s time to begin the process of selecting 2021 NATM Committees. NATM Committees are responsible for guiding the work of the Association to ensure NATM continues to meet member needs and stays on the forefront of industry trends. Committee members are invaluable to the success of the Association.
Sign up before November 18th to help guide NATM in 2021!
With 9 committees across a number of content areas, there is sure to be a committee that matches interests and the amount of time a member can invest. NATM understands there are many demands on member time. Our team of talented staff work to ensure committee member time commitment is as minimal as possible. Still, in order to be an Association by and for its members and best serve the industry, we need the help of industry members just like you.
In 2021 the 9 committees are:
If you are interested in learning more about NATM committees or signing up, click here!
We look forward to working with our members on making 2021 another great year!
By Bob Clements and Sara Hey of Bob Clements International, Inc.
If you had one hour a day that you weren’t interrupted, what could you accomplish? Almost anything, right? I want you to pick something that is important to helping you achieve the vision you have set out for your trailer dealership, and commit one solid hour a day for the next week and work on it.
For example, if you’re wanting to create stability in your dealership, your one hour (or power hour, you can call it whatever you want!) may be focused on forecasting and establishing a budget, by department, for the coming year. If your focus is growth, maybe that hour is spent diving into the marketing plan. Everyone’s “one thing” is different, but your “one thing” that you invest a dedicated one hour each day on will move your dealership toward your vision. Just pick one thing that will allow you to move toward your vision.
I’m asking you to commit one uninterrupted hour a day for one week. However, with that in mind, I want you to make it your best hour. This means when your brain is fresh and you are ready to think and work. Are you a morning person or an afternoon person? If you have an afternoon slump, after lunch, that is not the time for your hour. You will just end up on your phone playing games (speaking from experience). So, if you’re a morning person, make your hour the first hour of the day. If you’re not a morning person, find the time you are most alert and ready to get to work.
At this point, shut your door and tell your people that unless 911 has to be called, they cannot bother you for the next hour. Guess what? Everyone will survive for one hour each day without you. If a problem comes up, they will either figure it out or they will wait, and you will have held an important boundary. Way to go! Now, pick your one thing and get to work.
Are you needing a little more guidance on where to start? Here’s what I want you to do: write the name of each department represented in your dealership and the words “Stability,” Growth,” and “Accountability” under each department.
For each department that didn’t generate a profit last year, I want you to circle the word “Stability.” If what you are doing isn’t making you money, you need to either stop doing it or figure out how to make money doing it.
If you circled “Stability” under any of the departments, this is where you need to begin making changes and where you need to spend your hour. There are several things you can do to begin to create stability, but to get you started we will outline at least one suggestion per department.
Keep in mind, as you read through these suggestions, I don’t expect you to tackle all these today. If you did, you probably wouldn’t do any of them well, which will only leave you frustrated and yelling. Pick one item and use your entire one hour of time a day, every day, until it gets done. Then, and only then, do I want you to move on to the next one. My guess is that you, like many entrepreneurs, have a list of great ideas and projects you have started but never finished because something else that was shiny and exciting caught your eye. If you want to be the solution, you need to pick one item in one department and commit to spending your hour on it, until it’s completed.
Service: When working to achieve stability in the service department, the goal of most dealerships is to measure the right numbers. In order to get the right numbers, you must have the right data. This starts with your technicians clocking in and out of work orders. Yes, there are other numbers you should be looking at, but everything is built on your technicians’ time.
Parts: As you think about parts, start with your margins. Your target margin will vary based upon the equipment you carry, but all the targets should be at or above MSRP unless you have handpicked them as lost leaders so you can draw people in who will then buy more expensive parts. Don’t forget that MSRP is a suggestion and determined by turning a part four times a year. If a part is turning less than four times, the part’s price should be above MSRP.
Sales: Stability in sales begins by measuring the activity of your salespeople. We require every salesperson to make a minimum of twenty touches a day. This could be a phone call, email, or someone walking in your door.
Now, as you look at your paper, identify which department has the potential for growth. For sustained growth to occur, the department needs to be stable first. Yes, you can have growth in a department, but a lack of stability will make it a never-ending nightmare for you. So, which departments are ready for growth? Here are suggestions, by department, that can help you generate growth.
Service: Growth often happens when the people you have are being utilized to their full potential. This can happen if you bring on a service coordinator or roll out a compensation plan based upon efficiency for your technicians.
Parts: Growth in parts occurs by providing training for your parts people, helping them to become parts salespeople, and teaching them skills such as upselling and cross-selling. By implementing upselling and cross-selling, this alone can produce growth up to 35 percent in the parts department!
Sales: The key to growth in whole goods is having a marketing plan that mimics how and when you need increased sales. If you know that 20 percent of whole goods sales happen in April, you need to be spending 20 percent of your marketing budget four to six weeks before you expect to see the sales occur.
The last category is “Accountability.” Look at the departments you’ve listed and ask yourself, “Are there any departments that have achieved stability and growth?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to set accountability goals for the department.
Service: For the service department you might begin by having regular meetings with your team to share numbers and financials. When your entire team is aware of the common goals and what needs to happen in order to achieve them, it creates accountability for both them and you.
Parts: In this area, you may need to develop a plan to burn down your parts inventory at the peak of season. This accountability frees up cash flow during the slow season but also gives you the ability to place orders with your manufacturers in a way that gives you the best possible discounts.
Sales: For many of our dealers, a goal of sales accountability is an intense focus on the little things. This can be as simple as making sure all customer information is inputted into your CRM. This is often one of the things that salespeople can get lazy on, and its effects are wide-reaching.
While each one of your departments may be at a different point of maturity in your dealership, it’s important to keep in mind that you must start with one thing. Your first focus should be to get each department to a place of stability, and from there you can determine a plan for growth and accountability.
A healthy and profitable business is powered by healthy and profitable departments. Taking a one-hour challenge every day will allow you to move your dealership to a place of you running it instead of it running you.
For more information about improving your trailer dealership, visit www.bobclements.com.
This article is an excerpt from the new book, You’re the Problem (and the Solution), by Bob Clements and Sara Hey of Bob Clements International, Inc. For more information, visit www.bobclements.com
Mark your calendar for Feb. 23-25, 2021 and plan to join NATM at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.! The NATM Convention & Trade Show is the perfect one-stop-shop to meet with suppliers and service providers as they exhibit on the trade show floor. Looking for a new chain supplier? Interested in checking out new light options? Shopping around for new software to make life easier? If so, plan to attend the upcoming convention and meet directly with suppliers familiar with the industry!
Registration to attend the convention is now open, and discounted Early Bird registration rates are available until Dec. 31, 2020.
Login with Company Info Before Registering
To receive the member pricing and save money, make sure to login before registering!
Trailer Manufacturer Registrations
Full registrations for trailer manufacturers, which includes admission to all events (except Top Golf Tee-Off), begins at only $100! Additionally, NATM is offering free full registrations for trailer manufacturers’ spouses. Bring your other half along to enjoy the show and the fun that Nashville has to offer.
NATM trailer manufacturers who have never attended the NATM Convention, or who have not attended in the last five years, are eligible for two complimentary full registrations and two complimentary hotel room nights (while available) as part of the New Member Promotion. Full registrations include access to all events and meals (except Top Golf Tee-Off) outlined in the show calendar. This is an excellent opportunity for trailer manufacturers to receive top-notch education, networking, and develop supplier relationships while in Music City. To take advantage of the New Member Promotion, contact NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com .
Trailer Dealer Registrations
New NATM Trailer Dealer Affiliates are eligible for two complimentary full registrations and two complimentary hotel room nights (while available) as part of the New Dealer Promotion. Full registrations include access to certain events and meals as outlined in the show calendar.
Dealers that are not NATM Affiliates can attend with trade show with full registrations for only $100 by registering before Dec. 31! Additionally, NATM is offering free full registrations for trailer dealer spouses. Bring your other half along to enjoy the show and the fun that Nashville has to offer.
To take advantage of the New Dealer Promotion or to join as an NATM Dealer Affiliate to receive free registrations, contact NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com.
All exhibitors receive two complimentary booth workers per 10’ x 10’ booth. To sign up your complimentary booth workers, please select “Complimentary Booth Worker”. When registering complimentary workers, do not exceed your max complimentary booth workers. To add additional attendees, use the “Early Bird Additional Booth Worker” item!
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Situated in the heart of Nashville, Tenn., the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the host hotel for the 2021 event. The discounted NATM rate for the Gaylord is $230 per night. To reserve your room, click here.
Top Golf: Tee-Off to Convention Event
Don’t forget to register for NATM’s Tee-Off to Convention Top Golf event on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Join NATM Trailer Manufacturers and Suppliers for an evening of food, drinks, and golf at Nashville’s Top Golf. Tickets are $75 per person. This event is not included in the Full Registrations nor TSO Registrations and must be added as a separate item while registering.
Exhibiting at the 2021 Show
Are you a supplier or service provider interested in reaching trailer manufacturers and dealers directly? Exhibit at the 2021 Convention & Trade Show! Booth spaces are still available. Booths are $1,428 per 10’ x 10’ booth and include two complimentary booth worker registrations.
To purchase a booth to exhibit at the upcoming show, email NATM Assistant Director Meghan Ryan for your booking code at Meghan.Ryan@natm.com.
Verifying compliance with federal regulations and industry best practices is no small feat. NATM member trailer manufacturers’ commitment to safety deserves public recognition. While NATM continues to market the value of the compliance decal in a number of different ways, we would love to know: where in the world is your compliant trailer?
NATM is looking to collect photos of trailers with the NATM decal in your everyday life – sitting at a job site, hauling a boat to the lake, at the campground, or wherever it may be! The “Where in the World is Your Compliant Trailer” social media campaign posts will have the manufacturer of the trailer tagged, a photo of the trailer being featured, as well as a direct link to the member’s directory listing on NATM.com.
Photos and a brief description of where the picture was taken can be submitted to email@example.com.
Recognize NATM members that help America work and play safely by submitting a “Where in the World is Your Compliant Trailer” post today!
On July 30, 2020 the Coalition of American Chassis Manufacturers filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on certain chassis and subassemblies thereof from China. The Coalition includes Cheetah Chassis Corporation, Hercules Enterprises, LLC, Pitts Enterprises, Inc., Pratt Industries, Inc., and Stoughton Trailers, LLC. The alleged dumping margin in the filing was 211.49%
The chassis and subassemblies thereof are further defined to include finished and unfinished, assembled or unassembled, coated or uncoated regardless of the number of axles. The subassemblies description includes reference to;
NATM convened its Special Projects Subcommittee to evaluate the case, its scope, and potential impact to the industry. The Association also reached out to contacts in peer groups as well as some petitioners for additional insights.
Importantly, this language would include materials brought in to be further assembled as well as fully assembled products. In discussions with certain members of the coalition, it was clear the intention was to include potential workarounds to the chassis and subassemblies, thus identifying unassembled products as well. Essentially, this includes kits that could be sold as components needing further assembly upon receipt.
On September 11, the International Trade Commission (ITC) made an affirmative preliminary injury determination. Investigations will now be undertaken for the Department of Commerce (DOC) to gather information from respondents and the Chinese government. DOC is to make its preliminary decision by October 23, 2020 of the CVD case and January 6, 2021 on the AD case.
For a complete outline of the case schedule, click here.
NATM member companies may receive requests for information and should respond accordingly. NATM will continue to monitor the situation and the impact on its members, though at this time any direct participation by the Association in the case has not yet been deemed appropriate.