Welcome to 2010 and the New Opportunities AheadBy Bennett Closner
Article Date: 01-01-2010
Copyright(C) 2010 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
And welcome to Summit in San Antonio! We’ve got plenty to talk about.
As this issue arrives, you are likely preparing for your trip to San Antonio. I hope you will be able to participate in the "Start Us Up USA Rally" that begins at noon on January 20, adjacent to the Convention Center. It is our fourth rally around the country where AED and AEM are publicly promoting our concepts for economic recovery.
I am personally looking forward to the 2010 AED Summit and the opportunity to discuss the industry's future with fellow dealers and industry partners. Some likely topics among our members this year may be:
1. Have lenders lost confidence in construction lending? Approximately 40 percent of our members are below $25 million in revenue and 60 percent are below $50 million. AED believes these members are particularly affected by the shortfall in wholesale lending capacity. Additionally, members of all sizes are finding difficulty in arranging retail financing for our customers. Credit, whether wholesale or retail, is critical to the health of our industry.
2. What M&A activities are in process and are more predicted? Will these events allow some dealers to partner with a different manufacturer? Product-line overlap will occur more frequently as the industry consolidates, and will require new behaviors from all parties.
3. Will some manufacturers that "sell direct," finally see the light? Many of them experimented with direct sales during the boom times, but using AED dealers will likely prove to be more cost effective going forward.
4. What new uses of technology lie ahead? Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc., seem to be the norm for our "twenty-something" employees. When will our businesses begin to participate in this type of communication with employees and customers?
5. When is the right time to re-invest in people and inventory? Will dealers rebuild their companies to the previous levels of brick and mortar, permanent employees, etc? Will the business model change somewhat, so as to be more flexible in response to future market conditions?
6. Will the Chinese manufacturers find AED members to introduce their products across the U.S. next year?
7. Will "rent to rent" or "rent to sell" become the norm as the economy recovers? In either case, will financing for rental fleets be available at the same levels as before?
In closing, it has been my honor to serve as your elected Chairman for the past 12 months. My sincere thanks to the 2009 AED Officers, Board of Directors and Past Presidents. Their unselfish contribution of time, during a very difficult year at their own dealerships, allowed our association to adapt to the changing conditions we faced.
As you surely know, the strength of AED resides in its members' ideas and actions; and our members provided both this year. There is still much to do and the AED staff is working hard on your behalf every day. Please send your thoughts to Toby Mack, Denny Vander Molen (your incoming 2010 Chairman) or me. You may write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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