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March 8, 2010: V-twin distributor returns to outside sales strategy

March 8, 2010
Filed under Features

By Neil Pascale

Editor

CINCINNATI — National V-twin distributor Custom Chrome has made enough strides in its product offerings and its fill rate that the company is once again adding outside sales reps.

That’s a marked change as the company had gone four years without such sales support, Custom Chrome International CEO Holger Mohr said in an interview with Powersports Business.


Mohr discussed Custom Chrome’s short-term goals, an upcoming major company event and its financial standing, a key issue for a company that has seen a number of ownership changes in recent years.

“Our focus this year is making sure that all of our dealers, all of our customers know that Custom Chrome is ready to be a partner with them,” Mohr said.

The company has made progress in its capacity to fill dealer orders on a timely basis. Mohr said the company now has a 95 percent fill rate on its fastest-moving items. “And that’s where we need to be,” he said, noting the company is working on even increasing that percentage with effective product management and purchasing.

In addition to the improved fill rate, Custom Chrome also has made changes to its product lineup. That includes adding vendors — “Rinehart Racing probably being the most exciting addition,” Mohr said — and proprietary products, including bolt-on accessories and twin cam applications.

“As things don’t break overnight, you can’t fix things overnight,” Mohr said. “So we had to go step by step and address certain areas and now it’s the right time to get in front of the dealer.”

Custom Chrome, in fact, has hired 10 outside sales reps and could double that number by the end of the year. “We’re getting great response by people that are working with us again,” Mohr said of the company’s dealer base. “They place an order and they have a great experience and that’s how they’re moving a lot more business back to Mohr notes the company purposefully kept things fairly quiet last year as they made adjustments in inventory and inventory management. The previous two years were anything but quiet as the company went through ownership and significant business changes. The corporation, Global Motorsport Group, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2008 and emerged from that process with a new owner, DAE-IL, a subsidiary of a South Korean-based parts manufacturer. Later in 2008, the corporation shut down its metric distribution side, Motorcycle Stuff, and focused solely on the V-twin market with Custom Chrome.

Does Custom Chrome now have financial stability after those couple of rocky years? Mohr believes so.

“We have a very supportive, patient owner of our company, which we did not have before,” he said. “That, to me personally, was the main cornerstone of being able to be successful. We have that backing.”

In fact, the company is not only adding staff in the new outside sales reps but also bringing back a prior tradition — a dealer show. The distributor was set to host its 40th anniversary show on March 12-14 in San Jose, Calif.

Likewise, Custom Chrome will continue to work on adding high-profile suppliers to its product lineup, similar to what they did with the worldwide distribution of Rinehart Racing’s exhaust systems.

“Oh, that’s very important,” Mohr said of gaining other prominent suppliers. “A big priority is, and always has been, to develop proprietary product but we’re a distributor first, and we want to make sure we have the lines in our catalog that the consumers and obviously the dealers need.”

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