Discover A Better Bottom Line through Radian Inventory Analytics
As managers of the distribution pipeline for a major boat manufacturer, Radian’s founders frequently asked themselves the question, “How many boats are in our dealers inventory today? Definitive numbers… Not how many boats are reported to be in inventory, but exactly how many, by model, by retail location, by territory, around the globe?” Accurate inventory information is crucial to so many management decisions, yet so disruptive and time-consuming to gather. Manufacturers have struggled with this same issue for so long that they have learned to accept “close-enough” numbers. Unfortunately, “close-enough” is still expensive.
At no time was this information more crucial than during the 2008 global financial crisis. The Marine and RV industry were hit so hard, that many dealers found it impossible to hang on. Many manufacturers were faced with the repurchase obligation of millions of dollars in inventory. As managers of the distribution pipeline for MasterCraft Boats, Scott Crutchfield and Parker Stair were challenged with keeping new boats from being auctioned-off by the floor plan providers of the day. Among the many challenges was identifying exactly how many boats were still in each dealer’s inventory. Could MasterCraft afford to buy back this forfeited inventory from the floorplan lenders and still stay in business? Who knew, because reliance on manual reporting was (and continues to be) fraught with inaccurate counts and long delays.
If only each boat had a GPS locator on it like smart phones!
It was with this thought in mind that Scott and Parker approached Brian Boling, then CEO of Procon Inc., with the idea of deploying GPS technology to address the floor planning and inventory management issues experienced in the marine and RV industry. Nothing like this existed at the time; and since Procon had already established itself as an innovator in fleet management, so they seemed like the perfect place to start. Unfortunately, in 2008, the device and data costs were still too high to create the momentum needed for deployment. Just another good idea, ahead of its time.
Fast-forward five years and Brian’s company has grown exponentially to a volume exceeding 1 million units annually, over 8 times higher than the next global competitor. Finally, the economies of scale that come from producing over a million devices, delivers on the promise of a self-powered, low-cost GPS tracking device that can be broadly deployed for inventory management. And with the introduction of cloud-based computing, we saw the opportunity to take simple counting to another level. Now, we can take the movement data reported by assets, and organize it so that it can be used to promote production efficiencies, save costs, and enhance asset security. Clearly, the future of managing high-value assets has arrived, and no one is better positioned than Radian to lead the way.