Mobile Electronics Magazine July 2021

Page 13

Sourcing the Sound The shop stocked 100 percent more inventory than usual, with another 100 percent on scheduled backorders. “Finding inventory at the last minute is very time consuming and uses valuable company resources,” he added. “We would rather be way overstocked than waste time searching for product and potentially lose a sale due to not having an item.” Berry said the shortages will probably affect how LIS Audio views stocking in the future, adding that they may prepare for it a little more than they have in the past. “We’re still a boutique shop,” he said. “I don’t think it will have a major effect on how we run our business because we haven’t really slowed down. We’re still moving, but our clients’ wait times are longer and we schedule out farther so we can get the product.”

vehicles to show off product to potential clients. “We still like to get our customers in and out regardless of the profit margin because doing the business will bring more business in the future,” Berry added. The Car Audio Shop doesn’t stock a whole lot, either, according to Green, who added that pre-pandemic he’d already begun to build up a little more inventory than usual. “We’re not a big high-traffic area. We aren’t moving a lot of boxes, so it hasn’t been as much of a fight for us as it has been for others,” he said, noting that most of the shop’s clients are content to put down a deposit and wait. At one point, he said a customer wanted a particular Kenwood radio that the shop’s distributor didn’t have in stock, so the client ordered it on Crutchfield and brought it to Green and his team to do the installation. Jeff Cantrell of Jackson Car Audio in Jackson, Tenn. said his team has made

an extra effort to be aware of what’s in stock when estimating the cost of a job. If there’s something they need that isn’t available, he added, “Trading product with other dealers has helped us a few times throughout this situation.” However, JC Audio started preparing for shortages in mid-2020, so the business hasn’t seen as much of an impact. “There were and still are instances where we’ve had to schedule things out further than we normally would because of an odd part here or there that was not available,” Cantrell said. “The main thing we saw this with was dash kits and JL audio Stealth boxes,” and marine products were especially difficult. “Being prepared early saved us a ton of headaches and time,” Cantrell said, adding that unlike other shops, JC Audio hasn’t been short on head units. “We’ve placed scheduled orders monthly since last fall and have received plenty to get us through, even in a time when business is up over 30 percent year-over-year.”

The Industry is Maintaining its Forward Momentum Smith stocked up on radios early on, he said, adding that the inventory is beginning to dwindle. But he underscored the most important component in dealing with product shortages: “At the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to communication with the customer. People are usually understanding if you’re communicating and giving them options,” he explained. Furthermore, the shortages have actually assisted A.C.T. Audio in closing sales. “If people say, ‘I’m going to have to think about it,’ we tell them, ‘Just so you know, there may not be any radios in stock,’ and people are willing to put down deposits to hold the products,” he said. “We’ve used that to our advantage.” Smith added that he’s working on implementing other business ideas to stay prepared in case of an economic recession. “If the aftermarket automotive accessories dwindle, hopefully the fleet division stays strong,” he said. The Car Audio Shop has also adjusted prices whenever necessary, and keeps in close contact with distributors and manufacturers in order to sell what’s available, according to Green. The business has also been occupied with working on its second location, along with building a Sony