“I am sick of distributors who just do not have it!” Those were the words of a locksmith who called ASP after several futile attempts to obtain one of our automotive lock parts. We can certainly understand his frustration, and other locksmiths are undoubtedly experiencing the same problems. So...
“I am sick of distributors who just do not have it!” Those were the words of a locksmith who called ASP after several futile attempts to obtain one of our automotive lock parts. We can certainly understand his frustration, and other locksmiths are undoubtedly experiencing the same problems. So we decided to examine the situation and create solutions that would improve the situation for everyone.
When you need service parts to complete an automotive lock job, you need them now. Because of the economic crisis that our country is facing, automotive lock servicing can become increasingly important for every locksmith. Many locksmiths who previously abandoned automotive lock servicing for “more profitable” commercial and industrial work have returned to the automotive field. As many businesses have cut back on spending because of the recession, car owners are spending more to keep their old cars running. That’s good news for those involved in car repairs, including locksmiths.
Don’t blame the distributors. The combined range of ASP, Hurd, and Lockcraft part numbers now consists of over 3,500 active part numbers, many of which are slow sellers. A few distributors who specialize in automotive lock distribution keep most of these part numbers in stock. But it is impractical for the majority of regional distributors to stock 3,500 part numbers. Of course that is not much consolation when you are having problems getting the parts you need to complete a job.
Our first step toward solving this problem was a few years ago when we started our Hi-Speed delivery program. If your distributor does not have the parts you need in stock, they can have them drop shipped directly to you. This program has worked well over the years and will continue to be available through our distributors. However, in too many instances, our delivery is not fast enough without paying the extra cost of overnight shipping.
The importance of improving our regional distribution became increasingly obvious. To solve this problem ASP is working with our distributors to increase levels of stock on hand of the most popular items to better serve you.
The most popular items are identified in the latest ASP catalog. Pages 213-233 of the catalog contain a complete listing of part numbers in alpha-numeric order. Each part number has been assigned a popularity rating. ASP is offering incentives for distributors who agree to keep in stock at least all part numbers rated A, B, and Y. This is slightly over 1,000 different items and will cover over 80 percent of the requirements of most locksmiths. Distributors who make this level of commitment will be promoted as ASP Supermarkets.
ASP’s goal is to eventually have ASP Supermarkets strategically located so that the A, B, and Y rated items are available for next day normal ground delivery to most locksmiths in the continental USA. As this is a very big task for everyone involved, it will take time for the new network to be completed. Also we will not promote any distributor as an ASP Supermarket until the distributor has made the full firm commitment.
Of course any item not in stock at your distributor will continue to be available for fast drop shipment from the ASP warehouse. Also less popular items which are not normal stock items for even ASP Supermarkets will continue to be available for fast drop shipment, subject to stock on hand.
Not all distributors are suited to be ASP Supermarkets. There will continue to be authorized ASP distributors who choose to stock a smaller range of parts and can continue to supply your needs from their more limited stock or on special order basis as required. Automotive lock service parts can be one of the most difficult product ranges in the locksmith supply distributor’s business. Few distributors can be everything to everybody in today’s market, and successful locksmiths must develop relationships with several distributors.
When you need a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk on your way home from work, you can stop at a corner convenience store. But it is not practical for you to try to do all of your grocery shopping at a convenience store. You need a supermarket that has more of what you need. In a similar way, an ASP Supermarket is better equipped to supply more of what you need for your daily automotive lock parts requirements.
As of the day this article is being written, some distributors have already expanded their stock and some are preparing their warehouse to receive the additional part numbers. A complete list of ASP Supermarkets is available on the ASP website www.carlocks.com. Lists of ASP Supermarkets will also be published through various media releases.
The best thing that you can do is to support your local distributor! All successful distributors have made substantial investments in their businesses to serve YOU better. Those distributors who become ASP Supermarkets are making an extra commitment.
Here are some suggestions for locksmiths who want to support these ASP Supermarket distributors.
1. If you do not have a relationship with any of the ASP Supermarket distributors, then start one. In today’s economy, most distributors will welcome the opportunity to develop a new customer, and you may be surprised as to how well you are treated.
2. You do not need to abandon your normal primary distributor. But when you need a pack of tumblers that takes you to an ASP Supermarket, try your best to order a few more things that you happen to need that day to make a worthwhile sized order.
3. Be understanding if your distributor happens to occasionally be out of stock of something that you need. A distributor may have had two pieces of a particular part in stock for the last month, and get orders for three pieces of that part tomorrow. If you happen to be order no. 3, you may be out of luck. We have the same problem at ASP only on a larger scale with much longer delivery time from the manufacturers, so it is possible that your distributor is out of stock because we are out of stock.
4. If your ASP Supermarket distributor is doing a good job for you, tell them . These distributors need to know that the effort they put into this expanded stock program is valued by their customers. If there is something that your distributor can do differently to serve you better, tell them that also in a constructive way. And then if the distributor follows through properly with your suggestion, reward their efforts with your support.
Everyone needs to remember one more important factor. The factories which manufacture the parts sold through the ASP distribution system are part of the automotive industry, which has been hit hard by the current economic recession. This can affect availability of parts, especially slower moving parts for older model cars which may become more difficult for ASP to obtain supplies, with some possibly phased out of production by the factories due to economic necessity. We will continue to offer as much as we can, but there may be product shortages beyond our control.
The ASP catalog is lifeline to the parts that you need. If you do not have a copy, the quickest way to get one is from your distributor. The ASP catalog is also a living document, with the most up to date information posted on our website www.carlocks.com. Our website also has a section to list errors and updates.
When you find the part you need in the catalog, go to pages 213-233 and find the popularity ratings of the respective part number. All products have been assigned the following popularity ratings:
A - Most popular items
B - Second most popular group of lock cylinders
Y - Replacement parts (keying kit refill tumblers, face caps, etc.), popularity equivalent to B rated lock cylinders.
C - Third most popular group of lock cylinders.
Z - Replacement parts (keying kit refill tumblers, face caps, etc.), popularity equivalent to C rated lock cylinders
H - Slow moving items, in stock at very few distributors but available for drop shipment from the ASP warehouse.
S - Special order items only, may not be in stock at the ASP warehouse. Availability may be subject to minimum order requirements and lead time.
DWO - Discontinued when out, but limited stock may be available at some distributors, so it does not hurt to check if you need one of these items. These items are listed in the catalog as reference for those who may still have some in stock.
If you need a part number rated A, B, or Y, it will most likely be in stock at an ASP Supermarket. Some ASP Supermarkets also have a selection of C, H, Z, and other lower rated items, and any such items not in stock can be special ordered for immediate shipment from the ASP main warehouse (subject to availability at the time of ordering).
Through the years the number of different parts required to service the popular models of cars on the road has steadily increased. For example all American Ford vehicles from 1952-69 could be serviced by three different ignition locks. From 1970 to present there are almost 20 different designs of ignition locks used by Ford. Some car manufacturers are now using completely different locks for every model vehicle that they produce.
As the number of different parts in use increases, the quantity of vehicles using each individual part decreases, creating smaller sales volume potential for each part. This creates a difficult situation for distribution, with many different low volume items required to serve the entire market. Distributors who have committed to become ASP Supermarkets understand and accept that this is part of the market. Your support of these distributors is important to making it worthwhile for these distributors to continue to fill this important place in the locksmith supply market.