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Equipment sales: Manufacturers, dealerships see inventory differently

43% of dealers feel their new equipment inventories are too high, only 6% of manufacturers concur.

The Equipment Dealers Association and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers surveyed their members about the state of inventory in July 2017. Here's a look at what they learned:

  • 43% of dealers feel that their new equipment inventory is too high, 43% say it is just right and 14% say it's too low. Those numbers compared to 62% saying the inventories were too high in 2016 and 30% saying it was just right.
  • 36% of dealers indicate that used equipment inventory is just right, 48% say it's too high and 16% say it's too low. In 2016, 30% of dealers thought it was just right, 59% thought it was too high and 11% thought it was too low.
  • 72% of manufacturers feel that new equipment inventories in their dealerships are just right.
  • 76% of manufacturers feel that used equipment inventories in their dealerships are just right. Last year, 43% of manufacturers thought their dealership inventories were just right.
  • 44% of manufacturers feel their inventories are staying about the same as last year.
  • 60% of dealers say their inventories stayed the same as last year.
  • Over the last three months, 45% of dealers indicated a decrease in new equipment inventories and 34% indicated their inventories were stable.
  • Over the last three months, 40% of dealers indicated a decrease in used equipment inventories and 37% indicated their inventories were stable.
  • 53% of manufacturers indicate inventories at their facilities have remained stable over the past three months, with 24% indicating a decrease in inventories. 

Here's what they're saying about the results:

“The discrepancy in the results between dealer and manufacturer participants is not surprising based upon the disparity in dealership group size and the year that we have had,” said Kim Rominger, President and CEO of EDA. “Large agricultural dealers tend to have higher value late model large used equipment without the diversity of the market enjoyed by small agricultural equipment dealers.  Larger agricultural equipment seems to be moving more slowly and is requiring more effort or concessions on price than we are seeing in the small agricultural equipment arena. In addition to these issues, we continue to see the commodities economy struggle and many areas of the country are coping with severe weather issues. In some regions, heavy rainfall has delayed or impeded planting altogether, while other regions are battling a debilitating drought. On the other hand, some regions are projecting record crop years and dealerships which cater to specialty crop growers are largely on-target with their budget forecasts. While dealers are taking the survey with their own “micro” perspective, based upon their region and target customer, manufacturers seem to feel more balanced with respect to inventory, overall.”

“We still see major discrepancies between the sale of large, high horse power tractors and combines versus smaller tractors.  Sales for tractors under 40 HP are up 11% from last year, while sales for 100HP+ tractors are down 15.5%.  Combine sales are down 5.7% from last year. And with no big changes forseeable in commodity prices, no big changes in production agriculture equipment purchases are anticipated either”, said AEM Senior Vice President and Ag Sector Lead Curt Blades.

“Manufacturers, however, are feeling better about their own inventory levels as well as that of their dealers’,” Blades said. “Many of them have focused considerable efforts towards scaling those inventories down – from adjusting production levels to offering discount programs, extending marketing campaigns and increasing the number of retail program offerings.  Some have hired new supply chain professionals to be smarter about safety stock procurement.  Others are working more closely with their customers to get better purchasing forecasts. Some approaches have been more successful than others for different manufacturers, but overall these efforts are beginning to pay off.”

About the groups doing the survey of their membership:

  • The Equipment Dealers Association is a non-profit trade organization that represents about 4,500 retail dealerships across the United States and Canada.
  • The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is the North American based international trade group providing business development resources to the off-road equipment manufacturing industry. It represents more than 950 companies, including 450 in the agricultural sector.

Source: Equipment Dealers Association

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