Plant City, Fla.-based Cody Talbert Distribution LLC has expanded as an independent supplier of parts and accessories to RV dealers, service centers and towing outlets across the southeastern U.S. Officials noted that the new expansion and reformation of the company was spurred by the sale of a key customer, Camping Connection, to Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) in November of 2016.
According to former NTP-STAG executive Mark Jenson, who took over the helm of the company as president in January of 2017, Cody Talbert Distribution has emerged with an eye on continued growth.
“Cody Talbert had already branched out to direct sales to dealers in the southeast region,” said Jenson. “At the beginning of last year we launched a three-phase initiative to expand the company further.”
He explained that the first phase was to institute technology solutions by incorporating a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system software that was purchased in January of 2017. The company then migrated its information systems and updated its processes internally to launch the new system by March 1.
“We then launched our new commerce website in March, and once we got those technologies and processes in place, our focus was on improving the transactional profitability, operational and gross margins,” said Jenson. “We were able to accomplish this by the end of August and launched into our third phase in September, which was to grow our revenue.”
Jenson said the company worked on its product offerings while “getting pricing just right” to compete in the competitive southeast. “But the most significant thing we have done is to launch heavily into the recurring service/parts side of the business in December of last year,” said Jenson. “We made some substantial increases in inventory as well as bringing on additional suppliers to make a significant move into that category of products.”
Jenson believes that supporting RV dealers, aftermarket outlets, campgrounds and towing products is essentially a service-based effort. “I learned during my time at NTP that as long as you are looking out for the benefit of your customers and continually doing everything you can to service their needs, you will be successful,” he said. “In my conversations with dealers and other entities in the marketplace, they thought this service element was missing.
“I was fortunate enough to have the mindset to improve service to the RV customer already in place culturally with a great team here at Cody Talbert,” he added. “Really all I had to do was to take what was already in the heart of the company and help that to grow.”
According to Jenson, at the core of the 12-employee team is Kenny Blackmon, vice president of operations for the firm. “Kenny has a great deal of experience,” he said. “He is a certified master technician with RVIA. He has run a service center, and he even used to travel to dealers in the Southeast when he worked for Newmar with the role of helping them improve the warranty and service side of their operations.”
Jenson said that with the amount of turnover that RV dealers are experiencing, Blackmon, himself and his other field representatives are helping companies with warranty and parts issues. “With my experience in the retail parts side from NTP, to Kenny’s abilities on the warranty and program side, we can go into a dealer to help them with the operational side of the business. All we ask is that they give us a shot at quoting on their parts business.”
Cody Talbert distributes to RV dealers, aftermarket service centers and towing product retailers in the southeast but now also has a national footprint in the campground parts supply business.
He said the new customer portal www.codytalbert.com works with smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers. “It’s simply the easiest way to order and manage your account in distribution. We do about 50% of our business there now.”