Petzold's savings are passed on to customers

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The diversity of Petzold’s Marine Center’s services means the company must order lots of supplies, from engine parts and chandlery items to such basics as antifreeze and shrink-wrap. The price paid for these goods becomes a crucial factor in boosting sales and facilitating black ink on the bottom line. Paying attention to ordering and looking for the lowest prices without sacrificing quality saves thousands of dollars a year, which the company can pass along to customers.

That makes store manager Neil Weisenberg a key figure at Petzold’s. “Neil handles just about all the ordering,” says Bob Petzold. “And he’s the best guy a customer could ask for when it comes to saving money. If he can get a sheet of sandpaper for a penny less, he’ll do it. He’s an old-school guy. He always gets at least three quotes, and he’s always looking for the low price. We do so much ordering that even saving a little here and there can add up to a significant amount over the course of a year.”

The savings may not be huge percentage-wise, Petzold says, but there’s a hidden benefit that works out in the long run. “It helps keep your pricing competitive, and that helps to not only get your customers in the door, but it’ll keep them coming back, too,” he says. “The prices in our ship’s store are comparable or better than the chain stores. So once customers come in the door, they’re not going away after that. They’ll come back for quality and price."

Anticipating each season’s needs is important, too, especially during the hauling and launching seasons. “We start calling around in July and August to get prices for what we need for the fall hauling season,” Petzold says. “We might find a supplier with shrink-wrap, let’s say, that they’re sitting on from last year. They’re anxious to get rid of old inventory, so you can get it at a discount.” On a recent order for antifreeze, Petzold’s was able to negotiate a savings of $25 a drum on a 60-drum order. That amounted to a savings of $1,500 on just one order. They received similar savings on a tractor-trailer load of shrink-wrap.

“If you concentrate on pricing,” Petzold says, “the nickels and dimes add up to dollars, and we make thousands of purchases over the course of the year. So, having a dedicated parts guy can save you thousands of dollars.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue.

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