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Industry insights: Forward Thinking With Dent Johnson

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Dent Johnson Executive Vice President of Operations | Do it Best

How did business change for Do it Best in 2022 compared to 2021?
There were several notable business changes over the last year. We announced a major e-commerce initiative that will put our members in an even stronger position in-store and online with fully integrated point-of-sale and customer convenience at the forefront. The next big one for us was the onboarding of a record number of new stores—over 300. That includes member acquisitions and new store expansions, as well as those joining our industry with new businesses. That pace hasn’t slowed. And we’re continuing to make major investments in growth-driven infrastructure to support that additional business.

At the same time, we have been actively monitoring pricing in an inflationary period to ensure our members are protecting their margins. This last year has also seen a greater stabilization of the supply chain and we’ve been aggressively working with our vendor partners to drive service level improvements.

What were some challenges in 2022 and how did Do it Best address them?
Our No. 1 priority has been to ensure our members have product to sell. That has required solid partnerships with our key vendors to provide more than our share of inventory. It has also meant developing relationships with new vendors and exploring new product lines. We also increased our management of port congestion issues by opening up new channels to move more product from the ports on to our distribution centers. This effort is improving our agility and enhancing our member responsiveness.

What operational investments will you make in 2023 and how will they impact your members?
We’re aggressively investing in the elements of the business that drive and support member growth. E-commerce is central in that strategy as we set members up to drive more traffic in-store and online. We’re focused on supporting member growth through our Gear Up 4 Growth initiatives. With low-interest loans, rebate advances, preference share redemption and substantial incentives for major store improvement projects, we’re helping our members expand their businesses. We’re also continuing to invest in the infrastructure that supports this substantial growth, including a new distributed order management system, our next-gen warehouse management system, a comprehensive overhaul of our core financial systems and targeted facility expansion.

How are you helping your members address key industry challenges, including technology, business transition, and culture and employee engagement?
Earlier this year, we announced a preferred partnership with Epicor, a leader in POS systems. This closer working relationship will offer our members numerous tech benefits to enhance their business operations.

We also have increased our engagement with our members to strengthen their e-commerce capabilities, with an eye on driving online customers into the store. For example, at our last spring market, we debuted the very popular automated locker system for online orders. We’re supporting these efforts with a new white glove service to provide in-store support to implement these major technology projects.

What are your projections for 2023 for the industry and for your organization?
While we believe the overall economy will slow in 2023, we are excited about our growth prospects. We’re projecting continued unit sales growth, with some softening in pricing, especially in lumber. Our members are moving forward to re-invest in their businesses with a record number of store resets and expansions in the pipeline, including a focus on acquisitions to drive even more growth.

To read our complete 2023 Market Measure, click here.

About Carly Froderman

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