Are you considering a career in Parts Management? The importance of parts is an essential and multifaceted component to any dealership and/or shop. The tasks and responsibilities that come into play are of upmost importance to meet both customer satisfaction and retention. It is also very important to the company’s bottom dollar. When contemplating a career in this area there are some key items to consider:
- Inventory Stock-keeping: Organized method for Ordering, Receiving, Delivery
- Product/Catalog Knowledge
- Profit Management/Cost Controls
- Special Order Management
- Sales Management both in the Shop and Over the Counter
As you can see, there are some key components to factor into making this choice for your career path. You should weigh in the consequences of the above-mentioned items. For example, if the inventory isn’t organized or doesn’t have enough breadth and depth to satisfy your customer needs, this could delay repairs and lose customers for the dealership or shop. You will need to think about the workflow, and how what you do plays into that for the company.
To meet that responsibility, what steps could you take to be a strong asset to the shop?
Here are 5 essential duties all parts managers perform on a day-to-day basis that can help you decide if this pathway is the right path for you:
1. Inventory Stock-keeping: This would be the biggest task to perform involving, Ordering, Receipting, Stock-keeping, Delivery and Returns. The Golden Rule is to “stock what you sell, and sell what you stock”. There will be parts that will have a long shelf life while others rotate off the shelves often. Organization is the key to being able to be accurate and efficient in these daily processes because “If you can’t find it, you can’t sell it.”
2. Product and Catalog knowledge is important, but can be learned over time. Make sure you are familiar with most of the parts used on the products you sell. If you are new to the business, you can expect some good hearted “hazing” when asked for a “muffler bearing”, canooter valve”, “cable stretcher” or “blinker fluid”.
3. Profit Management: If you are the manager, it will be important to understand and control the pricing of parts. Selling at the manufacturers recommending Retail price is usually safe, but when discounting, make sure you know what it costs your department to sell a part as a percentage of the cost of a part and apply that knowledge to your minimum profit margin. Controlling the other expenses in your department are essential in keeping you competitive and profitable.
4. Special Order Management will be an important part of your daily processes as you will not have 100% of everything you are asked for. Having an organized and consistent Special-Order Process from ordering, to receipting and contacting the customer to complete the sales process is extremely important.
5. Sales Management of both your In-Shop Sales and Over-the-Counter Sales will require not just having the parts, but having Customer Relation Skills as well. Remember that your technicians and other department managers are customers, the same as your counter and wholesale customers. Remember to always “Ask for the sale” and follow-up every sale with a “Thank you.
These should be some good thought starters to help you in your decision towards a rewarding career.
Another piece of advice, once you are in-shop and working, is to do this technique. Given, a lot has changed over the last 45 years, one good place to start would be with the catalog. Read the instructions page, whether that is in a print version or an online version. You will find important explanations on all the symbols and information that is in your catalogs. Back at the beginning of my parts career the information I learned within those pages impressed my co-workers. These were co-workers with 20+ years of experience. That simple activity which only took a few minutes of my time propelled my career into where I am today.
ADMI teaches and implements proven best practices that will keep the database accurate throughout the years, from one physical inventory to the next. For more information contact us today.
By Jim Gillespie