October 27, 2021

Tuning Up Your Parts Department

NAC Blog
NAC Blog

Tuning Up Your Parts Department

When it comes to Fixed Ops, the management team often thinks of the service department first and the parts department second. But the parts department is often the largest asset a dealership has, carrying an average of $1.2 million worth of inventory.

If you had $1.2 million lying around, wouldn't you want to manage it to the best of your ability? In her recent conversation with NAC’s Corey Smith, Kaylee Felio of PartsEdge highlighted four key initiatives dealerships can take to level up the performance of their parts department. Click here to navigate to the Fixed Ops 5 podcast episode featuring Kaylee, and don't forget to subscribe to FO5 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

1. Invest in Your People

One of the biggest mistakes that dealerships make when hiring a parts manager is not providing them with enough training and support to be a success in the role. A couple of days of training is not enough to understand and implement good inventory management. There is a lot to learn, and too many dealerships don't give their parts managers the time and resources to learn it. If you want to have a great parts manager, make continuing education and training a requirement of their job. They are, after all, managing the largest asset the dealership has. Look into online training, webinars, ebooks, and other avenues of training to help them learn more about being an effective parts manager. Work with your parts manager to identify their strengths and weaknesses, then help them get the training they need to fill in any skill gaps.

2. Bring in Subject-Matter Experts

Look for subject-matter experts in key areas such as inventory management or dealing with obsolescence. Bring these SMEs into the dealership to talk to the entire team. They can provide new insights into inventory management, spark new ideas to enhance your current system, and reinvigorate the team to optimize their old systems.

3. Invest in Smart Technology

Using smarter tools for ordering and scheduling is how you end up with the right parts at the right time. A computer program can manage ordering and scheduling much more efficiently than a human, and with fewer errors. That efficiency allows the parts manager to focus their energy in other areas, like testing and phaseout. With smart tools at work, parts managers have the time and energy to be more proactive within the department.

4. Align with Other Departments

Get the parts department aligned with other departments in the dealership. After all, they're all working together to produce the same result. Start by holding meetings together and have the teams swap and shadow each other. Encouraging all the departments to work as a single team will also enhance the experience for your customers: when they work together, the departments are all speaking the same language and showing the customer a unified front. This is something customers are looking for and will respond positively to.

 For even more insight, click here to check out the video recording of Kaylee's Fixed Ops 5 interview with host Corey Smith.

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