Being a successful parts manager requires constant pivoting. Selling, pricing, receiving, inventory management, and ordering are all in a day's work. Throw in a pandemic with a chip shortage, and it's a whole new world.
Every departmental head wants to be efficient and meet their goals. While there are plenty of variations on how to get there, there are also some common pitfalls. Unfortunately, even veteran parts managers can fall into one of these common mistakes in the ever-shifting climate of the automotive industry.
The 5 Mistakes Parts Managers Need to Avoid
Lacking Strategy Online
With the explosion of e-commerce (up 32% in 2020), the usual parts for sale on your website won't cut it anymore. Today, parts managers have to be strategic with their pricing—understanding different selling platforms and what's appropriate for each. An expert understanding of your customer base, as well as a basic understanding of the nature of online shoppers, will make this possible. Ensure your pricing is competitive, to the point of taking a loss on one thing to get more visibility on another. Also, please, whatever you do, don't gouge anybody on shipping. Customers will abandon their cart over $7—All. Day. Long!
Guesstimating On Purchasing
It comes down to data management. When parts data is haphazard, it's impossible to make informed, profitable decisions on purchasing. We live in a culture that doesn't like to wait for the Keurig to heat up and pour the coffee. A lack of proper inventory can turn into a substantial loss, on a dime. Keep updated and streamlined reports about what's selling day-to-day on the sales floor, as well as what the service manager is seeing. Communication is king. Digital reporting is the monarchy. Cross-departmental synchronization will go a long way in making the parts department a hub of success.
Apathetic About Employee Training
The parts department must provide the same excellence in customer service as the sales department does. It matters if the phone rings indefinitely at your parts counter. Employees should be available to answer the call; while being polite, knowledgeable, and thorough. Anyone in the department can (and should) quote then sell a part to prospective customers. Minimize avoidable errors on pulling the wrong part with ongoing training and team unity. Keep trackable communication with the front of the house, and train all parts employees to do the same. Don't forget to reinforce positively and create a work environment that promotes respect. Expect to get out of your employees what you put into them.
Parts Becomes An Island
One of the worst things you can do is isolate the parts department from the rest of the store. Even if your department is positioned in the back parking lot, you're part of the dealership as a whole; and, working together will get everyone where they need to be. Work closely with the sales staff or accessory manager to determine what seasonal accessories should be the focus right now. Figure out how to appropriately bundle accessories, with the right pricing, and other accessory sales strategies. When selling accessories at the point of sale, a lead-in product is always recommended. It makes the most sense for parts and sales to work together on the product's strategy.
The best parts managers control inventory like it's their job….because it is. All parts managers execute inventory management to a degree, with the margin for error being wide. When you're striving to account for everything, be well-stocked without being overstocked, and capture every piece of information you can—you'll need a good system to do so. Also, don't neglect to note missed opportunities and repeated inquiries about a part to get ahead of upcoming trends.
Increase Auto Accessory Sales with Insignia Group
Insignia Group is the leading provider of digital accessory selling platforms. Apart from selling more accessories at the point of sale, our management system creates an environment for departments to work cohesively. Better communication between departments with straightforward, easy-to-read parts and labor pricing—as well as automatic pricing updates from OEs and aftermarket manufacturers, makes your job easier. When you have a user-friendly system like ours, you can quickly get the sales team involved in meeting parts quota and increasing revenue. Drop us a line today to talk with one of our expert consultants nationwide. We've got a customized solution just for you (and the references to prove it)!