The Parts Business Going Forward

The Parts Business Going Forward.

Let me ask a few questions, of you, if I might:

  • What does your future in the parts business look like?
  • Is it a continuation of what you are doing now?
  • Are the results you are experiencing satisfying for you personally?
  • Is that the best you can do?
  • If you can do more what is holding you back?

By now you’re probably thinking, “WOW. That isn’t fair. You ask tough questions.”

Here is something to consider. If you continue to do what you have been doing you are facing extinction. That is a fact. I am 100% in agreement with that statement. Are you?

Let’s have a look at what goes on today. The phone rings or someone walks into your store, what many of you call your branch. An employee, in your parts department, if they aren’t already busy, will greet the customer. They will then proceed to determine what the customer needs. What is the customer doing? Rarely is that question asked. Would that question be helpful? Of course, it would be helpful. Then the parts employee will open up his computer system, if the parts employee knows who the customer is they can proceed to open a parts sales order. If they don’t know the customer they have to ask. And then they find the customer on their business system and then proceed to open a parts sales order.

How about processing parts orders for the service group? Does your technician walk to a back counter? Then a parts employee and the technician determine what parts are required for the work? Or perhaps the technician calls into the parts department and the process is similar to a customer parts sales order. Does the technician order their own parts using an electronic catalogue of the parts and service manuals and enter their parts orders to your business system themselves?

How about an instore display area? Do you have one? How do you operate the instore area? What is the number of customers coming in to your store on a daily/weekly basis to place parts orders? How many parts are sold from the instore displays on a daily/weekly basis?

Finally, we come to the internet. Do you have a facility that will allow your customers to place their orders online? How often are customers looking at your web site? How many customers check on your parts inventory availability? How many customers check your prices online? Do you allow your customers to have access to an electronic catalogue? Do you allow your customers to have access to service manual information online? How many customers place orders online through your website on a daily/weekly basis? Does your business system provide statistics on the number of customers visiting daily/weekly? How about price checks on the same frequency? How about availability checks for the same frequency? If a customer checks prices and availability but does not place an order does your business system notify the parts department daily on which customers were involved? Does a parts employee call the customer when that happens and determine what the customer was looking for and if they in fact found what they needed?

I guess the real question is “Are you working in the business or on the business?”

Perhaps even more directly are you in the order processing business or the selling business?

Or finally, are you in the parts business or the part number business?

The answer to these many questions should provoke some serious thinking.

As Jack Welsh used to say “when the world around you are changing at a rate faster than you are …. The end is near.”

The decisions you make will be with you for a long, long time.

The Time is NOW.