For new Parts Manager new to the position, it can be difficult to know where to start. Between managing the DMS, manufacturer programs, employees, customers, and everything else, Parts Managers have a lot on their plate. Over the past 20+ years, we’ve helped lots of new Parts Managers navigate the transition. Here, we’ve assembled our five top tips for new Parts Managers to help you focus on the aspects of your operation that make everything else easier.


1. Get the data you need

First and foremost for any Parts Manager is having clear data on their inventory to make informed decisions.  We find most Parts Managers know what needs to happen in their inventories, but they just don’t have the data they need to identify the issue or make a lasting change. Get to know your DMS’s reporting system and don’t hesitate to contact their support if you don’t see the reports you need. Many new Parts Managers struggle to find the time to get the reports needed to make educated choices about their ordering, but the cost of making guesses on stock orders is higher than you’d think.


2. Keep  your focus on obsolescence

Obsolescence is one of the biggest indicators of inventory health. Most new Parts Managers inherit obsolescence and find that it can be overwhelming to create a plan to begin reducing it. Look for ways to reduce obsolescence like selling to a parts broker or, if your a GM dealership be sure to stay on top of the CSO11 returns and if your manufacturer is paying warranty retail, use some of that markup to accrue to throw obsolescence away.  Discovering ways to forecast obsolete inventory can help you prevent unnecessary purchases and make a consistent plan for clearing obsolete inventory. Check out our free eBook for more information on how to forecast obsolete inventory.


3. Master your manufacturer program

Some of these programs can be mandatory or even come with a minimum compliance objective on their suggestions. More than a few have been known to significantly overstock dealerships or regularly guarantee parts which due to demand, are unlikely to ever get sent back on a manufacturer return.  We recommend separating out parts into sources based on their manufacturer program codes. Then, treat guaranteed and non-guaranteed parts as separate inventories with separate objectives for Productive, Forced, Excess, and Obsolete stock. The more you can learn the ins and outs of your program, the better you can manage to stay compliant without overstocking parts you don’t need.


4. Make a solid purchasing plan

If you don’t know what you need, you can’t make a good buying decision. Simple as that. We have worked with so many Parts Managers who struggle to organize the data to make informed changes to their stock order and end up buying parts they don’t need and not having enough of what they do. Ensuring your data is organized so you can trust your stock order so that your purchasing is based on the true data is absolutely essential for inventory health and Parts Department profits. This plan should incorporate your manufacturer program compliance but prioritizing the health and productivity of your inventory. 


5. Get the tools and support you need!

Parts Managers have a lot on their plate and often short on time to ensure everything is getting done right. That’s why we created PartEdge. We help you learn the key fundamentals of how to be a successful Parts Manager. You will get an expert strategy so that you understand the setups of your DMS to help prevent you from running out of fast-moving parts. If you’re on a manufacturer program, we will help guide you to understand the ins and outs of the program. We will work with you to create a plan to not only reduce and maintain low obsolescence but you will also learn how to track your obsolescence so an excessive amount does not keep coming back. Is your management report overwhelming? We have reports designed for parts managers to easily understand the core categories of their inventory.


“ I would definitely recommend PartsEdge. I mean there’s a number of reasons- time-saving is one of them. But the knowledge that they’ve been able to impart with me on a number of different things- it’s not just part numbers, x’s, and o’s. I tell people all the time I learned more from PartsEdge as a parts manager starting at ground zero than anyone else and that knowledge helped me understand how to do my job better- which obviously my boss appreciates that I’m doing a better job than when I started- but having that knowledge behind them and the ability to ask them those questions and get them answered is- it was huge for me in the beginning. “ 

-Jeff Denis at Marcotte Ford


Watch our entire discussion with Jeff here. If you have any questions, send us a message! We’ve been helping dealerships for over 20 years to increase their inventory productivity resulting in better turns, higher fill rates, and an efficient, profitable parts department.