In a recent poll we conducted of Parts Managers on LinkedIn, 57% said they had been in the position for 15+ years. This got us thinking: what lessons do so many years of experience bestow on Parts Managers? While we were surprised to see such a high number of pollee’s had been in the position for so long, a large chunk at 29% had been a Parts Mangers for less than 5 years. For those new to the position, here are the 5 things experienced Parts Managers know are essential for inventory management and overall Parts department health. 

1 | The importance of physicals

Without a comprehensive yearly physical, it can be extremely difficult to know exactly what’s in your inventory and what needs improvements. Experienced Parts Managers know that a yearly or even bi-yearly physical provides invaluable insights from an outside perspective and is absolutely essential to maintaining inventory health and creating a strategy for future growth. That being said, not all physical inventory services are created equally. We highly recommend Steve Schussler’s physical services as well as the experts at Pro Count West

2 | The importance of support

With such a dynamic industry, finding support to navigate shifts and changes is paramount for a healthy department. Whether it’s in the form of relationships with colleagues at other dealerships, joining a 20 Group, seeking a consultant, or finding support tools and software, improving your Parts Department health is dependent on keeping a growth mindset with outside, unbiased support and input into the challenges you face.

3 | The importance of proactive DMS management

In another poll we conducted, we asked dealers what letter grade they would give their DMS. An overwhelming majority of 47% graded ‘C’, with 21% giving their DMS a failing ‘F’, 21% a ‘B’, and a measly 11% giving an ‘A’ grade. While DMS’s can work extremely efficiently on it’s own, most experienced managers understand proactive management of the DMS and consistent monitoring and review of settings is absolutely essential to create a lean and high-performing inventory. That being said, our poll shows dealers can often feel they’re facing an uphill battle to keep the DMS working for them instead of against them. That’s a huge part of why we created PartsEdge- but more on that later.

4 The importance of parts department communication

While it’s all fine and dandy to keep your systems in order, the human aspect of a parts department is one that, if neglected, can undermine all other efforts to create a healthy and profitable department. Experienced Parts Managers understand that communication between parts, service, techs, and customer service can make or break not only department profits but also employee satisfaction and retention. Experienced managers create systems for regular communication, clear workflows, and consistent review to keep everyone on the same page.

5 The importance overall department health

Between managing the DMS, manufacturer programs, employees, customers, and everything else, Parts Managers have a lot on their plate. Experienced Parts Managers understand the importance of keeping a big picture perspective in mind with all decisions. Focus too much on Parts Inventory, and you might miss a big communication gap with service and customer support. Stay lasered in on overall communications, and you might miss an issue in inventory performance. We often find that Parts Managers know what decisions need to be made, but they simply don’t have the time in the week to make everything happen. 

That’s why we created our service. PartsEdge was designed by a Parts Manager and a DMS specialist who saw the gap between the demands on Parts Managers’ and the lack of resources to get everything done. We take all the guesswork out of DMS management and utilization and, as a result, our clients see on average a 20% drop in total inventory, 15% less idle inventory, a 50% increase in ROI, and a 20% increase in parts sales. If you’re ready to put our parts power-tool to work, send us a message! We’ve been helping dealerships for over 20 years and our testimonials speak for themselves.