Parts Managers wear a lot of hats. From managing employees to having the right parts when you need them as well as creating a lean and profitable inventory, there’s a lot to think about. Especially for those new to the position, it can all be a bit overwhelming at first. We’ve written this post to give you some framework for moving forward in a new position, or, in a new organization. 

Getting familiar with the DMS

Love it or hate it, set-up and ongoing optimization of your DMS is the single greatest way to produce a healthy inventory and happy customers. When getting started, we highly recommend you audit your existing DMS and compare that with an outside physical report of your stock. This will help you start on the right foot and expose any discrepancies between what your DMS says you have and what’s really on the shelf. If you’re starting with a new DMS, we suggest dedicating time weekly to learn the ins and outs of your system. When auditing, some indications of issues are low fill rates, high obsolescence that keeps coming back, inventory turn rate issues, and low gross profits. More on that here. Ongoing, it’s important to ensure you have a clear and simple way to access reports that inform stocking choices going forward. 

Optimization tools

Once you’ve established the baseline, you’ll need ongoing tools to create a lean and profitable inventory that will support all other aspects of your parts and service department. Start with source control to learn all about how parts categorization and source control can make or break your re-ordering strategy. In addition to sources, pricing strategies and matrix settings will determine your override indicators, customer satisfaction indicators, pricing schemes, and gross profits. Learn more about matrix’s and pricing strategies with our free ebooks.

Creating successful partnerships

While managing your inventory can be a big pull on your time, relationships with your customers, employees, and managers are just as crucial for success in the Parts Manager position. Audit your customer retention plan: is your department systematically following up for routine maintenance and especially for special-order repairs? If not, what needs to happen to get there? A key part of your relationship with your team is empowering them with the tools and guidance to implement retention strategies, follow up, and ongoing repairs. For your service and tech department relationships, it’s crucial to ensure your inventory is providing the depth needed for fast-moving parts while keeping shelf space free for those one-time orders. Communicate regularly with your parts department employees, service, and techs to inform your management strategy with the actual needs of your team. For relationships with management, having a good grasp on where your department stands and where it needs to go is paramount. Make sure your management report is clear and easy to understand and if it’s not, work with your DMS and reporting to get there.

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 sourcing setup and optimization 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 Parts Managers for over 20 years and our testimonials speak for themselves.