In a recent poll we conducted on LinkedIn asking Parts Managers if they had support they need to focus on growth, a staggering 40% responded no! While it’s understandable that so many managers are struggling, especially with parts shortages and the ongoing hiring crisis, it’s even more crucial than ever to find and implement support and tools to keep your parts department in the proactive zone. It can often be difficult for Parts and Service managers to clearly communicate just how and why support is needed. We’ve seen time and time again a breakdown in communications when upper management simply doesn’t speak the language of parts or understand the increasing demands that necessitate more help. Here’s how Parts and Service managers can better communicate the true needs and advocate for the support your department needs for success.
Get a clear vision of what isn’t working
It can be difficult to advocate for support if you’re barely keeping above water because it takes time to identify specifically what is needed where. When preparing to ask for more support, it is important to take a day or two to pause and go into an observation mode so that you can clearly identify the ways in which your department is struggling to keep up. Carry a notepad around with you and make an entry everytime you see a breakdown. Then, to the best of your ability, identify the root of the issue. Is it not having the right parts when you need them? Too few technicians? Not enough customer follow-up? The more you can assess and document the day-to-day issues keeping your team reactive, the better you can communicate those needs to upper management.
Speak the upper management language
Upper management is typically focused on big-picture growth- things like increased profitability and customer databases. In order to help them understand the value of the tools you want to implement, you must start from that big-picture thinking to connect how the things you need support that vision. For instance, if you are requesting additional parts department employees, it’s best to start with explaining where money is being left on the table and customers lost because of the shortage of labor. If you’re requesting the purchase of a tool or software, explain how the current solutions are undermining the overall health and profit from parts.
Re-iterate the value
Even though they are responsible for the second largest investment the dealer makes (the parts inventory), parts and service managers are often under-appreciated. For dealers, new and used car sales can take the focus away from service- but according to NADA- Parts Departments produce 49.6% of the average dealership’s gross profit! That means Parts and Service can literally make or break the success of a dealership. When proposing new tools and support to upper management, be sure to stress the value of your department and don’t hesitate to remind upper management just how much success in the parts and service departments can propel the overall dealership growth and profit.
We’ve said this time and time again- but it bears repeating. If you don’t have the time to be proactive, you can’t push your department to growth and record profits. So many PM’s get completely stuck with not enough time to do anything other than put out fires and survive the day-to-day. When proposing new support, be sure to stress the importance of time. If you don’t have enough time to plan ahead, you simply won’t be able to be an effective manager and will get stuck in the reactive zone.
PartsEdge not only gives parts managers back countless hours lost to DMS and inventory management, it also helps upper management better understand exactly how things work in the inventory. Our reporting is clear, simple, and informs proactive decision making. As a result, our clients see an average 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.