3 Leadership Tips for the Parts Department
JOE SIMON COMPANY: FINDLAY CHEVROLET LOCATION: LAS VEGAS POSITION: PARTS MANAGER YEARS AT COMPANY: 25
This month, Joe Simon will celebrate his 25th year working with the Findlay Automotive Group. Simon, who is currently the parts manager at Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas, grew up working with the Findlays and beyond fast food gigs, it’s the only job he’s ever had.
“I tend to stick with things that I like,” Simon says. “If I feel secure and I like something, I stick with it. The grass isn’t always greener.”
Part of that security came in the late ‘90s when AutoNation began buying out dealerships.
“They bought out most of the the locally owned dealerships,” Simon says. “I heard horror stories.”
It was around this time that Simon really began to appreciate working for a family-owned dealership in Las Vegas and all of the perks that come with it. Simon has grown up with the Findlay family and seen how the Findlay Automotive Group has grown. And, thanks to his hard work, he’s been able to grow with it, moving up the ranks from car washer to parts manager. He’s had people ask him if he’s interested in moving up to director or even becoming a GM. Simon says never say never, but at the moment, he’s content. Simon shares his keys to success in the parts department with Fixed Ops Business.
Lead by Example
Doug Fleming, general manager at Findlay Chevrolet, says that Simon’s lead-by-example style is what has allowed Simon’s department to be so successful.
“Yes, I’m the parts manager, but I’m not afraid to go out and wash a car,” Simon says. “When your employees see you doing this, it makes them want to work harder for you.”
Each month, Simon’s parts department has a goal to hit based on gross profit of parts sold. All 25 of the parts department team is involved and, if that goal is hit, is rewarded. If the team hits the goal, Simon buys coffee and donuts. If the team hits 105 percent, he buys lunch; 110 percent gets dinner and at 115 percent, the team gets a larger prize that changes each month. For March, Simon took the team to Topgolf. For the past year, Simon says that the team has only missed 100 percent twice, and has reached 115 percent four times.
Look for Growth Opportunities
Simon always looks for ways to grow. Recently, the parts department got into the e-commerce world and now sells GM parts on eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart and has its own parts website.
“We went from basically nothing a year and a half ago to doing over $100,000 in sales,” he says.
Simon says for the month of March, the parts department got 36 percent of its business from areas other than the service department.