Parts Department

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Marin Subaru
A long-tenured parts manager notes what has helped him survive despite a lack of space.

DEALER: PARTS DEPARTMENT AT MARIN SUBARU LOCATION: SAN RAFAEL, CALIF. PARTS MANAGER: ANTONIO GRAYSON STAFF SIZE: 6 INVENTORY: $230,000

 

Eager Employees

Back when Antonio Grayson started working in San Rafael, Calif., 32 years ago, there were just three employees in his parts department—half the current number. Yet, Grayson helped prod the department to become one of the top wholesale dealers in northern California. And, even after his employers sold a Mazda franchise recently, Grayson has kept net profits impressive.

A key in that regard has been surrounding himself with coachable and loyal employees. Despite having little dealership experience prior to their arrival in San Rafael, Grayson’s five cohorts are confident in their roles now—because their parts manager made it a point to lead by example, and always answer any question thrown his way.

 

Maximizing Space

The parts department at Marin Subaru consists of little more than 3,000 square feet. Yet, Grayson has made the most of it, largely by keeping fast-moving items stocked near his back-counter person, ensuring that they can be supremely efficient in aiding technicians. Grayson also makes sure to take advantage of Subaru’s policies for returns and obsolete parts.  

“If there’s something that’s not selling, we take advantage of being able to send it back to the manufacturer, which frees up space for us to [devote] to things that are selling,” he says.

 

Strategic Counter Space

Technicians rarely have to sit around and wait for parts. That’s because parts are typically pre-pulled by Grayson’s staff, and waiting for technicians at the preferred counter.

The key to pre-pulling parts effectively, Grayson says, “is staying on top of repair orders when they’re written. So as soon as a repair order is written up, we get a notification of that, look up that information, and start doing the job.”

 

Ideal Inventory Mix

A key element of Grayson’s success over the last few decades has been stressing consistency. On a daily basis, he wants his staffers doing stock orders, to make certain that Marin Subaru always has a proper mix of inventory on hand, to make sure customers remain happy. And, in remaining consistent, Grayson has helped his parts department consistently rake in profits.

“We made up for other dealerships giving larger discounts,” he says, “by us giving a better service.”

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