A Parts Problem Solver
For a long time, Royce King’s parts departments dealt with a seemingly insurmountable hurdle: No matter what King—the parts director for Shaheen Chevrolet Automotive Group in central Michigan—provided as a list price, customers often felt they could find significantly cheaper pricing in the aftermarket.
King was eager to find a parts purchasing/pricing program that allowed him to communicate with customers with transparency, so they were less inclined to search elsewhere for aftermarket parts. He also knew the importance of finding a program that could allow his dealership group, customers and insurers to all get on the same page with regard to issues like estimates.
Then, a couple years ago, King heard about a new piece of technology that appeared on the horizon: General Motors’ own parts purchasing/pricing program. It was set to launch in late 2015 and had the industry talking.
“As soon as they started talking about this program, my hand was in the air, jumping up and down: ‘I wanna be on the pilot, I want this,’” King recalls. “As soon as they started announcing this change and what was going to happen, I knew up front that it was going to benefit the OEMs quite a bit.”
In 2017, OEM parts purchasing/pricing programs continue to be a growing industry trend, and King sheds light on how this program has worked for his company so far.
In December 2015, GM officially rolled out mypricelink.com, a program that allows the OEM to deliver suggested list prices on Genuine GM Parts in real time, and aims to allow for estimates to be created seamlessly. The parts purchasing/pricing program is now integrated with most major estimating systems.
Not long after that main product release, King saw to it that Shaheen Chevrolet began using MyPriceLink (MPL) regularly. Before long, the program was used by King’s crew virtually every hour on every transaction.
King’s adamant belief in MPL is largely due to the program’s versatility.
“It’s got a plethora of information that’s available through the search function on MyPriceLink, which leads to more sales,” says King, who oversees a parts inventory for Shaheen Chevrolet that now adds up to nearly $7.5 million combined over the group’s three locations. “The parts directors, the parts managers, have got to understand that it’s not just a way to get a list price—it’s a way so that they can see the estimates that were written on that vehicle.”
Shaheen Chevrolet’s customers have especially seemed to appreciate the list pricing—and the overall transparency—that MPL provides, and the dealership has benefited as a result.
“We can show the customer online,” King notes, “without even having to pick up the phone to call, [and] they can see what their price is, and how closely it matches to what the aftermarket price is.
“If you did an overall comparison of 100 numbers, the GM MyPriceLink prices for the list prices are within a couple percentage points of what the list price on the aftermarket is.”
King’s only mild qualm when it comes to the program is that he wishes there were an easy way to do a search in MPL for providers.
When Shaheen Chevrolet first started using MPL, King threw himself into a prolonged, personalized training session. When he emerged, he was deadset on getting the employees he oversees—a group that includes 15 counter people—to become early adopters of the program, and thus provided ample hands-on training.
The parts director’s key when training staff members was “letting them understand where the benefit to them was. … It’s the wave of the future, and I told [employees] that: ‘And if you can’t figure this out now, then you probably won’t be around the next year.’”
“You’ve got to understand what the system is designed to do to be able to maximize the program,” he explains.
King says MPL, which is now used by a majority of the more than 4,000 GM dealers in the U.S., has helped his parts departments “in about every aspect.”
“It’s helped cut down on human errors with the transferring over,” he says of MPL. “It has also helped us sell more.
“And it helps our customer satisfaction. … We’ve gained 90 new customers, and it’s just because of the way that we were using MyPriceLink and using CollisionLink to communicate with customers."
By the end of July 2017, Shaheen projects to be doing over $2 million per month in wholesale, King adds.
King has been reminded in recent years that, when it comes to parts purchasing, time is money. And, with the multiple features that MPL offers, it cuts that time “almost in half.” As a result, he feels GM has provided a product that is sure to impact the industry for years.
“If all the OEMs are in the same boat and using the same type of program, it’s going to be exponentially beneficial for everybody, except for the aftermarket suppliers,” King says of OEM parts purchasing/pricing programs. “And it’s going to make life a lot easier. The returns are going to be down some, because there’s not the human error in the transferring of numbers.”
“I think it’s the wave of the future, when it comes to OEM collision parts.”
A while back, he even personally fielded inquiries about the parts purchasing/pricing program from Ford.
“I’ve shown them the program, how we’ve used it,” King says. “They like the system. They understand the intent behind it.”