Establishing a Unified Parts Culture
Lyndon Roach has been with Davidson Auto Group in Carthage, N.Y., since January 2011. During his time as the parts manager at Davidson’s, he’s developed a leadership style that enabled the department––a four-man operation––to produce an estimated sales revenue of $1.5 million for the first half of the year. And, he will keep the department on pace to produce a projected $2.7 million in parts sales for 2017.
His small team manages to interact with approximately 100 people per day that includes a mix of over-the-phone service and in-person interactions. It’s no surprise that Davidson’s parts department stays busy.
Whether it’s making calls to secure wholesale parts orders, preparing parts needed by technicians or answering a customer’s concern, Roach and his team all manage to keep things in line.
Roach sheds some light on what it’s like to operate in such a busy environment and he offers survival tips for parts department personnel.
1. Develop a good relationship with staff.
Whether it’s a collision repair center, parts or service department, it’s always important to work together. Roach has worked hard to establish the collaborative environment that is Davidson’s parts department.
The first thing that comes to Roach’s mind when he thinks of his operation is the camaraderie.
“With my team, we know that if one of my guys falls, someone else can pick him up and help out as best we can,” Roach says. “We’re all here to do a job and do it together.”
He also emphasizes that when parts orders or other work starts to build up, if someone is overwhelmed, another person will step in and take on some of the work. They share the load. And, they do this because they all enjoy what they do and working together.
Roach’s main takeaway is to build a department culture where everyone treats each other like family.
2. Ask questions.
When you are trying to learn and build your knowledge base, especially in a parts department, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question, Roach says.
Asking questions leads to learning more about the vehicles you are ordering parts for and it helps you know what to look out for in the future. As vehicles change, it’s important to stay current on vehicle updates. On the other hand, Roach notes, don’t come in thinking that you know everything.
Aside from asking questions while on the job, to learn more about parts and parts ordering procedures, it’s important to ask the right questions when speaking to customers. This goes hand in hand with proper phone etiquette.
“Our goal is to try and get the right information from the customer the first time and we do that by asking the right questions,” Roach says.
3. Be Adaptable.
Everyone is versatile in the department, according to Roach, and that’s due in part to the extensive training they receive. In total, anyone joining the parts department undergoes approximately 10 weeks of training. The first week is dedicated to learning the dealer management system.
Another reason why versatility is key is that anyone on the team can easily step in for Roach if he’s out for the day or tied up with something else. Since each parts team member receives the same level of training, the task or request will be completed. This eliminates any potential hold-ups and boosts team morale.