Making Yourself an Indispensable Asset
Michael Curran got his start in the industry in 1981 as a detail person at a dealership. Fast forward to 2002, Curran joined Caskinette Ford located in Carthage, N.Y. He works in the parts department as a counter person. He and the other parts team members work tirelessly to provide the best service to customers and get technicians what they need in a timely manner. This focus on customer care and meeting interdepartmental needs drives the parts department to collectively produce $200,000-$250,000 in sales per month. Through the peaks and valleys of a typical workday, Curran is able to excel and be part of a leading team. Below, Curran provides advice on how to make yourself indispensable in a parts department.
1. Stay focused.
You can’t worry about the little stuff, Curran notes. The parts department gets busy with customers coming up to the counter or technicians coming in, so you have to be able to prioritize your workload.
“If the tech is standing still, he isn’t making money, so I need to do my part and help keep him or her on track with their repair work,” Curran notes.
2. Make tasks second nature.
Since Curran has been in this position for 15 years, he’s learned that some tasks can become second nature. He notes that the repetition of tasks like making calls and completing parts order slips have become an unbreakable habit. Once you make them a habit, that will make every other process go faster and make things much easier on you.
“Quite often, I find myself doing 2-3 things at once, so I have to be able to juggle different responsibilities,” says Curran.
On the daily, he interacts with at least 15 people over the phone and nine within the department.
3. Keep a positive attitude.
Any parts department stays busy, whether it’s in-house requests from technicians in the service center or customers and it can get chaotic. But, as Curran notes, amidst the hustle and bustle, you have to keep your cool. If you have a meltdown or feel like you will, it’s important to calm yourself down and clear your mind. First and foremost, you can’t lose your temper at work. Try to be friendly, courteous and respectful of everybody.
4. Rely on your team.
If there is a process or a part that you aren’t too familiar with, look to your greatest resource of help for guidance.
“Your team and those people you work with outside of parts are your most valuable source of learning,” Curran says. “The faster you pick up on things the faster you will improve your efficiency.”
The Caskinette Ford parts team is rooted in collaboration. Curran notes that they all pitch in and help each other out.