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Auto parts managers work in franchised auto dealerships, independent service centers, parts factors and the operations department of fleet owners. They are responsible for ensuring that the outlet has the right parts mix and inventory level to meet demand for servicing, repairs and sales to third parties. By maintaining an efficient parts operation, parts managers make an important contribution to productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.
Parts managers have to make decisions about inventory. In franchised dealership, they must keep stock of the replacement parts that the service department needs in order to carry out scheduled servicing and repairs to the current and past model range. In an independent service center or parts factory, inventory decisions are more complex because the parts manager must carry stock to cover the servicing and repair needs of vehicles from a variety of manufacturers. Managers analyze stock usage to identify fast-moving parts and products that are only required occasionally.
To balance quality and costs, parts managers must identify suppliers that can provide replacement parts that meet auto manufacturers’ specifications. In some cases, they purchase original parts direct from the manufacturer. For popular parts, such as brake linings, spark plugs or clutch components, they can also source from independent parts manufacturers who meet quality standards. Parts managers negotiate terms with suppliers to minimize costs and improve profitability.
In addition to supplying parts for their company’s service operations, parts managers may also be responsible for sales to external customers. The company may operate a parts counter where vehicle owners or independent service technicians can buy parts. The parts counter generally offers accessories as well as service parts to boost revenue. The parts manager may also oversee a team of sales representatives who deal with fleet operators or independent service centers. To boost sales, parts managers develop promotional campaigns and incentive programs.
In larger parts operations, managers may be responsible for recruiting and supervising employees, such as warehouse staff, administrative staff, telesales operators and retail counter sales staff. Parts managers must ensure that these employees have the right level of product knowledge to provide good service to internal and external customers.
Parts managers who sell to external organizations must build good relationships with their customers. They meet customers to discuss their parts requirements and agree terms, such as stock levels, discounts and delivery methods. They may also work with their most important customers to develop customized service levels, such as online ordering, dedicated stock, scheduled deliveries and an emergency parts service.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.