Parts for Profit Part Eight—Personnel

Making the most profit out of your inventory is easy and, once set up properly, needs minimum maintenance. Making the best profit out of your personnel is the hard part. This is why I spend most of my effort on my people.


The hardest part of any profession is learning the language. The various terminologies used to communicate needs. Parts is one of the hardest, a language of multiple words for the same item: controller, solenoid, actuator, module, ECU, etc. can all be used to describe the same object. Only a few years ago Ford started a program to unify parts terminology. Now all departments, design, engineering, manufacturing, service, and parts would all refer to a part by one name. Manufacturers have been in business almost a hundred years and only now are addressing the problem. Same thing with new models…all kinds of information for sales and service, nothing for parts education. Everyone must learn on the job.


Qualified personnel are difficult to find, so your best results will be if you train your people yourself. Promote from within on a scale of needed expertise, driver, stockman, back counter, front counter, phones. Always start new counter personnel at the back counter. They can get the most help, information, and actually see the vehicle if necessary. Technicians will educate a new counterperson better and faster than any other method. Every person has an area they are happiest working in, find the best fit for your personnel. A person is most productive when working in the area that they like. They make fewer mistakes, enjoy their work, and have less attendance problem.


Every person must know exactly what their job and their responsibilities are. Not just verbally, written down! You must create your own policy and procedure manual, with every position defined, and all duties outlined. Only with a permanent “bible” for your department can you cope with ongoing personnel issues.


A few examples:


Driver Duties:


1 Maintain a professional appearance


2 Keep my vehicle clean and maintained daily.


3 Maintain a professional attitude with all my customers.


4 Organize my deliveries in the best way for time and distance.


5 Maintain contact at all times.


6 When not delivering, assist with receiving-shipping, and housekeeping.


7 Obtain training toward further advancement.


Receiving Clerk Duties:


1 Maintain my area in a neat, clean, and organized manner.


2 Complete all receipts every day.


3 Complete all paperwork every day.


4 Complete all stocking duties every day.


5 Report all errors, mistakes, and problems immediately.


Shop Counter Duties:


1 Fill all part requests as quickly as possible.


2 Record all transactions at time of sale.


3 Attempt to fill all missed sales with local sources.


4 Verify all unfilled orders with both technician and service advisor.


5 Handle all “car down” orders as quickly as possible.


6 Process all core and warranty part returns daily.


7 Keep my area as neat as possible.


Larry Williams is a former parts manager and consultant with national awards and over 40 years of experience in creating profitable departments. He can be reached at





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