Parts for Profit Part Nine—Your Parts Driver
Analyze and define every position and discuss with each employee exactly what you believe their job duties are. The result creates secure feelings between you and your people about their work.
Here are a few thoughts concerning the parts driver:
One of the most important, yet lowest paid and least trained position. Many times, this is the only representative of the dealer to actually meet the customer face-to-face. Your driver is the symbol of your professionalism, pride, and sincerity in all transactions with your most frequent customers. These customers have the option of purchasing parts elsewhere, and if offended by a driver surely will. Let your drivers know how important they are to the image of the dealership, and that the customers are theirs as well as the dealers. Their uniforms must be clean and well kept, their appearance a credit to your business. Delivery trucks must be clean, with easily read signs, not cluttered, but with name and phone numbers clearly stated.
Make each driver responsible for their vehicle. Check all fluids, tires, gasoline, etc. each night, in order to have them completely ready for the next morning’s business. Remember, your customers appreciate early deliveries rather than late ones. It is better to have several runs each day to different areas rather than one run that will take all day. Short runs allow you to make an emergency run for that “special” customer. If you have a central location in town, divide your deliveries by area, east/west, or north/south, and set a schedule. Make sure all your customers are aware of your schedule. Always have some way to keep in touch with your driver—radio, pager, cell phone, etc.
Give your driver some discretion in the field. Allow him to make minor adjustments for damaged goods, returns, wrong parts, or other issues. Your customers will appreciate the quick handling of their problems. Drivers are responsible for obtaining all information when wrong parts are sent, since the second trip must be correct.
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 email@example.com.