Parts for Profit Part Ten—Receiving & Shipping

Receiving and shipping: stated in that order because receiving is the most common and the most important duty. All incoming freight must be checked piece-by-piece. Quantity ordered, billed, and received must match. All packing slips must be checked and turned in to the manager for final accounting. Mark all exceptions on packing slips, also a separate exception report to the manager. For extra parts, make packing slips for posting; then make all claims after checking with the factory invoice. All part number changes must be posted, any bin locations changed daily, after all the receiving is done.


Remember, you must have accuracy in three places: physical on hand stock, computer inventory information, and your accounting dollars. All three have to agree at all times.


Parts received are generally in two classifications, stocking and special orders. Stock orders are easier to handle. Every part has a location, and no pressure to deliver. Orders are received in the morning and parts are on your shelves in the afternoon.


Special orders are a completely different situation. All special orders are to be considered high priority. A $2.00 part can be holding up a $1,000 job. After checking all the parts on the packing slip, separate pieces by order type. Priority is your shop, then wholesale, and finally retail.


With shop orders, speed is your first concern, followed by communication. Take all shop orders to a designated area near your back counter. Give written notification to your back counter personnel and also to the responsible service consultant. Parts should also be visible to the technicians when they are at the back counter.


Wholesale customers are next. Notify the counterperson responsible; then place the part in either the will-call or delivery area for your driver.


Retail customers are last, but they require the most handling. A copy of the special order is attached to the part; the part is placed in a special order section in alphabetical order. A copy of the order is placed in an alphabetical file, and another copy is used to contact the customer. A phone call is best, but a post card can also be mailed.


Special orders will always accumulate. For reasons unknown, even when parts have been pre-paid, customers will not come back for them. You must clean out special order shelves on a regular basis. This is just a part of normal business.


The most important thing about shipping is keeping records. Duplicates of packing slips, carrier name, and shipping number are all necessary information to track. Shipments must be kept in an organized file, preferably kept by carrier and date. Remember, if you cannot prove liability on lost shipments, you will have to assume the loss.


As you can see, the receiving, shipping, housekeeping portion of the department’s business is critical to all sales areas. This is a good position for an assistant manager. You need someone with good organizational skills, who is good with paperwork, neat, and supportive of all the other personnel. This position is truly the foundation of a good parts department.


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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