Use Your Space Wisely

A parts department is not just a place with bins to house parts. It's a significant component in supplying adequate space for parts storage, meeting today's needs while responsive to future demands. Obviously, the more inventory that can fit in a given storage space the more profitable the space becomes. However, as too much space is costly and wasteful, not enough can inflict dire consequences. To

A parts department is not just a place with bins to house parts. It's a significant component in supplying adequate space for parts storage, meeting today's needs while responsive to future demands.

Obviously, the more inventory that can fit in a given storage space the more profitable the space becomes. However, as too much space is costly and wasteful, not enough can inflict dire consequences.

To little space often leads to damaged goods, parts frequently ending up in aisles (making them hazardous and difficult to locate) and different part numbers physically stocked at the same location.

An important job of the parts manager is to improve the department's operational efficiency. Storage space requires constant scrutiny because it affects every aspect of the parts operation.

If storage is poorly arranged, an exceptionally skilled staff would not be as operationally effective as an average staff in an efficient arrangement. This applies to parts departments of any size. Moreover, the department must be professional and orderly for appearance sake.

A comprehensive evaluation of your parts facility can help. All parts departments share common attributes essential for efficient operation.

Physical Attributes:

  • The parts facility is equivalent to, or greater than, the minimum requirements as specified by your franchiser.
  • There is designated shipping and receiving.
  • There is sufficient storage capacity for accessories, parts replaced under warranty and special order parts.
  • There are separate counters for retail customers and technicians.
  • Retail and technician counters are sufficient in size for the parts employees who staff them.
  • Aisles comply with OEM and OSHA requirements, and stairways are unobstructed.

Operational Attributes:

  • Storage space is sufficient based on operational requirements.
  • The department is laid out for optimum storage density and efficiency.
  • Storage layout facilitates the picking and receiving functions.
  • Fast-moving parts are close to counters.
  • All parts fit within their respective bins and have a designated and clearly identified location.
  • Hours of operation are convenient and correspond to the service department's.
  • A cashier is conveniently located.
  • Perpetual inventory and bin checks are routinely performed.
  • Retail area provides a shopping environment competitive with stores in your market area.

Appearance Attributes:

  • A clean appearance is maintained throughout.
  • Parts displays are clean, updated regularly, and clearly priced.
  • There are no offensive signs or posters.

Changes in business activity and growth within the dealership may require a reorganization of the parts storage area to gain greater efficiency and space utilization.

Such changes can be stressful. Here are planning steps to ease the anxiety:

  • Hold regular meetings with the staff.
  • Prepare a diagram of the proposed department layout.
  • Advise the dealer of the proposed changes and any materials needed.
  • If installing a new parts location system, develop and organize it at this time.
  • Designate tasks to employees, note them and make sure each is completed.
  • Determine when the changes will begin and end.
  • Sell down the inventory.
  • Return or remove obsolete partsā€„
  • Cut stock orders as much as possible.

Finally your reorganing steps should include the following:

  • Printing a current inventory list.
  • Assigning temporary location and storage for displaced stock.
  • Relocate fast-moving parts first, then slow-moving and large bulk items.
  • Enter new locations deleting old ones as parts are moved.

Gary Naples provides parts consulting and training to dealers and manufacturers. He is the author of two books on parts management. He's at 570-824-1528 and [email protected].

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