A well-run, efficient parts department is essential to a successful dealership. Not only does it support service and sales operations, but many large parts departments aggressively sell parts and accessories to the public and to other dealers and independent repair shops.
A sound technical background, an ability to work with people, a keen sense of organization and attention to detail are the key qualities of good parts employees. You can enter this field by becoming a pick-up and delivery person, parts helper or shipping and receiving clerk. But often the best experience is acquired in the service department, where knowledge is gained in the frequency of repair and parts replacement of the cars and trucks sold by the dealership.
This knowledge is important for counter salespeople, who must not only be able to work with the service and body shop managers and technicians, but also act as troubleshooters for customers doing their own repairs. They must be able to suggest complimentary products and ensure that the customer is exposed to the full product line. They keep track of inventory, replenish stock when necessary, provide price quotes and keep up to date on new products.
The overall responsibility for the parts department falls to the parts manager. He or she hires, trains and supervises all department personnel. Controlling inventory, security, merchandising, displaying and advertising are responsibilities of the parts manager, as well as interfacing with commercial customers. Like all management positions in a dealership, it is a demanding, well-paying job that can lead to the position of general manager or dealer.
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