By Wayne Brozek
After determining whether your parts fill rate is correct, then you need to look at how to improve your parts fill rate percentage.
The first thing to consider is whether or not your counter people are recording lost sales correctly. Lost sales – and how they should be recorded — is worth delving into. Your people need to record a lost sale whenever a customer comes in for a part and either leaves without that part or did not have your dealership order the part.
Whether or not a dealership is disciplined at recording lost sales can be a real point of differentiation. If you’re not good at recording lost sales, how can you expect to have a high fill rate?
This is why it’s critical to educate your people on what constitutes a lost sale, and how you expect them to record it.
And here’s something I’ve seen many times: You may have great recording and compliance processes for lost sales with your front counter but fail to have the same for your shop operation. There’s no reason not to have the same process for your internal shop customer as you would for your retail customers.
You need consistency between all customers and counters. One way to do this is to use book that is called a “Parts Pad.” It’s a bound notebook that is formatted for each encounter a counter person has. (See the example at right.) The counter person logs each call or customer need and the information will show managers if the demand was filled off the shelf or a special order was created. Parts managers should review the information daily, either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.
While reviewing this information, look at:
- If your dealership didn’t have it, was the part special ordered?
- If there was no special order, was a lost sale recorded?
- Were potential up-sells missed? For instance, if the customer came in for a water pump, did you also sell them anti-freeze, a thermostat or any other add-on parts?
- Was there a follow-up opportunity? For example, let’s say that a customer wanted a water pump and you didn’t have it. That customer then left, telling you he was going to check with a parts store. Calling him back the next day and asking whether he still needs that item is a good way to reconnect and solve his problem.
These systems are designed to record every interaction your employees have. This information serves several purposes and should be an integral part of your daily process, particularly with recording lost sales. This also becomes essential to recording demand. Without that demand history, you risk not adequately stocking the part to satisfy your customers.