Here are edited highlights.
On the current parts climate
Felio: As an industry, we’ve always reacted to things. I’m finding that a lot of parts managers are becoming more proactive and looking far ahead and thinking how to overcome this.
Daniel: All of the brands all of a sudden have had some unique needy [parts] that nobody’s producing. We’re having a difficult time, whether it’s body panels, whether it’s plastic. Every day it’s “Where are we at today? What’s the list look like?” I’m back there every morning with our parts director, “What’s coming in today?” It’s uniquely challenging.
On how to surmount the challenges
Felio: By looking ahead, paying close attention and communicating. I know we’re dealerships and we want to give them OEM parts, but maybe the solution is an aftermarket part as long as you present that to a customer and they’re OK with it. Utilize BDCs to help with the communication. That’s what our customers want; they want to know what’s going on, and I think they’re more understanding when you’re communicating with them and delivering the best you can.
Daniel: You’re not going to get that part if it’s back-ordered, plain and simple. Our parts director has access to all the service bulletins for all our brands. So if an OEM makes a change — whether it’s a part or a procedure change — every morning they’re reviewing those. Our parts manager is in with the shop managers on both drives probably 10 times a day.
On opportunities rising from the parts shortage
Felio: The opportunity is getting online and doing e-commerce. Figure out what few parts you have you can start with and grow your business that way. Assess your inventory — where it’s at, what’s sitting on your shelf you need to get rid of.
Daniel: The room for growth has been huge for our department. We’re having increases in every brand with parts sales. We cover more of the state than we want to, but there’s dealers that washed their hands of it. It’s a low-gross item. But that’s part of it.