Why You Should Close Your Back Parts Counter


By Bob Atwood

To increase shop pro­fi­ciency, con­sider clos­ing your back parts counter. Your ser­vice depart­ment just might turn more clock hours.

There are many ways to gauge ser­vice depart­ment per­for­mance. We advise mea­sur­ing tech­ni­cian pro­fi­ciency, which is defined as hours pro­duced divided by hours available.

NADA’s guide­line for tech­ni­cian pro­fi­ciency is 120 per­cent, but that’s typ­i­cally not achiev­able because of war­ranty work. A score of 100 per­cent is sus­tain­able day after day.

If you’re not meet­ing NADA guide­lines, there could be sev­eral dif­fer­ent reasons:

  • Your ser­vice advi­sors may not be sell­ing all the avail­able hours.
  • Your mar­ket­ing may not bring in enough business.
  • The parts depart­ment may not have all the parts the techs need.
  • Your techs may be wast­ing time pick­ing up parts at the parts counter.

You know what hap­pens when a tech­ni­cian walks up to the parts counter — lots of small talk. Small talk low­ers shop proficiency.

I would love to close the back parts counter and put an inter­com or a com­puter in every tech’s bay. If a tech needs a part, he sim­ply pushes a but­ton or touches the screen, and a parts run­ner brings him the part. Deliv­er­ing parts to the tech­ni­cian keeps him in the bay, where he is productive.

Some deal­er­ships actu­ally have counter peo­ple embed­ded in the ser­vice depart­ment, where they work with eight or 10 tech­ni­cians at a time. The techs stay right where they are, and they stay productive.

Instruc­tor Bob Atwood, who teaches Fixed Oper­a­tions II, Ser­vice, in week 2 of 6 in the NADA Acad­emy pro­gram, can be reached at batwood@nada.org. Ordown­load the appli­ca­tion and sched­ule at NADAuniversity.com by select­ing the Acad­emy sec­tion on the home page.

To find out how your dealership‘s com­pen­sa­tion stacks up to the com­pe­ti­tion, get your copy of the 2012 Deal­er­ship Work­force Study Indus­try Report! Log in to NADAuniversity.com,go to Resource Tool­box, and click to pur­chase (requires GM/Exec or Dealer access level. The Indus­try Report is com­pli­men­tary to Deal­er­ship Work­force Study participants.




  • joey

    Stu­pid idea