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Why Is the American Automotive Aftermarket Industry in Chaos?


2/15/2010
By Mitch Schneider

The quickest way to frustrate a technician is to let them know they are going to have to wait to finish “that job” they have been waiting all afternoon to finish because the part they are waiting for didn’t make the “early run,” or won’t be there at all because it is no longer stocked locally.
 
Mitch Schneider
I was talking to a colleague late this afternoon. He isn’t a shop owner, a manufacturer or part of the distribution network. He’s not “of” this industry. He isn’t even from this country. He’s European and never misses an opportunity to let me know just how different the automotive industry looks, feels and functions across the big pond.

It wasn’t a particularly dramatic conversation, which was nice for a change. There is always an abundance of drama in an automotive repair shop, especially these days. And why not, when the easiest way to frustrate a motorist is to explain that you can’t go backwards in time to make up for neglect or poor maintenance. Unless, of course, you have to tell them whatever it is that’s wrong will cost more than they imagined it would, which, almost invariably will. Or that it will take longer than they think it should.

When you do, I can promise you all the drama anyone could possibly want or need.

The quickest way to frustrate a technician is to let them know they are going to have to wait to finish “that job” they have been waiting all afternoon to finish because the part they are waiting for didn’t make the “early run,” or won’t be there at all because it is no longer stocked locally. That is, unless, it turns out to be the wrong part when it finally does show up. When that happens, be sure to duck or look for cover because I can promise you that whatever happens next is going to be bad.

The quickest way to frustrate a shop owner is to create situations or circumstances that facilitate any or all of the above. When that happens, I can almost promise you will not like, nor will you appreciate what happens next.

So it was nice just to visit on the phone for a while, at least until the subject of the independent aftermarket bubbled to the surface. The discussion then became both animated and anxious. It started with a series of simple questions: Why is the aftermarket so fragmented? Why is it so disjointed? Why are independent shop owners so difficult to deal with? Why won’t they work together? And why are they so difficult to unite?

You have to agree: the questions seem simple enough on the surface. But, there are no simple answers when it comes to our industry.

In the end, about the only thing we could agree on was that when it comes to our industry “anarchy” and “independent” are virtually synonymous.

Apparently, things are different in Europe. The industry is more unified and coherent, the opportunity for chaos is somehow mitigated.

My friend had trouble comprehending why things are the way they are over here and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t help him because after 44 years of involvement, I’m not sure I understand it myself. It’s almost as if someone likes it this way. It’s almost as if the chaos isn’t chaos at all, but is instead the result of careful planning.
If you look carefully enough, you really have to wonder why things are the way they are. We’ve got plenty of smart people, some of them as smart as the smartest people you could find in any other industry. And, we have resources, however limited they might be. The combination of motivated smart people and available resources is hard to beat. So why are things as dysfunctional as they seem to be?

My friend can’t figure it out. But that isn’t hard to understand, if you’ll pardon the play on words — he’s not from around these parts.

But you and I are. So if you have an answer, or even a theory, let me know. Someone ought to know what’s going on.
Share your answers with me and I’ll share them with the rest of the industry. And, who knows, maybe we’ll finally come up with the answer everyone has been searching for.

Mitch Schneider co-owns and operates Schneider’s Automotive Service in Simi Valley, CA. Readers can contact him at mschneider@babcox.com.

  Previous Comments
avatar   Dave Elliott   star   5/3/2010   1:50 PM

R I (to the 4th power) GHT you have hit the nail squarely on the head there. Customer demographic plays an immense part in up selling. Also, The folks who will pay for the upgrade part, will do preventive maintainence. Where the bargain basement boys won't fix it til it won't go no mo.



avatar   RIIIIGHT   star   5/1/2010   9:46 PM

your customer demographic will play a huge part in how easy it is to upsell.



avatar   BC   star   4/10/2010   9:43 AM

Tad, I try to preach that to my team here and it seems to go in one ear and out the other. Then they see me upsell a customer by just simply explaining the better build quality on the better product and they look at me like I'm God or something. It is actually kind of funny



avatar   Tad   star   4/3/2010   6:23 PM

I'm sure the company could always up the price of the cheaper brands, if you'd like.



I don't usually have much problem upselling ignition, for example, because I know the difference between our economy stuff and BWD. Better contact material (usually), higher dielectric plastics, heat sinked electronics with redundant solder connections to the plugs, etc.



Same goes for chassis/suspension, u-joints, and even batteries. Know and be able to explain the differences to people and you'll be much more likely to convince people to spend more money on the better product.




avatar   tim   star   4/1/2010   5:28 PM

Dan I have the books it selling them the better product that is 3 times the cost.



avatar   DAN   star   3/28/2010   4:15 PM

Tom and Ed: If you want upselling points for Moog, BWD, etc. look in those paper catologs so many people want to get rid of. I'm not talking about the application section, but the first several page (or sometimes the last) of the catalog. There's a lot to learn.



avatar   Chris   star   3/13/2010   3:51 PM

One decent thing about the green boys at least is that corporate will usually back you up, at least where the customer is blatantly scamming you. Had a guy with a Cherokee, tried to warranty his radiator because it had a hole in it. I asked him how it happened, he said the wire tie he had holding it broke when he was mudding. I told him we didn't cover off-road use. He of course threw a fit and demanded the DM's phone number. I gave it to him, and he called the DM right there. He then said the DM wanted to talk to me, so I took the phone. The DM said "Get rid of this guy, he's nuts." I handed the phone back to the customer, he nodded for a moment, then took on a look like someone had kicked his puppy. Then he grabbed the radiator, glared at me, and peeled out of the parking lot.



avatar   Ed   star   3/9/2010   2:33 PM

My favorite is when you are selling brake pads and you invariably get the question, "Which ones have the lifetime warranty?". Common sense dissecting that sentence would tell you the customer wants to spend some money for quality and assurance. However, no matter the age, race or gender, they always defy common sense and they want the $19.99 brakes to be covered for as long as they own the vehicle (And we are talking wear and tear, not defect, as the warranty states). I explain to the customer that all of them have a limited lifetime DEFECT warranty and that NORMAL wear and tear are NOT covered under DEFECT. As a sales tactic I will offer them Wagners, Performance Friction, any other high quality, high dollar pad with a "wear and tear" warranty for one free replacement, because I know two things. One, the pads are high quality, made from OE material or superior, friction grade index is OE or better, they won't wear as fast as our el cheapo pads, etc. Two, the cost versus retail ratio is good enough to warrant such an action.



avatar   Paul   star   3/8/2010   7:30 PM

Customer service can sometimes surprise you by backing the stores. We had a customer bring in a core for a starter with the cone broken completely off. We tried to be nice and give her half the core, but she wanted all of it even though we explained that to get credit it needs to be able to be rebuilt/repaired. She took it up the chain and was told that our store was correct. Was a shocker I can tell you.



avatar   Dave Elliott   star   3/8/2010   6:01 PM

Lifetime schmeiftime.....We all know what limited lifetime means, and if you explain it to the customer, they will nod their head yes, and then swear that it was never explained to them when the part fails and they want it replaced. Lifetime also means to the original purchaser of the part. um hum...we all know how that works. If I throw a big enough fit, and call corporate, guess who's gonna make me happy? YOU ARE! You are gonna take care of me and look like a fool. (pants on the ground or not) Because you already told me that the warranty didn't cover that, and then you didn't warranty it for me when I brought it back, just like you knew I would. But corporate doesn't want a poor image. So just smile, nod your head and take care of the customer and be the hero! Learned that at Western Auto. Many moons ago. Slightly after the earth cooled.



avatar   Captain   star   3/8/2010   4:01 PM

I don't know what you guys are talking about but all of the lifetime brands are limited lifetime.



avatar   Tim   star   3/8/2010   2:00 PM

The reason that lifetime warrenties are given on so many parts is two fold. Companies know that the industry average for a person keeping a car is around 3 years. Also since most customers don't keep reciepts they wont remember 4 years from now where they bought the parts. Also it is hard to sell a Moog part at $85.95 when you can get a white box for $21.95 will the customer have to replace the part 4 times in the 3 to 4 years that they own that car?



You have to look at economics to understand what you need to sell to your customers. The point is to make your customer as happy as you can, if it means selling him a more reasonable part instead of a more reliable part so be it. Return rate of white box chassis part is not that high here.




avatar   Gabe   star   3/6/2010   2:57 PM

All you need to know about brake pads is Performance Friction are amazing brakes! We had a commercial account put their pads, and rotors on a state trooper car. A few days later it was in a 140-150 mph chase with a crotch rocket. He came back to the shop saying they were squeaking. They pulled the wheels off found that the rotors were blue from the heat. They found nothing wrong with the brakes, no cracks in the rotor or pads. They scuffed the pads up again put them on. Squeak was gone, and the brakes worked fine. I also had experience with them when I was a service writer. They are outstanding brakes.



avatar   Tad   star   3/5/2010   6:19 PM

Captain, if your shops can't understand that the cheapest part may lose them money down the road when it fails, it's not your problem. In fact, you've done more than your share because you're still willing to warranty that crappy part 5 years down the road. Just make sure to explain to them beforehand that the off-brand part has a much higher likelihood of failure in the vehicle's lifetime.

Whenever I get a customer asking me about water pumps, I only quote reman pumps with a disclaimer, explaining to the customer that I HATE selling reman water pumps because they have such a high rate of failure. If they still want it, well, they've been warned.

Tom, I completely agree that we need more product training. I used to get some at Napa, but the only product training I've had here was a Federal Mogul ABS brake seminar (for the local shops) I got to go to for free because I asked. Everything else I've brought with me from Napa, or had to pick up or make up along the way.

I find it distressing that very few counterpeople know the difference between brake pad compounds (organic, semi-met, ceramic, etc). Some training there would be well spent, I think.




avatar   Kim   star   3/5/2010   4:51 PM

Limited lifetime warranty means "against manufacturer defect" for the lifetime expectency of the part under normal use, it means it does not cover warranty against use and abuse of the product. Like living the mountains of Va. and expecting to have lifetime warranty on your brakes.



avatar   Ed   star   3/5/2010   3:31 PM

Captain, that is why you heavily lay on the "limited" part of the LIMITED lifetime warranty when you originally sell the part. 1 out of every 3 customers asks for an explanation to the "limited" part and I inform them (On cheap, house brand parts that are prone to fail often) that it is limited to a one time exchange with no time constraints and that the replacement part carries a 90-day warranty per our policy.



avatar   Captain   star   3/5/2010   3:20 PM

Yes i know there is a difference, so do my customers, not the point here. DO NOT Warranty the cheaper parts for lifetime guarantee. Period. Look the customer looks to save money, so do all of my shops, for them they want to make the most money. The will take the hit if the part lasts a year at least. And most cheaper parts will or outlast the car that there buying it for. We all know it. Regardless, not all moog, bwd, etc. are made in the usa, there made all over as well too.



avatar   Gabe   star   3/5/2010   3:13 PM

I am trying to remember here, but I did get a break down once why Moog is a better chassis part. I know the main biggest difference was that most tie rods, and ball joints use like a metal plate that the ball of the tie rod, and ball joint move on. Whereas the Moog part uses the a different material for that plate. But! They also fill the void, area inside with some kind of metal powder that actually reduces wear on those plates. Like tiny ball bearings. That stuck in my mind, because it reminded me of powdered graphite.



avatar   Tom   star   3/5/2010   2:28 PM

Tad You make very good points. And being in this business I know there are differences in products. All I want is some proof in black and white, selling points to go off of for all the store to be on the same page. I used to have a little booklet at previous employer that stated facts on products. Customers seem to want information like this. I have seen brake pads for 6.99. They are made of cardboard possibly? They will stop your car, once anyway.But it may take awhile. Not everyone takes the time to find out what makes a product better or worse.

It would be nice to have a guide of some kind.

I usually ask the customer how many miles they have on there car, and inform them the premium product should get them the same or better use.

Most married men I just say how often do you want to here your wife cuss or complain. They usually go with better products to keep the peace in there home.




avatar   Tad   star   3/5/2010   12:21 AM

Tom, Captain, you don't sell the warranty, you sell the part. Like Ed said, there are differences. You can pay $50 for a Moog tie rod end designed abd machined to proper tolerances, improved from the original design if needed, built at a factory with good quality control, greased, comes with a zerk fitting, and is bagged and sealed with a new nut and cotter pin. OR you can pay $20 for the cheapo special that is possibly machined out of tolerance, may or may not be greased, might come with a zerk if you're lucky, and might be in a bag with a nut that's a different size than original, but may not have a cotter pin. If you tell them all that and they still want to buy the cheap part, more power to them. Just make sure to take their information down properly, because they'll likely have to use that lifetime warranty at some point. Me? I'll try to stick to the quality part that I won't have to replace again.



avatar   Bob   star   3/4/2010   4:43 PM

It's called new printer ribbons and bifocals for the invoices. Helps a lot



avatar   SLAPPYJ   star   3/4/2010   3:54 PM

WTF HAPPENED YESTERDAY!! ALL MY DRIVERS SHOWED UP FOR WORK BUT TWO OF THEM DISAPPEARED AT 2:00PM. NO PROBLEM JUST PULL SOMEONE OFF THE COUNTER. BUT WAIT MANAGER LEFT AT FOUR LEAVING ME ALONE TO RUN THE STORE,CUTTING ROTORS,GIVING PASSWORDS,SEARCHING COUNTLESS PHONE NUMBERS FOR WARRANTIES PLUS TENDING TO MY COMMERCIAL PHONES!! AAAEEEEEE T-BOY!





avatar   mikey   star   3/4/2010   2:29 PM

all i know is everything you wrote is true and we the employee's feel the wrath just as hard as the customer when it comes to this sort of thing, if not harder! promises and miss labled or crappy parts, those are just the tip of the ice berg. Welcome to corporate america!!!!!!!!!



avatar   Ed   star   3/3/2010   7:51 PM

Tom and Captain America, I have found a difference, in a few ball joints I found the "house brand" to be machined incorrectly. Even when there is no difference, I tell the customers the truth, that the part is contracted out by Moog to the lowest bidder, that there is no consistency and you may get two of the same part number, but both coming from completely different countries of origin. I also tell them the "limited lifetime" warranty does not cover headaches, frustration, time lost or gas wasted and that you do get what you pay for. That tactic seems to work just fine for me.



avatar   Tom   star   3/3/2010   4:35 PM

Hey Captain, To add to that. I've ask for years for some upsell help on that exact type of product. Whats the difference. Best I can tell the customer is 30 bucks I guess. If they would give us some hard facts on the products they might sell more of the premium product. Alone with that how about not warranting parts that are not greased. I've seen ball joints that have dust coming out of them. They get taken care of because, well who knows why. There's no cure for stupid is there.



avatar   Captain amerika   star   3/3/2010   3:13 PM

Chaos... Well quit giving the same warranty for the house brand cheap **** as the top end stuff. Hmmmm. Lifetime guarantee for the moog tie rod end for 50.00 or the same warranty for the house brand at 20.00 You do the math. Suits at corporate kill me.



avatar   Buzzs Buddy   star   3/3/2010   2:55 PM

I have to agree with Buzz here, He is most likely compassionate about his job, even though the pay is not good. You would think with the training we have to do, getting ase certified, and the amount of rules we engauge everyday that we would get paid accordingly. He probably works with a bunch of morons that he is suppose to use to bring his store up to par or his business. That is next to impossible to do. I understand his concern.



avatar   Bananarama   star   3/3/2010   2:38 PM

Chill, Buzz, chill.



avatar   Ed   star   3/2/2010   2:14 PM

Mitch, I call and send my customers to the competition all the time if they have something or can get it quicker than I can. Maybe it stems from watching Bing Crosby's White Christmas one too many times when I was younger. By doing so you may still be able to make that sale. The customer was going to drive to competitor X, Y and Z individually and if they heard the same story at each one, the very last one they arrive at, they will place the order, even if it is more expensive than other places, because they don't want to travel back, even if we are talking a span of 500 yards between all competitors. So you went from being first stop and losing a sale, to being the only stop and making a sale, just by picking up the phone and having some patience. Customers do not expect this kind of service, because we have conditioned them over many years to believe that we don't care. So when you supply that kind of service, it wows them, it goes beyond their expectations and makes the part purchase, a memorable one.



avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   3/1/2010   11:49 PM

I've got to tell all of you that the response to this column has completely blown me away! I just wish every shop owner and tech could see this side of your industry: the very real, very human, very personal side. And, your comments are certainly telling.



As far as I can tell, the issue is always going to be communication, and communication is a "contact sport."



I'm not going to comment on the pay issues, commission, or some of the other things that have come up. Nor, am I going to discuss specific conditions within the industry. All of us live it every day, so there's no need. But, I do know a little about the "Green Machine" as I did training for them for a number of years.



They are an impressive company with substantive values and a culture so distinct those who do not share those values are made to feel almost instantly uncomfortable. However, having said that, that culture and those values have taken them from one store to a multi-billion dollar business and on one hell of a wild ride!



And, just for the record, I don't think Greg Henslee needs to go on Undercover Boss to know what it's like to start at the bottom. From what I understand, both he and Ted Wise started at the bottom: one as a driver and the other behind the counter.



As far as cooperation is concerned, I'd like to share a "pre-column" event that is appropriate to the conversation taking place here. We just had one of our suppliers call us to tell us that the parts we wanted were available through a competitor faster than they could supply them. I've been here for thirty years and I can't think of another instance where anything like that has happened... All I do know was that it is refreshing and long overdue. That, and the fact that both will get a lot more of my business as a result.



Once again, I'd like to thank each of you for everything you do. It ain't easy, but it's what we do!



Thanks




avatar   Jay   star   3/1/2010   6:52 PM

It's not Greg. Greg is quite down to earth guy and we all know these guys it would be kind of hard for them to get away with that. I've worked on only commission and that sucks this commission isn't much but any and all can and will help. I've been in the automotive industry for around ten years now 6 in O'Reilly's only part store I've ever worked for but they aren't bad to work for. I'm in a small enough store that we aren't paid much attn to. but we do alright.



avatar   Gabe   star   3/1/2010   6:04 PM

Jose that is a comment a submitted to corporate LOL



avatar   Lloyd Roark   star   3/1/2010   3:24 PM

I have been in the auto industry for about 30 years. As a mech most of the time and I am now in the parts side of it. You said one thing that I see as very true, that is the right part thing. Most of the time the mech can not determine what part it is unless he " gets a very accurate reading from all the machines that are available. Then you have the parts tech. that some are very good and can walk you through but most of the time, time is the factor for both sides. You get in a hurry and you look at the wrong side of the equation. Then finding that part is a trick in itself, one chain has some the other chain has others but you can not get them all unless you really do your home work. Some times you have no choice but to go used to get the right part.



avatar   tim   star   3/1/2010   3:24 PM

Why all the hatred? I have friends who work for all the big guys and we get along fine. The problem with the aftermarket system (which is the actual topic not bash the green company) is no one wants to work with other people. Here in Jacksonville we had to DC's ISW and Patten we would deliver parts to our delivery customers for our competitor and they would do the same for us. We would sell to each other at a discounted price and simply add 10% to our customers. The customers knew that we worked together and appreciated. If I didn't have something I would call around and find out who had it and if it made more sence I would send the customer to them. The customer would appreciate your effort and keep coming back to you because they would know that you would find it for them if you didn't have it. But now we can't sell to the competitors (hoping their customer would come to us for the whole ticket). So while competition is good it also has it's problems and that's one of the main problems.



avatar   Tom   star   3/1/2010   3:11 PM

No I don't see how anyone could make a house payment. Maybe an outhouse. I use it to pay my parts bill. Sometimes I can pay all of it.



avatar   Will   star   3/1/2010   2:17 PM

We all have to work hard to get anywhere. Friend of mine joined the Navy after his parts manager at Saturn told him she'd fire him for not getting a real job with a huge opportuniy to do something great. He is in Nuclear Propullsion now. Auto parts is not a place to get rich off of. It's a good job sure. Fairly secure job as long as people need parts for cars. Easy to get into and you can learn a lot. I ask questions of my shops all the time. Commision is a bonus that O'Reilly options to motivate employees to sell more. I don't rely on my bonus to pay bills. It helps at the end of the month, but I can't make a house payment just on it alone.



avatar   Tom   star   3/1/2010   1:43 PM

Greg, You must remember the Mafia doesn't have to pay commission at all. No other parts store does to my knowledge. If you hired in under the impression you would make alot of money off commission then you got hooked. Commission is extra on top of your pay. I would never take a job and try to figure your commission as always being the same. I am happy to get it. My drivers get about 80 bucks a month. No that isn't much. But they get it for delivering not selling. The better they are the more calls I get. Which will make them more commission.



avatar   Jay   star   2/27/2010   4:54 PM

I've been passed twice for management I'm only a Asst. Manager and have worked under good managers and bad managers. Its very discoraging I know. I was top salesman in our store till some one F-up he gets to stay in the store so I now get windsheild time he gets all the sales. It will happen if you want it and Emotion helps a lot in this job. I've flown off at the bosses several time my theory is everyone puts their pants on the same way I do why treat them any different. or breath the same air walk on the same earth I do must abide by the same rules I do that make them no different than me. I move from driver 6 years ago to assnt manager in 1.5 years. and Ive stayed here as assnt manager.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/27/2010   3:06 PM

I wouldn't say our crew is bad. We do pretty darn well, and hold our own in our district. But let me put it this way. Before we got Beau back 50% of our sales came from 2 people. One was the commercial sales person. The other was me! That was with a crew of 9 commercial sales was about 26% and I was 24% when I could keep up with the commercial sales, even beating him a couple months. What does that tell you. It tells you I am pulling alot of weight now multiply that by 3 years. With the highest productivity in our district somewhere in the 130-180% range. It gets very tiring, and annoying especially when you take a pay cut you worked hard for. Also, when you don't see any upward movement in your future. I came from auto shops, I also was in the Marines. I don't have a nicey nice politically correct mentality. I expect things done, done right, and as fast as humanly possible. My manager is super nice, never gets upset, and actually a great guy. But he talks to me about moving up to management and has these questions about how I would handle things. He is afraid I may say or do something in anger. Even though with people I am never that way. Although when I voice my opinions privately I am a little upset or frustrated. So I can tell just because of my mentality he seems to think I can not be management, because I have some great emotional change that has to happen. Although, I am perfectly fine with customers, and fellow employees telling them what needs to be done without incident. So I see myself bustin' my a** for no reason except the fact, that I take pride in my work, and anything less is unacceptable. But from my life experience those who fall asleep on the job are promoted to management, and those that actually work stay right where they are.



avatar   Ed   star   2/26/2010   9:32 PM

Gabe, the commission is a double-edged sword. It pushes you to act as a team, no single person can turn a store around. If you see your manager as the root of your problems, inform your DM, if he/she fails to act after making several reports, go higher. Show them that you care about the store. Once a good team is in place, then the sky is the limit. There is an Advance in Charlotte that averages $90K a week. It took a good team and a strong leader to get them there and if Advance paid on commission, can you imagine what kind of commission check even the part timers would get?



avatar   Ed   star   2/26/2010   4:07 PM

Doc, which city was this that I did not give you a job? And how bad was your application/resume/interview that I choose a kid from Nascar Tech who one day asked "Who makes the Mustang?" over you?



avatar   Gabe   star   2/26/2010   3:21 PM

God! I hope not! I am afraid of big wigs seeing what I say! The gistapo will come!



avatar   Tom   star   2/26/2010   3:16 PM

Gabe I feel for you man. Just remember you get paid by the hour hopefully so just relax and chug along. I find myself in those same kinda situations at times. Don't let em see you sweat. That's why you were called in.Take it as a complement. Maybe someone will say thanks. If your lucky you will get some compensation for your efforts.I'm betting more than just us parts guys read this.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/26/2010   1:56 PM

Then on days like today! The commercial guy isn't here, because he had a baby. Now keep in mind there are 3 people here today. I get called to come in early! Why!? Because those 3 can't handle it and they know it. So I come in to handle it. So far, my manager was upset, because I didn't answer a phone, because I was helping a customer. But there is a crabby a** driver putting stock away. Who doesn't attempt to answer it. Then I am swamped by customers, same driver/parts guy tells some of them one of these guys will help you. When I was the only one on the counter, and walks away. Then my manager takes in a rotor turn job. Does he start it!? Nope! A while later he comes to me and says, "By the way I have rotors for you to turn!" So I am thinking you called me in because all 3 of you are worthless. You yell at me for the phone, because you are all worthless and expect me to pick up your guy's slack. Oh and I will turn that rotor too, because again all 3 of them are worthless. Just give me all 3 of their pay, and I will run the store myself in the morning. Because obviously they can't!



avatar   PERRY M.   star   2/26/2010   12:11 PM

DOC.your welcome!YOUR NOT GONE YET?



avatar   William   star   2/26/2010   11:16 AM

First off, Doc you sound like a real professional. Secondly, Iv been in the automotive field for 10 yrs, the last two of which I've been in the parts business. In those years I've seen the old timers who knew a lot be replaced by the younger ones that don't know a distributor from their own butt. I never understood why until I started working for a parts company. I found out that it is partially corporate greed, but its also basic economics. This is a consumer based business, and when people are not shelling out the money on the more expensive parts, the company has to make cut backs. I'm not saying hiring a young kid who knows very little is the best thing, but in some cases its the only way to stay open. The store I work at, is in a small town. We have a very small pool of "qualified" parts people in town, all of which are working for somewhere. When someone leaves, we can't wait for someone with experience to walk in, and no one wants to drive from a larger area to work in a small town, so we have to hire who we can just to keep enough employees.



avatar   Ed   star   2/25/2010   6:19 PM

Beau, more than just a 3000 or more stores. The Green Mafia at the end of 2009 had 1 more store than Advance Auto Parts, making us the second largest auto parts retailer in the nation.



avatar   Beau   star   2/25/2010   5:58 PM

Ya know, I think it's time we start something. If a few of us here can get the attention of Mr. Schneider with just a couple of comments, imagine what we might be capable of if we band together. There isn't a reason why we can't make a list of injustices that should be corrected or ideas/practices that work at the store level and show them to the people who make the big bucks. The Green Mafia has some 3000 stores now with an average of 5+ people working there? One voice might not seem like much but 15,000 voices sure would stir something up.



avatar   Tom   star   2/25/2010   4:37 PM

WILL Here a pat on the back for you. That is the most honest comments I've heard from someone new in the business. Sounds like you were brought up right in my books and have morals,standards,and respect for your peers. I wish you the best in your career. You may not get rich, but you can make a living selling parts.I hope to retire from it. Meantime I still enjoy working in parts sales.



avatar   will   star   2/25/2010   3:55 PM

I have to agree with Kim to a certain degree.I'm only 22 years old and I've been in the parts industry for only 2 years.I know I'm new at this compared to many of the hardened parts guys.But new or experienced has little to do with how much you get paid these days.I now make $8.24 per hour and I didn't start out making that but I know guys who have been at this industry for decades and only make a dollar or two more than I.I started out as the kid who didn't know as much as he thought and I still don't know as much as there is to know.I'm not that upset over how much I'm paid because others deserve more for their knowledge.At any rate my opinion is that ol' fashioned greed is the root to our problems.Big corporations are sucking every last penny out of their patrons while hiring inexperienced workers,not training effectively, and keeping payroll down.My company tries to keep payroll percentages below around 12-15%.And you wonder why people can no longer make decent careers out of this industry.



avatar   Ed   star   2/25/2010   3:55 PM

Chris, I left a service manager position at the three bobble heads on my own accord, I was making $16.50/hr, and took a job with Advance Auto Parts as a full time sales associate at $8.00/hr in the assistant manager in training program. I halved my pay and no I am not insane, for four and a half years I was in that shop and let's face it, Mitch's job, as well as any aftermarket service writer's job is difficult. Everyone who comes in is angry, even with routine maintenance the customers are perturbed. Four and a half years of getting yelled at for 10 hours a day, five days a week was not fun and certainly nowhere near the pay I was getting. In parts retail, people still come in angry, but less so since they already venting all over the person who diagnosed their car.



avatar   kim   star   2/25/2010   3:26 PM

Comment by:

Chris

2/2/2010

4:57 PM .... If you were a certified mechanic, would you want to work at a parts counter for ~$10/hour? And that's on the upper end of starting pay, mind you. It has often been said that you can't make a career out of auto parts like you could thirty years ago, and I would have to agree that this is largely true. Hiring 18-year-olds fresh out of high school with no automotive experience seems great on the payroll side of things, but when the returns and irate customers start to roll in, the profits start to dwindle. Far better to lose the pimply-faced teens and hire people with the knowledge, or pay to properly train the teens. Payroll will be up, yes, but profits will be up even more. It's yet another expression of "You get what you pay for." THIS SUMS IT UP.(taken from a previous descussion)




avatar   howardg   star   2/25/2010   1:30 PM

I agree with Mitch we need standards. Affina wants the government to regulate brake parts. Now being a former marine and waiting 16 days for socks really worries me when the government "gets into the industry". On the other hand I cringe on two lane roads thinking that the guy behind me has 9 dollar pads on the front of his car. What could us capitalists do to regulate things like that. Our pocketbooks won't allow " the industry " to work together. Someone with a lot more say so will have to stand up for whats right to fix this issue.



avatar   Tom   star   2/25/2010   12:34 PM

You said it Doc. It's all about PRICE. I do have shops that really hate import parts. If it is made in China or Mexico they have a fit. DIY on the other hand doesn't seem to care.I wonder if they call the grocery store and price shop a loaf of bread.



avatar   Doc Brown   star   2/25/2010   11:51 AM

Been a parts guy for 20+ years, retail, wholesale and dealer. From my point of view, the problems we encounter most often stem from the fact that the customer at the shop HAD to be over promised or they would take their business down the road. As a service writer, you MUST be aware of your competitors ability to steal your bussiness. Same for the parts guy with "LOW PRICE GUARANTEE" on his shirt. We have become whores to the price game. The consumer has driven our indusrty to the brink, but where would we be without them? EDUCATION is the key! The customer should have it spelled out to them. Tell them the truth even if it hurts....I only wish the guy down the street would do the same when the customer got there.



avatar   Tom   star   2/25/2010   10:49 AM

Door Stop, I'm apologizing more for getting off the subject. And these were just my observations. Seems you see the same thing.It was just a statement of sorts.Some may have took offense is all I'm saying.



avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/24/2010   7:13 PM

First of all, don't change anything - especially, not for me! One of the reasons I came to and remained in this industry was because I wasn't as comfortable in that other world.



As far as the pressure and problems are concerned, venting is healthy. Doing something about, though, is healthier!



Now, the question: What to do?



Certification is good on both sides of the counter, but industry-wide standards and licensing would be better... And, before someone out there pops an aneurysm - I'm talking about self-licensing: the BAR exam, the CPA exam, AMA accreditation - none of which are government agencies. All it takes is talking to one another and sufficient pain to move the industry off center.



It will happen when the pain becomes unbearable or we find there is no one out there willing to join us unless something changes...



That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!



Oh, one more thing... I really didn't know these discussions were taking place until the other day and I found that out by accident. Now that I know you guys are talking about what I've written about I'll be dropping by regularly. I like what's going on here!




avatar   Door Stop   star   2/24/2010   4:27 PM

Wow! Mitch does live and breath. And Tom.. Are you seriously apologizing for statements that are true? And Mitch you know damn well that techs and auto guys talk like that all the time, this is not your white collar cubby at a high-rise office. This is the auto. Biz.



avatar   Tom   star   2/24/2010   12:33 PM

Mitch I will have to agree that things got a little off subject. If I offended anyone I'm sorry. You are correct in saying not very professional. You can also see there is tension on this side of the counter also. Bad thing is it sounds like the tension is not related to the shop or customer but internal. I suppose if people in your position read about these issues you may have a better understanding of the countermans position.You also bring up a very important point about a tech being certified so they can increase pay. Most parts stores have these type of programs also. Some take advantage of them, some just complain.I'm betting you can right an article on this subject somehow. The feathers will fly for sure.

Mitch I will not be offended at all if you remove any comment I have made that you deem offensive. Thanks




avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/23/2010   11:52 PM

Not sure how the discussion got to where it is from where it was, but I'm sure someone must know.



It is interesting to note, however, that there is evidently a fairly large pocket of pent up emotion running through the industry. That generally indicates 'pressure' somewhere. But, if there is pressure you've got to wonder how that pressure gets relieved. It can't continually build. The Laws of Physics won't allow it. It's got to vent someplace or somehow. The question we all have to ask ourselves is how or where?



When I first looked at some of these posts I was almost offended. You've got to admit, a few of them are somewhat less than "professional," or even appropriate for 'polite' company. But, then I started to think about the pressure building throughout the industry, both sides of the industry: service and parts, and I realized that maybe opportunities like this serve as a kind of safety valve.



I'm OK with that. But, frankly, I'd rather see some of that pressure channeled in a more positive direction... Like, 'fixing' the things that everyone agrees are broken.



So... What's broken?



I think people who do what I do on the service side should make more money... IF they take the time and make the effort to become certified and if they remain qualified and competent.



I know I can make more money doing other things, but this is what I love so I'm not leaving. I'd rather work towards fixing it than leave it busted and broken on the side of the road.



I don't know what parts professionals are paid... From the conversation, my guess is it isn't enough either. Maybe you love what you're doing as much as I do... But, that doesn't mean we can't take a whack at straightening some of this crap out, and I've got to believe: polished or not, polite or not, professional or not; it starts with discussions just like this one.



No one knows what you're thinking till you tell them. No one knows if you're in pain or not until you show them where it hurts. And, no one cares unless there is a good reason - a personal reason - for them to care, and that generally has at least a little to do with how what's hurting you will eventually hurt them.



But, nothing ever happens... Nothing will ever happen, unless or until we - all of us - do something about it, and doing something about in the commercial world generally has something to do with creating Value for someone. If you're an employee, creating Value for your boss or your clients generally translates into more money. If you're an owner, creating Value for your clients and customers generally translates into higher volume or more money or both.



Now, all we have to agree on is what constitutes value in our business and then all we have to do is figure out how to create it!



There! That's it! I've just solved all of our problems... Now, it's off to bed!



Oh, and what were you guys trying to give




avatar   Sam   star   2/23/2010   7:28 PM

Hey Buzz I did not see anywhere in Tom's statement mentioning any certain person. You assumed he was speaking of fedup.He was making a general statement.If you have a job in this economy you are doing better than some. Gov't sets the min. wage although I'm unsure anyone can live on it.I'm also sure nobody has a gun to there head keeping them at a job. You can always quit.Complaining about it doesn't change the outcome.



avatar   Tom   star   2/23/2010   5:53 PM

If the Mafia doesn't pay him enough he should find a better job or takes steps to move forward.I've yet to see a manager here put in 80 hours.I don't consider you an ahole, but you must be a real joy to work with.



avatar   Bob   star   2/23/2010   3:36 PM

works great! until you have a large University city w/ Doctors & Lawyers & Professors 45 mins. down the road from a manufacturing blue collar town. really blows the ratio out of whack, if you know what I mean! Volvo, Audi, & BMW versus Chevy, Ford & Chrysler



avatar   howardg   star   2/23/2010   3:15 PM

Some parts stores in the nation use a system of classification specific to the region that they are doing business in. Somehow or another the powers that be obtain registration information about the vehicles in the area. Then try to formulate a mix that will satisfy demand. Thats the best we have so far. Does it work? In some instances it does. In our area we have numerous older cars and trucks that dont fit the classification system. Now if we could hire people away from the psychic freinds network we really could have everything you need right here on our shelves.



avatar   Tom   star   2/23/2010   1:08 PM

Hey Buzz, We give out pickles at the Green Mafia. GO FIGHT WIN WITH THE MAFIA.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/22/2010   11:19 PM

I think you have your next article in counterman here Mitch! LOL



avatar   PERRY M.   star   2/22/2010   4:35 PM

WHAT?



avatar   Kim   star   2/22/2010   4:28 PM

Sorry Gabe! meant to you are right! I guess "harder" was the wrong choice of words. What I was trying to say was we need to all see how hard the other person is working to help get the "job on the rack" done, from the warehouse right on through to the mechanic. Well,okay, no rose colored glasses, most of us are anyway.



avatar   Kim   star   2/22/2010   2:14 PM

Gabe,you are "harder" was a bad choice of words.Being tired mentally is better choice. like your idea of dinner once a month or so!with shop owners, mechanics, and parts people!



avatar   Will @ 916   star   2/22/2010   2:01 PM

Gabe, Awsome idea!!! You know as well as I do, we never hear about PROBLEMS until it's to late. By then your shop owners/managers are mad as hell and you have no clue as to why. "I can't fix it if I don't know what's broken"(Clint Eastwood--Heartbreak Ridge) Our drivers usually don't ask "Is there anything you need?" To get together and voice concerns can end up in sales or problem solving sessions that we need to be in on. Maybe someone up high will read this and figure out a way to arrange this to happen, say once a week or twice a month.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/22/2010   1:35 PM

Actually, something occurred to me Will. There was an article on here about Minnesota shops promoting themselves. It reminded me of the last shop I worked in. The owner would get together with other shops in the area once a month. They would all go to a local restaurant/bar and talk about business. This meeting included shops from St. Paul/Minneapolis the surrounding suburbs, and even some shops in Wisconsin. They would share ideas, talk about things that made their shops run better and so on. If their store manager, ISS's, and TSM's could get in on these meetings. Everyone paid for their own meals, anda so on. That could work, with the intention of the O'Reilly people gettign across to the shops that we are all a team, and the auto parts store is as much of a team member to them as one of their mechanics. We as auto parts people can ease alot of the stress' they experience in an auto shop. If we knew what supplies each shop uses alot of, we could stock them specifically for them. If we knew what part seems to be failing alot on a new car, we could stock that part. That is one thing I miss from working in a shop, is not seeing what is a common problem on news cars being made.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/22/2010   1:26 PM

Kim-I've worked in a shop in one way or another for most of my life, before selling parts. I will tell you from experience a mechanics job is harder. A parts person is difficult in more of a mentally draining way. Think about going dash diving in a car, upside down ottally under the dash of a car. When you get out your body tells you it wasn't made to bend that way. Think about bending over the fender of a car most of the day. I know as I have gotten older if I bend over the fender too long, my leg actually starts to shake, or convulse slightly. How about lifting heavy truck rims and tires up to your chest to put on a vehicle on a lift. Or doing alignments and whacking your head on the rolling jacks over and over again, because you think they are farther a way than they really are. I had a friend I worked with he turned away from a car he just popped the hood on to get a tool, and the battery exploded luckily he was not close to it anymore. I have worked in a shop where the alignment rack broke a cable, and it dropped and hit the locks with a mechanic under it. And as I turned around I saw the cable just swing around past my legs about a foot away. Not to mention alot of shops I have been in don't have A/C



avatar   Will   star   2/22/2010   1:21 PM

Gabe, Didn't know you were Green Mafia. Good idea regarding "Outside" of CAD. You'd have a lot of headache trying to find a suitable location/eatery to accomodate X amount of people. And you know the "O" wouldn't let EVERYONE off work to accomplish this, though the ISS,Manager,TSM would be sufficient. Great idea that we could pitch to Corp though!



avatar   Kim   star   2/22/2010   1:00 PM

I have worked as a service writer, aftermarket countersales(for the majority of my career)and now have experience working at the warehouse level. I have learned alot about why we do things had the store level by working at the warehouse level! I just wish the warehouse people could work at the store level awhile too. Kind of like Boxing Day in Canada, I think that;s what it's called. Where everybody changes jobs for the day to see what's its like in the other person's shoes. My ex is a mechanic, he always acted like his day was so much harder because he INSTALLED the parts that I ONLY LOOKED UP and sold!



avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/21/2010   11:49 PM

One more thing... Thanks everyone! This was... This IS a great and actually, a very productive discussion!



Mitch




avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/21/2010   11:47 PM

continued: it and putting it in the register.



If we can't keep them out of the country, let's at least force them to register, give them a work permit, tax the hell out of them (just like they tax the hell out of us) and hold them accountable to the same rules and standards all of us have to live with.



But, unless your name is Running Deer or Twelve Trees, it's a safe bet your people were immigrants here once upon a time as well: legal immigrants, I'm sure. But, immigrants, nonetheless...



And, Gabe: I think you may be right, especially regarding Mencias' quote. Hiring anyone is about value: a more expensive 'hire' has got to generate more revenue or create more value and on the service side, cheap help is never, ever cheap!



Ed: You make a great point! But, I don't think that is what my friend was implying. He was talking about the fragmentation more than anything else: the absence of a central 'purpose' and the lack of cohesive relationships.



Neither of us can survive without the other, so how is it that we aren't 'closer' than we are? How come so few shop owners have any idea how the parts get to them or what's involved? Do you really believe they don't want to know? Because, if you have dealers that don't want to know I would suggest you think about firing them!



How many know what you have to go through to do what you do? Not many, and I'll bet the reason is no one has ever shared that information with them...



Something to think about, anyway.



And, Cory: I'll tell you the same thing I just told Gabe: Quit smoking, it's bad for you!



I know... I quit thirty-six years ago and it's still beats me up every time I get sick!




avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/21/2010   11:47 PM

continued: it and putting it in the register.



If we can't keep them out of the country, let's at least force them to register, give them a work permit, tax the hell out of them (just like they tax the hell out of us) and hold them accountable to the same rules and standards all of us have to live with.



But, unless your name is Running Deer or Twelve Trees, it's a safe bet your people were immigrants here once upon a time as well: legal immigrants, I'm sure. But, immigrants, nonetheless...



And, Gabe: I think you may be right, especially regarding Mencias' quote. Hiring anyone is about value: a more expensive 'hire' has got to generate more revenue or create more value and on the service side, cheap help is never, ever cheap!



Ed: You make a great point! But, I don't think that is what my friend was implying. He was talking about the fragmentation more than anything else: the absence of a central 'purpose' and the lack of cohesive relationships.



Neither of us can survive without the other, so how is it that we aren't 'closer' than we are? How come so few shop owners have any idea how the parts get to them or what's involved? Do you really believe they don't want to know? Because, if you have dealers that don't want to know I would suggest you think about firing them!



How many know what you have to go through to do what you do? Not many, and I'll bet the reason is no one has ever shared that information with them...



Something to think about, anyway.



And, Cory: I'll tell you the same thing I just told Gabe: Quit smoking, it's bad for you!



I know... I quit thirty-six years ago and it's still beats me up every time I get sick!




avatar   Ed   star   2/20/2010   3:52 PM

Mitch, across the pond, it is a whole different world, economically, culturally and socially. While they may not take care of their teeth, they certainly maintain their cars in the UK. They also buy more new cars in the UK and Europe on average than the US. In the UK, you can walk into a used car lot and find a 2004 BMW 745 and it is not from a repo or a drug dealer getting locked up like it is here in the States, it is because the previous owner purchased something newer. Across the pond, people don't drop 20W50 in their Honda which calls for 5W20, just because it is over 75,000 miles. People have respect for one another over there. There are no planes crashing into government buildings and the only tea party they have involve biscuits and Earl Grey.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/20/2010   1:22 PM

Will I know O'Reilly does that I work for O'Reilly also. But I also worked in shops and I went to those. Most of us went for the free lunch, and to look at some tools and stuff. I mean a venue outside of work. Like a local store invites their commercial accounts to a local area park for a cookout kind of thing. I just don't know how the shops, and the supplier could afford this. As for illegals taking jobs. I like what Carlos Mencia says about that. How bad did your interview go that a person who can't speak english beat you for the job.



avatar   Jay   star   2/19/2010   7:26 PM

Chaos is the American way. I mean come on the country lets Illegals into the country and does nothing of it they are the reason that our job market goes to the can. cause the goverment pays for everything for them. So in turn the money the goverment dishis out for this we have to pay for. For instance in the USA you can come into this country legally start a business do great business for five years and not pay one ounce of taxes on all you make. but after five years you have to start or get this you can close that business and start another one and you have another five years. I don't know about anyone that reads these things but man that sounds like a good idea..... not...



avatar   Will   star   2/19/2010   1:36 PM

Gabe, O'Reilly Auto Parts does that every year. We call it Customer Appreciation Day. We cook burgers and hotdogs and it gives us a chance to talk to our customers (retail & wholesale). It usually has a good turnout. Not all companies do that though. Napa never did it in the 5 years I was there. Don't know if AZ or Advance do anything like that.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/19/2010   1:06 PM

Somethign dawned on me when I finished my lunch, and went for my smoke. Mitch you once talked about a lunch you ad with a supplier. I also realized the auto parts stores, and the shops are a team. If we (the parts guy) respect a certain shop we recommend that shop. Plus, we supply what you need. An idea came to my head. I don't know how you's pull it off. But companies tend to have company picnics, store meetings etc. If shops and suppliers could get together in some sort of picnic, or luncheon thing. It would put faces with a voice. It would let you see your suppliers, and your shop people outside of work. Sometimes in my store we all go out to eat together. Laugh, eat, talk, and when we come back to work it tends to bring back morale, and commradery. If there was a way to get multiple shops in an area together, with your local parts people maybe that could help build teamwork between shops, and suppliers.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/19/2010   12:50 PM

You know in my life experience I have noticed the guy who falls asleep at work get promoted, and the ones who care and work hard get squat. I happen to fall in the squat category, maybe that's why people don't care. I was a service writer for years. I knew my stuff, the mechanics thought I was the best service writer they ever had. I didn't promise customers nothing, and I was always honest with them right from the get go. If a job took 3 hours I told them expect it at 5 pm when we close, unless some unforseen thing happens. But then again the last shop I worked at was good. We had a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty on all our work. I still believe the world is too fast paced now, and getting faster. I believe people miss time with their family, even eating dinner together. People are tired of being taken advantage of by their employer. Working with a skeleton for chump money, with productivity through the roof. It gets tiring, and it gets old. Soon it will come to a head in our future. People will just have enough. Everyone needs to slow down, take time, relax, and worry more about the real things that matter in life.



avatar   Dave Elliott   star   2/19/2010   9:01 AM

Buzz, you are correct we do over promise and under deliver. Both sides. I don't know how many times I've been told not to quote a time frame on a delivery when we are behind. Just say "I'll get it right out to you". Now when it takes forty five minutes to get it across a small town, how much credibility do I have when I am asked a question about a part? I'm not supposed to tell when all my drivers are out. (I have four trucks) So where do I draw the line? Each customer is different. Some wait until fifteen minutes after they need the part to call about it. While others want to order the parts before doing a complete inspection, causing multiple trips to the same place for the same car all day long. Then on this end, we sometimes pull a wrong part. That's right I said it, we make mistakes. We do our best to correct them, we man up and admit them. And yes, I have been on the other side of the phone. I was in management at Western Auto, I've sold tires and service, and I know what you see Mitch. I found out that people are dishonest. Yes they are, I know you are stunned by this new information, but people will lie about their vehicle and what it's been through. Like why do your brakes wear out every two months? Do you use this car on a paper route or something? NO? Then why are your right side suspension parts worn out so much more than the left??? I decided a long time ago I wanted out of that side of the industry. I don't care to ever sell service again. Just parts.



avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   2/18/2010   8:29 PM

I just dropped the site and found this incredible collection of comments and responses.



All I can say is: Wow! And, I’m sorry I didn’t stop by sooner. Generally, your comments are forwarded to the shop and drop into my regular Inbox. In this instance, they didn’t: Not sure why.



In any case, I would like to respond…



I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up!



Johhny Rocket: First of all, appointments at our shop are made for the day whenever possible. We know there are problems: unforeseen problems, that come up all the time. And, for whatever it’s worth, we do take into consideration things like Road Tests (two, in fact: before & after) and Quality Control – we wash every car or truck we work on. We’re brutally honest with our clients as our philosophy is simple: We’d rather lose a job on price or completion time than deal with the cost of Prilosec, Lithium and Thorazine!



Buzz: First, I like it here and not there… That’s why I’m here and not there. On your other points, I couldn’t agree with you more, both for your segment and mine! I spoke to a group of shop owners and parts professionals in a neighboring community last night and told them this is all about personal responsibility. It’s about time everyone “started the sentence with “I.”



Me: (Not sure how both of us could be “Me?”) We run a cable commercial that actually starts out by proclaiming that we are SLOW: as in meticulous, careful and precise. It brought in more people: more of the right kind of people, than any other commercial we’ve run either before or since. Interesting!



Second: When Frank Martinez, my Service Advisor and Manager, started here the very first thing we told him was that there was to be no selling. We inspect, identify, estimate and present – after that, it’s up to the customer. We tell them the truth: We didn’t design it. We didn’t build it. We didn’t drive it. And, we certainly didn’t break it. All we can do is help them get it back on the road and our success depends a lot on our distribution partners.



Will: What did Bill Clinton used to say: “I feel your pain!” When did we become so selfish? And, when did skill and craftsmanship become “instant” and “disposable?”



Ed: I’m not sure I can or would argue. But, you have to wonder why “WE” have allowed this to go on so long. It’s almost as if there is a benefit to our remaining this fragmented, but whose?



Dan: In all honesty, I try very hard not to do that… But, in all honesty, I can’t say I never have. What I have done is call and apologize afterward… And, then I try to make it up to whoever I’ve leaned on any way I can… But, there is still no excuse.



Bones: Don’t know, but I’ve wondered the same thing about me…



Mattk: Not sure that’s altogether true… We work pretty hard: 60 hours a week or more! And, I’m not sure we can’t fix it… Whose actually tried?



Carl Ray: Why is




avatar   mattk   star   2/18/2010   5:10 PM

sounds like every one is mad at every thing they cant change try working harder and talking less SOME ONE WILL NOTICE WONT THEY?



avatar   mattk   star   2/18/2010   5:09 PM

sounds like every one is mad at every thing they cant change try working harder and talking less



avatar   Dan   star   2/17/2010   7:23 PM

Good case in point: I have a customer who owns a tire store. MANY times he has called bit%$#ng about delivery time when the part was only called in 7 minutes ago and he's 4 1/2 minutes away. Then in a few minutes, he'll call back apologizing saying something like "my customer was getting antsy, so

I needed to appease them"!! Yeah! That's a good reason to take it out on us, isn't it!!




avatar   Ed   star   2/17/2010   3:39 PM

From Mitch's point, the problem does not stem from the aftermarket or distribution or local jobber, it comes from the shop owner or service advisor, who is a bit like a used car salesman, they will say and promise anything to put that car on their lift. Then they expect us to fulfill their promises for them, how fair is that? The real title of this article should be Why Is The American Aftermarket Repair Industry Is In Chaos?



avatar   Will   star   2/17/2010   11:52 AM

All valid points..... The American consumer is all about ME ME ME and NOW NOW NOW! They don't understand concepts like "Have to order" "Have to run diagnostic" or my favorite-"National Backorder/No Release Date" and many phrases asscociated with ALMOST EVERY business this country has. Wal-Mart doesn't stock everything in one store either and neither can a parts store on EASY STREET USA. Service writers are notorious for promising stuff quick... They aren't the ones looking up price and availabilty in the parts room, but they'll sure blame parts when parts can't be found through other dealers or local jobbers or it takes a week to get in through whoever you end up locating one from.



avatar   ME   star   2/17/2010   9:46 AM

I THINK WE ALL NEED TO THANK THE JIFFY LUBES OF THE WORLD FOR THAT SUPER FAST SERVICE. NOT!!! THE ISSUE LIES IN THE CONSUMER AND THE SHOP PERSONNEL. SHOP OWNERS AND THEIR SALESMEN ARE PROGRAMMED TO MAKE THE SALE, BUT WHEN YOU GIVE A REAL TIME ESTIMATE ON A BRAKE JOB THE CUSTOMER LOOKS LIKE YOU JUST SHOT THEIR DOG. SO THE SALES RESPONSE IS TO OVER PROMISE. SALESMEN, STAND UP AND BE HONEST PEOPLE, TELL THE CUSTOMER THAT YOU CAN'T DO A PROPER BRAKE JOB IN 15 MINUTES. START TRAINING THE MASSES TO CALM DOWN AND BE PATIENT.



avatar   Buzz Killington   star   2/17/2010   9:21 AM

damn I get tired of hearing how great it is in Europe. You think we're over regulated? Try starting a business over there. The taxes will kill you first. Then consumer regulatory boards wear you out every time you try to make a buck, or euro rather.

The problem here is we have direct control in our country of how we do business, but we never take the time to stand up for ourselves when the proverbial poop hits the fan. Then we stand around and cry about it. C'mon people, get involved and protect your interests, keep big brother out of it. People in Europe know they can't get their engine rebuilt in an hour because they are educated consumers. Over here we over-promise and under-deliver, and that creates chaos. Thanks alot big-box stores.




avatar   johnny rocket   star   2/16/2010   3:51 PM

There is chaos because people like mitch who own shops and manage them tell the customers what they want to hear and not what is true or reality. When you tell a customer one hour to do the job, did you tell them that does not include logging it in? test driving the car? racking the car? inspection? ordering the parts.. for the wrong year of course.. then finally starting the job? Hell no you don't. And until you can be honest with yourself and the customers your going to have chaos for the rest of your career.



avatar   Tom   star   2/16/2010   2:20 PM

Gabe, Missouri sure has come along ways.It's now or I'll move on. Being a ISS at the parts store I get a call on the same part about 6 times. One from every shop in town. They sound surprised when I finish there order in the middle of them talking. GO GO GO I sure miss the old days. 8-5 and no Sundays. Didn't know how good we had it until now. Remember the blue law. There is still a town down here that has it. Seneca Mo. all you can do there is buy gas,food and gamble at the Indian casino.



avatar   SASQUATCH   star   2/15/2010   3:43 PM

GABE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THE PHRASE "TIME IS MONEY" HAS BECOME ALL TOO TRUE THESE DAYS. THE CHAOS DOESN'T COME FROM MY(PARTS) INDUSTRY OR YOUR(SERVICE)INDUSTRY EITHER. BUT THE CUSTOMER... PERFECT EXAMPLE. FRIDAY I WENT TO ONE OF MY CUSTOMERS SHOP TO GET ME SOME NEW TIRES, THERE WAS A LADY THERE DOING THE SAME. I WAS JUST FINE WITH LEAVING MY TRUCK THERE TO GET THE ONES I WANTED, THEY WEREN'T STOCKED THERE. THE LADY ON THE OTHER HAND WANTED 4 TIRES THAT WEREN'T THERE, AN OIL CHANGE AND AN ALIGNMENT, AND SHE WANTED ALL OF THIS IN AN HOUR. THUS CHAOS INSUED. WE AS A COUNTRY ARE JUST TOO DAMNED IMPATIENT. IF YOU GET ONLINE AND LOOK UP THE MOST IMPATIENT COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD WE WOULD BE AT LEAST IN THE TOP 5.



avatar   Gabe   star   2/15/2010   3:06 PM

This one is easy Mitch! A fast paced society, that causes a me me attitude! Everything has to be done NOW! Because we don't have time for anything else. Wasted time means stress. I remember growing up in Missouri very different than the Minnesota I spent the other half of life living in. I remember going to an auto shop with my Dad who at the time had a '66 Chevy pickup he used as a work truck. This would have been early 80's. What was going on in that shop. Was a scene from the Andy Griffith show. Nope, we don't have the parts take about a week gotta order them Raleigh. My Dad wouldn't get a call on his truck for days. Two weeks rolled by before it was done. But that is the way things use to be, in that area, and at that time.



avatar   Rod   star   2/15/2010   1:50 PM

many reasons.

1. the manager of the month, or year, each one has to change things right away so that they justify their salary to the BOD and wall street. They tend to change what was working.



2.Just in time inventory management. Just in time does not work without an accurate forecast. If it does not break, you do not sell any, how do you forecast that? So you guess. Usually wrong.

3. LONG supply lines.

4 Cores, cores and more cores.



There are more, these seem the main ones to me.
















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