In its 12th year, Counterman’s Professional Automotive Repair Technician Survey, or P.A.R.T.S, is packed with quite a lot of information. (You’ll find it accompanying this month’s issue of the magazine.)
Every year, we survey hundreds of technicians and shops about the jobs they perform every month and the parts and chemicals they use to do them.
Counter and other distribution professionals can make good use of the information in a number of ways. First, we tell you what a technician’s sources are for a particular category of parts. How’s that help you? If, as a jobber, you see that other sources are gaining ground in providing inventory to shops, and you’re able to verify that’s happening in your market, you can take steps to try to reverse that trend. Through our research, technicians tell us why they go to a particular source. Maybe it’s fast delivery. Maybe it’s availability. In some categories, due to the nature of the repair, availability is king.
In other areas, a knowledgeable counter and sales staff who can assist shops in selecting a particular part is more important than availability or quick delivery.
One thing you’ll probably notice in P.A.R.T.S.: Price is hardly ever the biggest part of the sourcing equation. In fact, most times, it’s the smallest part. More often than not, brand is what drives a technician to select a particular part. Quality and what a brand stands for speak volumes.
I look at P.A.R.T.S. as a snapshot of the tendencies of technicians and shops as to how they source parts. And it’s not static: From year to year, we see changes afoot. In some years, jobbers may have a commanding lead in sourcing. In other years, retailers may gain some ground. Hang onto P.A.R.T.S. and review it throughout the year. If you got your copy of Counterman magazine without P.A.R.T.S, click here.
ALMOST SHOW TIME
By the time you read this issue, AAPEX will be just around the corner. For anyone who might be attending, three words of advice: Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to need them. I had never walked before in my life as much as I do at AAPEX every year. I know at least one person who attached a pedometer to himself during AAPEX week. He logged 50 miles! That’s 12.5 miles for every day he was there. That is some serious walking!
A few quick AAPEX tips: If you tire of Vegas food, remember there’s a Walgreens on the Strip that has fresh fruit, not much, but enough to get you through. (It functions as a mini grocery store while I’m in town.) And speaking of shoes and walking, don’t take your shoes off until you’re done for the day and are back at your hotel. If you do as much walking as I think (know) you’re going to do, once you take those shoes off, your feet will likely swell like balloons, and you’ll never get those shoes back on.