What Is A Good Parts Specialist Worth?

What Is A Good Parts Specialist Worth?

If the initial training for a parts specialist would cost $3,000 and increase their performance, it would still equate to a $2,000 savings from that of a technician. Maybe our perspective should shift from what we are doing, to what we are not doing.

By DeWayne Demland

The other day, I was at a meeting with the local automotive association that was meeting with the chairman of the commerce committee for the state legislature. Everyone who was there represented different aspects of the aftermarket: regional and national associations, WDs, manufacturing representatives, program distributors and even education.

Prior to the start of this meeting, I was discussing education with several people there. This is a passion that I have always had, especially in this industry. The discussion centered around the education of parts specialists, and this was something several of the people there voiced as a concern. The cost of one program to train parts specialists was mentioned in this discussion. Someone thought the cost of this program was too much. This stirred up something deep inside me, as I was thinking that this is definitely an issue that needs to be tackled.

Most automotive technician programs cost about $5,000. Keep in mind that these technicians pay for their education on their own, most prior to ever being employed as a technician. This is just their initial training; they will be required to continue their training in order to stay current with the changes in the industry. Depending on the path the technician takes, that education will come from an OEM or from us in the
aftermarket.

Many of us have been involved with putting on clinics for our customers so that they stay current in being able to repair these vehicles. Along with that is the hope that they will “remember” who helped give them that knowledge — those of us who supply parts for them, and will come to us for the parts to repair these vehicles. The unmentioned advantage for us as parts professionals, is that we also gain the same knowledge and insight; adding to our ability to serve our customers even better. This is referred to as “continuing education,” and in many professions and jobs, it’s a requirement. This continuing education is an added expense to either the technician or the employer, on top of their initial training.

So let’s look at how we train a parts specialist. Is there an initial training that they go through? Typically, no. When we hire them we would probably hope that they have some sort of mechanical background. So, in many cases, the only training they receive is in the form of continuing education that is provided in-house or through the clinics they attend for technicians. In many ways, this in itself could be problematic. After all, who is the customer coming to because they may not be able to fix the problem?

So, what is the difference between “initial training” and “continuing education?” Basically, the format. Continuing education is short highlights of a given system, problem or even a product. They are most often limited in depth, and many make assumptions about the level of knowledge that the students have coming into the training. They are not typically done in a systematic approach, and may jump from one subject to another. There may even be extended time between each session. The approach in initial training will be a complete systematic way of looking at the subject. It will be in-depth and will make no assumptions as to the level of knowledge that the students bring with them.

There are an extremely limited number of options for initial training for a parts specialist. In this context then, any cost for this training could be perceived as expensive. This could also be a reflection as to why such a high percentage of our parts specialists are not producing at the same level as the top performers are in our stores. If the initial training for a parts specialist would cost $3,000 and increase their performance, it would still equate to a $2,000 savings from that of a technician. Maybe our perspective should shift from what we are doing, to what we are not doing.

DeWayne Demland is president of Automotive Parts Training LLC of Phoenix, Ariz.

You May Also Like

AACF Applications Increase 90 Percent in Wake of Wildfires

The Camp Fire destroyed 14,000 residences, displaced thousands and left more than 80 dead and hundreds missing.

wildfire, Camp Fire

In November, applications for Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) aid increased 90 percent in the wake of the unprecedented wildfires in California.

“AACF is working hard to get checks mailed to qualified applicants within three days,” said executive director, Joel Ayres. “In addition to heartbreaking applications from fire victims, we’re also aiding those affected by recent hurricanes.”

Purolator Launches Summer Mail-in Rebate Promotion for Air Filters

The promotion will run through Aug. 31 for all Purolator air and cabin air filters.

Epicor To Demonstrate Augmented Reality eCatalog At AAPEX In Las Vegas

This “Catalog of the Future” enables users to perform inspections, visualize parts and labor information and order replacement components from the service bay, the company says.

Continental Expands Popular Asian, European And Domestic Coverage For VDO Brushless HVAC Motors

The company has added more than 30 new SKUs to its VDO Brushless HVAC Motors line, expanding the company’s coverage to include Audi, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, and Toyota automobiles and light trucks for model years 2011-’17.

OttoFran And Vast-Auto Family Hold 2017 Annual Convention

The Vast-Auto and OttoFran marketing and sales team held various workshops during which the latest market information, the new banners programs, marketing campaigns and the action plan for 2017-2018 were presented.

Other Posts

Streamlight Introduces Rechargeable KeyMate USB Flashlight

With an off/off button for constant operation, the KeyMate USB has three modes: high (35 lumens); low (16); and strobe (flashes at high lumen level). Featuring LED technology for extreme brightness, the light provides a run time of one hour on high and two hours in both the low and strobe modes.

All-New Ford Expedition Redefines Full-Size SUVs with Adaptable Interior, Smart Technology for Every Occupant

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For today’s active families, Ford introduces the all-new Expedition – the smartest, most capable and most adaptable Expedition ever – with technology to keep every passenger connected, more power for drivers, and more expected towing capability than any other full-size SUV. Related Articles – Coil Conversion Kit For 2001-’05 Audi A6 And Audi allroad

Coil Conversion Kit For 2001-’05 Audi A6 And Audi allroad Quattro

For ride quality, the kit includes new custom-valved, application-specific shock absorbers. The Audi front coil spring assemblies include new upper mounts, Arnott says.

TRICO Wins 2016 Subaru Of America Supplier Excellence Award

Subaru of America, the major automobile manufacturing division of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Of Japan, implements an annual supplier rating program to monitor and improve the supplier base in order to maintain the highest quality of products and service.