A Day in the Life of the Parts Department
A day in a dealership Parts Department is not for the faint-hearted. It is an unending juggling act of customers, service technicians, wholesale clients, and sourcing, tracking and delivering more than 1 million possible parts and accessories.
Each day, the first priority is receiving special order parts that have been delivered overnight and getting them in the right hands so someone’s car can be repaired. Although, we stock over 5000 types of routinely used parts there are many that need to be special ordered.
In addition, Kia parts are not available at retail stores so if another dealership or independent shop in the Charleston area is servicing a Kia vehicle and they want to use OEM parts, they will purchase wholesale from us. In turn, our staff needs to source and purchase parts for non-Kia vehicles in our shop.
Managing inventory is a daily challenge. We need to maintain levels of commonly used parts to support our Service Department and be able to locate special order parts and get them delivered quickly. Tyler McIntyre, Parts Manager says, “It’s rewarding to be able to find the part needed to get someone’s vehicle back on the road so they can do what they need to do.”
Being a Parts Specialist requires a great deal of knowledge and the ability to talk in layman’s terms to the do-it-yourself customer who is not sure what they are looking for or needs help pairing their Bluetooth; as well as, professional service technicians and staff at other dealerships and service centers. All parts staff must attend Kia University and become certified. They may also acquire Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. Parts staff may not be able to work on vehicles, but they need an equivalent base of knowledge for all Kia models and model years to be effective.
Parts Specialist, Eric Grimsby loves the work because “Each day is different and I never stop learning.” Sarah Hilliard, Assistant Parts Manager adds, “It can be stressful, we are constantly multitasking to get all of the pieces of a puzzle to fit every day.”
The bottom line, our parts team has people coming at them non-stop from all directions. Whether it’s routine maintenance or a repair, a vehicle in our shop, one down the street or one sitting in someone’s driveway, the Parts Department is mission critical to our operations.