Imagine this: a customer calls you asking for a part. You check your inventory and realize it’s out of stock.
That’s a lost opportunity.
You can’t always predict inventory levels with the utmost accuracy but what if there was a way around inventory shortages — one that would help you give customers what they come looking for and not turn them away?
Take Stewart’s Power Equipment for instance.
Don Stewart, Owner and General Manager at Stewart’s Power Equipment in Holbrook, MA, believes that being a power equipment dealer is all about building relationships.
Started on 1st April 1988, Stewart’s Power Equipment is a family-owned business.
Don started by doing tune-ups out of his garage. Since then, the company has grown to over 26 employees. The company also moved to a new facility recently. They are now on five acres and 34,000 square feet of building.
Stewart’s Power Equipment offers a wide range of outdoor power products (and parts) such as lawnmowers, snow throwers, generators and chainsaws among others.
We chatted with Don about his company and how Parts Locator helped him manage inventory challenges and serve customers better.
Over the past year and a half, how has the supply chain backlog impacted your business?
Don: Tremendously but we understand that manufacturers can’t complete a piece of equipment without all the required components. For instance, they can’t ship a lawnmower missing a wheel or a throttle cable.
We also understand that they are dealing with multiple vendors. Their reputation is on the line for their vendor products, and they don’t want to settle for an inferior one.
For example, I know of a throttle control manufacturing company that went to an unknown supplier and had failures down the road.
Manufacturers like Toro, Honda, LCT, Husqvarna and Echo walk a tightrope to maintain quality standards and protect their reputation.
How long have you been using Parts Locator at your dealership?
Don: Since the time it launched. We were a beta customer. We’ve been using it from day one and it works very well.
What made you want to try Parts Locator? Why were you interested in testing it initially?
Don: We wanted to see if it worked first.
When someone calls us saying that they want part XYZ and we don’t have it, we use Parts Locator. We either send the customer directly to the dealer or if the customer wants to buy it from us, we ask the dealer to send the part to us.
Has it had an impact on your business?
Don: It has helped our customers which is what it’s all about.
How did you find the experience of learning to use Parts Locator?
Don: Well, there is no learning curve. It’s very simple to use.
You enter the part details on Parts Locator and it presents all the dealers that have that part. The results are sorted distance-wise along with their stock situation.
Has Parts Locator helped you liquidate any aging parts or anything at your store?
Don: I’m glad you mentioned that because it has.
Earlier this year, we were able to liquidate an obsolete component that we were stuck with. It was either NLA or not going to be available for a long time. Thanks to Parts Locator, we were able to give it to another dealer who needed it for their customer.
How often does your dealership use Parts Locator?
Don: We use it every day.
Whenever someone comes in looking for something, we look it up on Parts Locator. We enter the product line, manufacturer line and part number.
We always use OEM parts such as authentic Honda or Toro parts. It works very well for us and we plan on using it as long as it’s available.
Do you have tips for other dealers on how to navigate the supply chain backlogs situation?
Don: Try and stay ahead on your orders. We run reports whenever we’re generating purchase orders and we’re fully integrated with c-Systems.
From general ledger and AR to AP and purchasing, we use it for everything. From what I understand, not a lot of dealers use it as extensively as we do.
Instead of projecting out days or weeks, our parts manager projects out 12 to 24 months in advance to stay ahead of the curve.
Parts Locator is completely free for c-Systems Infinity customers. Want to learn more about how Parts Locator can help you find affordable parts or liquidate old stock? Click here to learn more.