The crew at Pearson Buick GMC is knowledgeable and possesses more than 15 years of experience on average.  From left, are Parts Adviser Derek Brandon, Parts Adviser Steve Starr, Parts Manager Len Bradley, Wholesale/Assistant Manager Steve Sakai and Parts Adviser Robert Ochoa.

Pearson team delivers with million-dollar inventory

Pearson Buick GMC leverages parts experience and new technology to serve Bay Area

Sunnyvale, Calif.—By focusing intently on its wholesale efforts and establishing ongoing relationships with more than 2,000 Bay Area collision repairers, Pearson Buick GMC is thriving under the leadership of Parts Manager Len Bradley.

With a highly seasoned crew of 14 people consisting of five counter people and nine support staff, Pearson Buick GMC has a deep inventory of both collision and mechanical parts, but their emphasis is on crash parts. With a $1-million inventory that consists of 80 percent collision parts and a fill-rate of roughly 75 percent, Bradley is committed to the body shop side of his wholesale business.

“We have created a strong presence here as a solid source for GM crash parts and it’s been achieved by using the technology that is available to us without sacrificing the personal approach,” Bradley said. “We want our body shop customers to be able to rely on us and know that we are working for them and have their interests at heart.”

Bradley, 57, has been with GM most of his professional life and the parts manager at Pearson for two decades, he said, so he knows how to build a successful department. “In the end, shops want OE parts, so if we can help them to make it happen, that is our job,” he said. “But, it does not always come down to price and that’s why we make sure our deliveries are accurate and on-time and that our people know what they’re doing.”

To provide an additional level of support to his customers, Bradley markets a new form of technology called the Remote Assisted Programming (RAP) kit, a product that is manufactured by Drew Technologies and can be used by both mechanical and collision shops. “The unit is basically the size of a printer and it enables the user to hook up a car and program the vehicle in their own shop,” he said. “It’s very popular because they can get assistance remotely. There are so many electronic control modules on these newer cars — brakes, suspension, powertrains, engines — so this is a great piece of equipment for shops to save time and money.” 

By offering his body shop customers with a wide range of sales incentives, Bradley can keep his mechanical repairers happy and in the fold. “Our Maintenance and Repair Solution (MARS) special pricing is available through enrolled GM wholesale dealers when eligible parts are purchased through RepairLink,” Bradley said. “There are 29 categories of mechanical parts on which shops can save up to an additional 8-15 percent. GM is coming up with great incentive programs all the time and we now have two GM reps that are 100 percent dedicated to working with us on these programs.”

One of the main components behind Pearson’s success in wholesale is Bradley’s delivery system that has been refined over the years and uses cutting-edge technology. “We have a 50-mile delivery area that runs north to Oakland/San Leandro and goes south all the way down to Gilroy and we’re running six drivers and six vehicles all the time,” he said. “It’s always first in, first out with no scheduled runs, which means our drivers don’t have assigned territories. It works out well, because all of our drivers are familiar with all of our routes and it allows us to prioritize the orders.”

By using all of the technology that is available to his department, Bradley’s drivers are always accountable and in close communication with the shops. “They all have their tablets and GPS systems, so we know where they are all the time, which makes it easier to anticipate our next move,” he said. “As a result, our customers get accurate ETAs on all of our deliveries. They can go online and find out where our drivers are with their parts, which cuts down on phone calls considerably and obviously saves time.”

To further support his wholesale department, Pearson contracts a total of five outside sales people to visit shops in its region. “With five people out there walking into shops, we have five more chances to get that business and then it’s our job to retain them,” Bradley said. “We give them support through our call center, where we have three people whose jobs are to process cold calls, follow-up calls and send our gift cards as incentives to customers. We have a part-time business development person to keep our customers happy and in the fold as well, so our outside sales people are not just out there all alone, but are backed by our team.” 

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.

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