Roy Robinson becomes wholesale player
Marysville, Wash.—The Roy Robinson name has been a fixture in the Marysville community for decades, as Robinson established his Chevrolet dealership in 1958, an RV center in 1975, followed by a Subaru store in 1983, said Scott Eney, parts manager, who joined the store in May 2014 after 26 years at Carter Subaru in north Seattle.
“It was an interesting challenge for me because I had been the parts manager at Carter for 14 years and was heavily involved in wholesale parts, but this store was not involved in wholesale,” Eney said. “We had been a top wholesale parts performer at Carter, so we’ve had to build this parts department to a playing level that makes us a real competitor in the market.”
To that end, Eney said he joined the Wholesale Leaders (WSL) in May 2014, a 37-year-old OEM parts delivery system he was familiar with at Carter. “Wholesale Leaders allowed us to instantly expand our footprint as we deliver parts three times a day from Bellingham to Olympia using five drop points in the Puget Sound area.”
Eney said that Rob Harris, the owner/director of Wholesale Leaders, is a “stickler for procedure” and operates a highly successful delivery system for more than 20 brands of collision and mechanical parts from dealers in the greater Seattle area. The Subaru store provides a 14-foot van for the WSL delivery system, plus operates three additional trucks for direct delivery by the Subaru parts department to select territories, he said.
Even though a new Subaru store was recently built that expanded all operations, Eney said his $550,000 parts inventory is being challenged for space on the main floor and mezzanine storage areas. “We have a well-organized inventory, but as we grow we will need additional space to service the hundreds of accounts we handle,” he said, adding that he “hits the road’ two to three times a year to visit with existing customers and gain new ones.
“We’ve been successful with our wholesale parts growth because our dealer principle, Gordy Bjorg Jr., is an outstanding man who has allowed me the freedom and trust to grow the department the way I have,” Eney said. Another factor in the growth equation is the department’s wholesale specialist, Matt Allen. “Matt has been with Subaru since 1984 and we’ve worked together for 30 years at Carter and here. He has an excellent reputation for customer service he provides a high level of professionalism.”
With daily deliveries from Subaru’s parts depot in Portland, Eney said the flow of parts, with a “great fill rate,” is also crucial to being player in the wholesale parts market. Added to that is a new CCC ONE online ordering system that allows parts customers view, select, and order parts with real-time invoicing. “We’re the only Subaru dealer in the region with CCC and it’s helping us provide even better customer service.”
Parts and service work hand in hand
With nine employees in the parts department, two parts specialists service the back counter for the service department, Eney said.
“The relationship with our service manager, Ryan Jolly, and the service department is excellent. For three consecutive years Ryan and I have received the Subaru Summit Fixed Operations Award for sales goals and customer satisfaction.”
Jolly, 21 years with Subaru, is a former service writer and has been the service manager at Roy Robinson for three years, he said. He oversees 16 service bays, including express service bays, with 12 technicians and four service advisers.
“We have two Senior Subaru Master Certified Technicians, seven Master Certified Technicians, and the others hold various Subaru certificates,” Jolly said, adding that many techs also have ASE certifications.
With a car count of more than 2,100 cars a month, Jolly said his techs are a busy group providing everything from express service (oil changes, tire rotations, and minor maintenance service averaging 25 per day) to full-service maintenance and repair services in a six-day work week. “All of our certified techs work on the whole car so they need to be well trained in all phases of service and repair,” he said.
Training, Jolly said, is obtained regularly at Subaru’s training center in Portland. “Two-day courses cover everything from full engine repair to fuel systems. We also provide Web-based training paid for at home or on-site.”
While Subaru’s are the mainstay in his service department, Jolly said the shop does some limited service work on other models. The Subaru factory tools are used for diagnostics, but techs also have Snap-on scanners and other tools to assist with service and repairs, as well as Hunter alignment and wheel balancer machines.
As with most service centers, finding qualified technicians is an ongoing issue, Jolly said. “We have a relationship with Subaru U (Subaru University, a partnership between select NATEF/AYES schools and Subaru of America) and we work with the local high school and Shoreline Community College.”
Jolly said he is proud that his service department is rated No. 1 in the district for customer service. “We are very customer oriented and value the relationships we have with our customer base.”