Tynan’s Nissan reaches new heights
Aurora, Colo.—In the five years since Andy Clarke took over as parts manager at Tynan’s Nissan in Aurora, he said the dealership has become the largest Nissan wholesale parts dealer in the Western U.S.
What’s the secret?
“Cut through the clutter,” Clarke said. “I’ve focused on two things: customer service and logistics. If you can handle those two aspects of selling wholesale automotive parts well, the numbers will follow. You can’t dip your toes into the wholesale side of the parts business; you’ve got to go all in.”
And they have. Clarke – having worked his way up from sweeping the floor and washing cars at Tynan’s 19 years ago – said he’s thrown “whatever resources necessary” at the operation to maintain the level of customer service his clients have grown to expect.
“If you can’t keep up with your own growth, you’ll lose your customers confidence. I’ve hired six new parts delivery drivers and four inside parts professionals in the past five years, one of which I hired as an addition to the wholesale sales team,” he said.
And despite the challenge of breaking through the barriers to becoming the largest Nissan wholesale parts in his region, Clarke said once you’ve reached the top spot, it’s easier to maintain your position because the systems and processes are in place and solid.
“Our focus has shifted somewhat now that we’re doing such a high volume of business. I’ve told my team that we need to become subject matter experts. We’re really in the customer service business – and so without knowledge, we’re nothing,” Clarke said. “In the customer service business your people are so important. And my team is as good as they come.”
All five wholesale parts specialists at Tynan’s are Nissan-certified parts professionals. Clarke added that, unlike the service department, a dealership’s parts department personnel aren’t monitored on customer satisfaction surveys (CSIs). “Our CSI is asking, ‘Is that customer still buying from us?’ If not, we need to re-evaluate. I hired a fifth wholesale parts specialist when I felt we weren’t providing the customer service we needed; that’s what it takes to stay at the top, though, and making those changes to serve your customers pays dividends.”
The dealership currently has a little less than $1 million in Nissan inventory on-hand. Clarke said he’s had to add off-site storage pods because the dealership is nearly at capacity. Most of his inventory is comprised of collision parts, but because the service department has grown at the same pace as the parts department, Clarke said he’s increased his mechanical parts inventory as well.
“Our 15-bay service department is my No. 1 customer. It’s where we make the highest margins and sell the most parts. Because it has grown in pace with the parts department, I’ve been able to up my stock of mechanical parts, which only helps my wholesale customers because it’s more likely that I’ll have what they need in stock when they call,” Clarke said.
Tynan’s Nissan is a privately owned dealership, and Clarke said his department has complete flexibility on the parts it orders.
“My ownership does not nitpick about my parts inventory. They see my numbers and understand that I know what I’m doing. Also, Nissan’s corporate program for growing its parts business is based on the philosophy that ‘having every part on the shelf’ is a good policy to ‘conquer’ the sale. When a customer calls, and we don’t have the part, their next call will be NAPA. We’re working to fulfill as many orders as possible, as many times as possible, by stocking a large and varied inventory,” Clarke said.
He’s also taking a proactive approach when it comes to logistics and expansion. “Get the truck first, and then get the business,” he said; it’s a model that supports not only his in-house sales staff but his outside sales reps as well.
With 10 delivery drivers, Tynan’s Nissan’s same-day delivery radius currently spans from Pueblo to Cheyenne, with service up the I-70 corridor as well. But Clarke said he has recently added Casper, Wyo., Rapid City, S.D., Billings, Mont., and Albuquerque, N.M., with next-morning service.
“I’ve been eyeing Casper as a viable market for some time, and I just found a third-party courier service that will allow me to expand there, and all those other markets as well,” he said.
To support the expansion, Clarke said he will send marketing out, follow up with phone calls, and even make in-person sales calls himself if need be to prospect for potential customers in his new service area.
“This business is still all about relationships. People are everything, so when we open up this new market, we won’t try to maximize on every transaction, but focus on customers’ needs and follow through on our commitments,” Clarke said. “A lot of companies out there in the wholesale business will cut their nose off despite their face just to get the sale; we instead focus on selling service.
“My goal is to decrease collision shops’ Nissan cycle times by two to three days in these smaller markets.”
Tynan’s subscribes to OE connection, OPS, CollisionLink and PartsTrader ordering software, and uses ADP as its parts management software. The CollisionLink tool is by far the most popular ordering software used, which Clarke likes because CollisionLink still incorporates a phone call in its ordering process. “Removing the phone call from the ordering process makes it very hard to connect with our customers and meet their needs. It also makes it hard to save sales through price matching, which Nissan allows us to do within a certain margin,” Clarke said.