Two brands, one mission, one unified approach for partner stores
Pittsburg, Calif.—Two parts departments act as one in many cases at Winter Chevrolet and Winter Honda and that’s why they both excel and improve their numbers monthly. By sharing resources and parts knowledge and helping each other whenever possible, they say the wholesale, retail and in-house parts efforts at both dealerships get the attention they require.
Parts Director Scott Kaida oversees the operation at Winter Chevrolet while Parts Manager Jose Gomez pulls the reins at Winter Honda. The dealerships are only approximately a football field apart, so Kaida and Gomez often log a lot of miles walking back and forth.
Kaida is a strong proponent of teamwork, because he has seen it work well during the 24 years that he has been at Winter, he said. He was hired as the company’s parts director back in 2003, after working as a service writer and a parts counterperson for nine years. Add in Gomez’s 18 years of experience at Winter Honda, they are veteran duo that knows the intricacies of the parts industry on a dealership level.
“We’re both very hands-on and that’s probably why it works,” Kaida said. “I go back and forth several times every day to help each other in every facet of this business. Our goal is to provide top service, because we know that there are a lot of dealerships in this area and unless we’re better, we won’t hit our numbers every month.”
Each department employs five counter people and two drivers and carries close to $900,000 in combined inventory, with 70 percent being mechanical parts. By getting the right Chevrolet and Honda parts to its wholesale customers on time, the departments are able to retain its customers and get new clients through referrals, Kaida said.
“We have worked with many of the same mechanical and collision shops for so long, we know what they need and accuracy and delivery are their priorities,” Kaida said. “Price is also an issue, but in the end, the mechanical shops want to use OE parts, because they have to guarantee their repairs. On the collision side, they sometimes have to wrestle with the insurance companies, so we will try and work with them on price whenever possible.”
To achieve that, Kaida uses GM’s Bump the Competition price matching program for Winter Chevrolet and CollisionLink on the Honda side, although that’s in the process of changing to a new program. “Honda recently announced CCC One in February and we’re in the process of adapting to it. We are still using CollisionLink at this point, but by the end of the year we will phase it out and begin using CCC One exclusively. We capture a considerable amount of work by using these programs.”
To connect with their wholesale accounts, both departments periodically visit shops in their region. “We want their feedback and getting into the shops is the best way to do it,” Kaida said. “We want to find out what we’re doing right and change things in areas where we need to improve. For Honda, Jose visits the shops and Bob Resendez, my assistant manager here does it for the GM side. We want to know our wholesale accounts well, because in the end we know that it’s all about relationships.”
Feeding both dealerships with parts for their in-house repairs is always a major priority for both departments, Kaida said. “We have 15 technicians on the Chevy side and 12 in the Honda service department and we repair 60-70 vehicles daily each. Our goal is to get all of these cars out the same day or next day at the latest, so setting them up with the correct parts is a big deal. We can’t afford comebacks, because we’re always busy and tightly scheduled, so we can’t make mistakes or delay the process.”
Kaida is always looking for more ways to make both of his departments better, he said. “I love my job and new challenges present themselves all the time, so I should be here for a while. With cars changing more and more every year with new metals and all of the collision avoidance systems and computers playing a bigger role, it’s an exciting period and I’m enjoying it.”