Williams, Larry

Williams, Larry (18)

Larry Williams is an innovative, award winning parts manager who has been managing profitable parts departments for over 30 years. He recognizes the importance of OEM parts management to collision repairers and now works as a consultant to the industry. He can be reached for consultation at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A customer is a person you see only a few times a year. Someone who does business with you over and over again, on a regular basis, is more than just a customer. This person is more properly defined as a business partner.

The difference is the relationship you have with each other. A retail customer is seldom known by name, and the communications between you are limited to the business at hand. This person might be seen four times a year; at most. A wholesale customer on the other hand, will be heard from several times each month. This repeat business can create a relationship between you that is more than just business. I define it as a partnership. This is the best relationship you can have with another business.

In a partnership, both parties rely on the other to do their part, and trust the other completely. A partnership is hard to establish, but even harder to sever. In your business, I recommend that you work hard to establish the philosophy of partnership. If you follow this philosophy, and think of your best customers as partners, you will never lose them. And most of your wholesale business will develop from customers, to partners.

Click to download full article in PDF format. Article is printable but can not be copied or modified.

Thursday, 27 May 2010 20:42

Parts for Profit 3—Increasing Sales

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This is Part 3 of a series of articles for parts managers directly managing employees handling both mechanical and collision parts. The same principles apply to parts management in a body shop. To read Parts 1 and 2, see Autobody News, April and May 2010 editions or go online: www.autobodynews.com, Menu: Content > Distinctive Dealerships > Special Interest Articles.

By now, you should have accomplished nearly everything I suggested in order to create the most efficient parts department possible. Your bins are spaced and numbered for fast access; and the bins closest to your front and back counters hold your fastest moving parts. You have no obsolete or unnecessary inventory; since you have cleared out the “trash.” You have a neat shipping/receiving area, and a holding area for cores and returns. All “hot” incoming parts for service and wholesale accounts have their own locations. Inventory counts have verified the location and quantities for all of your parts on hand.

Your people are working in the locations and jobs that are best suited for them. All of your employees are knowledgeable in all aspects of paper flow and controls. Your training schedule assures full certification. Every work station is fully equipped, and set up to cover every need.

You have created a parts department that will return profits of 50% or more, and with proper leadership, it will be a happy workplace. This should be the goal of every parts manager. These guidelines apply to all automotive dealerships.


Your next area of focus should be to increase your sales.

CLICK HERE to read as PDF

by Larry Williams

This is Part 2 of last month’s article directed to dealership parts managers directly managing employees handling both mechanical and collision parts, however, the same principles apply to parts management in a body shop.  ­ To read Part 1, see Autobody News, April 2010 edition or look online at www.autobodynews.com.
Larry Williams is a former parts manager and consultant who has received national awards during his 40 years of  creating profitable departments. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Making the most profit out of your inventory is easy, and once set up properly, needs minimum maintenance. Making the best profit out of your personnel is the hard part. This is why I spend most of my effort on my people.

The hardest part of any profession is learning the language. The various terminologies used to communicate needs. Auto parts is one of the hardest, a language of multiple words for the same item. Controller, solenoid, actuator, module, ECU, etc. can all used to describe the same object. Only a few years ago Ford started a program to unify parts terminology. Now all departments, design, engineering, manufacturing, service and parts would all refer to a part by one name. Manufacturers have been in business almost a hundred years, and only now are addressing the problem. Same thing with new models…all kinds of information for sales and service, nothing for parts education. Everyone must learn on the job.

Click to download full article in PDF format. Article is printable but cannot be copied or modified.

by Larry Williams

This article is directed to dealership parts managers directly managing employees handling both mechanical and collision parts, however, the same principles apply to parts management in a body shop.  Read on to see how to improve your parts and people management.­
Larry Williams is a former parts manager and consultant who has received national awards and over 40 years of experience in creating profitable departments. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Fact: The typical [dealership] parts department has more investment and returns less profit than any other department. Every other department can be financed, leased, depreciated, or leveraged. Automotive parts require cash—paid in full, every month. Many parts departments are sinkholes, sucking resources from the dealer, tying up capital in un-saleable inventory, maintenance, and personnel. This needs to change.

Today’s parts department must be an asset to the dealership. Analyze your parts department’s profitability. Look at the ratio of net profit to inventory. A well-run parts department can generate annual net profit ratios of 50% or more, based on your inventory investment. Then show the dealer principal that your inventory is an investment, better than the bank when it comes to the rate of return. This should be your goal. Every inventory dollar working to produce more profit and every employee’s time managed to maximize their productivity.

Click to download full article in PDF format. Article is printable but cannot be copied or modified.

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