Go-Parts Thrived During the Pandemic and Kept Rolling
Written by Ed Attanasio, Autobody News
Published Feb. 7, 2023
Go-Parts is taking a cutting-edge approach to the distribution of aftermarket parts and it’s working for all the right reasons, as explained by CEO Sean Kennedy.
While many parts suppliers, both OE and aftermarket, were hit hard by the pandemic, your business model exceled. Please explain.
The impact the pandemic had on our industry, and many others, cannot be overstated. We experienced similar challenges to many of our partners and peers. However, in a climate of clogged supply chains and sluggish recovery, there is a high likelihood that the substantial growth we experienced in that period stemmed from our use of a decentralized supply chain and distribution network. This dynamic allowed us to weave our way through those challenges, providing uninterrupted service to our partners with no compromise on part or service quality.
What were the major factors behind that shift, and did they disappear after the pandemic passed?
Well, I think the dynamic outlined in the previous question fueled a desire to seek out new methods of part procurement. Part availability became a topic of conversation throughout the industry, so simply having the product was an immediate advantage. Go-Parts had only been servicing this segment of the automotive market for a couple of years when the supply chain issues began, making us largely an unknown quantity.
The second question here is probably a bit more difficult to answer---have those factors disappeared after the pandemic passed? From a supply chain standpoint, largely yes, but we can clearly see that our new collision partners value what we bring to their businesses and the industry as a whole.
What are you doing to leverage that position you created during the pandemic?
I believe our strategy is fairly simple---continue doing what we promise we will do. We were given an opportunity to show that this model, built from our experience in ecommerce, can work for the collision repair industry. But, if Go-Parts is to maintain this path, we must continue to deliver value across all facets of the part procurement experience.
In other words, we are going to continue leaning into who we are---a tech-forward organization that relies on automation, decentralization and, soon, the power of AI to streamline the supply chain and deliver value to our role in the process. We make consistency our ultimate goal, and I feel the future is bright if we can continue to deliver on that promise.
How have you changed to meet the needs of the collision repair industry, in terms of quality, availability, prompt delivery, convenience, etc.?
We haven’t changed much, in truth. There are nuances to any new market, and the learning curve we experienced several years ago was certainly steep. I could tell you some stories about learning things the hard way, absolutely! But, like most things, if you’re sincere in your efforts and acknowledge mistakes, experiences like that can become incredible strengths moving forward.
If I were to choose an area where we have modified our approach the most, I would say the shift from a more transactional market like ecommerce DIY to a more relationship-based environment like we see in the collision repair segment.
This isn’t to say that we don’t build relationships in our ecommerce vertical, because we certainly do, and I am very proud of our brand’s reputation in that space. Rather, this segment of the market requires an entirely different approach and we have thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue with our insurance and repair partners.
Those insights have allowed us to continue to iterate and provide tools and conveniences, most notably our Live Inventory and Order Tracking Interface, which save users an immense amount of time and showcases how we seek to leverage technology to improve the stock-checking and buying experience. By providing data in real-time, our partners can better map out their internal operations and know exactly where those parts are at any given moment.
What does the future hold at Go-Parts?
While we have a particularly good sense of who we are as an organization, the future is a blank canvas. Our primary goal has always been to iterate based on the needs expressed to us by our supply chain, repair and insurance partners. So the future is quite uncertain but, we feel, it is for all the right reasons.
Go-Parts relies on its malleability and iterative culture to keep our organization pointed in the right direction, which is why we have no issues navigating the industry via direct dialogue with clients and partners. I am confident we will maintain our current growth trajectory---but it will be based on external industry needs, not internal organizational desires.
Visit order.go-parts.com for more information.