Wednesday, 01 October 2008 02:28

OPS Manages the Online Parts Ordering Cycle for Productivity

Is it any kid’s goal to grow up to be an automotive parts dealer? How about two kids who end up revolutionizing the parts business? This is the story of Nick Bossinakis and Sib Bahjat who have done just that.

    Nick and Sib grew up together. They both started out delivering parts for auto dealers, then doing consulting regarding new cars. The two men formed a consulting business for auto dealers. As they called on collision shops, fortune brought them together with Allen Samuels Dodge, part of the well-known Allen Samuels group of dealers.

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OPS Partners

   “We had some unusual ideas starting out. Roy Benner, Parts Director of Allen Samuels Dodge believed in our ideas for streamlining the distribution of parts and hired us to see what we could do to improve that process,” said Bossinakis. “We are still together to this day. Allen Samuels is like a beta site where we can test new products. We have a track record of success.”
    The basic idea behind Overall Parts Solutions (OPS) was determining what value-added features were needed by parts dealers. OPS would go to a shop to identify needs relative to parts.
    “As consultants, Sib and I observed how shops ordered, received and checked in parts,” continued Bossinakis. “In looking at how distribution was being accomplished, we discovered where many of the logjams were occurring. Most deliveries were taking place in the morning and afternoon.
    “The average shop orders over 50% of their parts between 1 and 5 o’clock. Our approach was to guarantee parts would be delivered by 6 a.m. Technicians could begin work as soon as they arrived at the shop resulting not only in a drop in cycle time from one-half to one full day, but also less wasted time.” Training is an important element in helping dealers cut distribution costs and cycle time.
    Four years ago, OPS was delivering parts to nearly 500 shops in Texas. At that time, most shops were ordering parts by phone or fax. The partners created the internet program OPSTRAX.com to dovetail with the existing distribution and training with the ability to standardize parts ordering electronically.
    OPS is a niche business. No other company actually meshes all the parts distribution processes together. “Our biggest competitor is change.”
    OPS is a simple concept to project to customers. Prerequisites include vendors having the infrastructure to handle the whole system, willingness of the parts manager to commit to trying innovative new ideas, and cultivating new ideas brought to the table. “With OPSTRAX we now have an electronic mechanism to grade vendors in real time. We put them under the microscope and grade them on the ability to enhance their service,” explained Bossinakis.
    Jerry Lennox, Service King Collision Centers, is impressed with the accountability OPSTRAX provides. “The documentation of every single procedure from the arrival of the vehicle to delivery back to the customer is recorded. If there is a dispute about an action, OPSTRAX can verify the time. Faxing is extremely inefficient and leaves too much room for error. The web-based OPSTRAX forces everyone to be accountable.  
    “The result of Service King’s participation with OPS has been a dramatic reduction in cycle time from at least  one-half day, closer to one full day. We enjoy working with this great company. Nick, Sib and I get along very well.”
What OPS has to offer
OPS has researched and hand-picked parts suppliers who are committed to the highest level of service in the industry. In conjunction, OPS provides ongoing customer service support to parts suppliers as well. This support encompasses training in customer service techniques, problem solving, and creating tailor-made services for shops, ensuring they receive consistent, quality service from their vendors.
    “Caliber has been utilizing the OPSTRAX tool since its inception and we’re excited to see the ongoing development of new products and services that are focused on streamlining the parts procurement processes,” said Mark Sanders, COO, Caliber Collision Centers.
    OPS provides customers with an extensive and ongoing training concept that incorporates the most modern ideas in parts distribution, receiving, and production techniques. This continued support allows their shops to achieve maximum production and generates savings to the bottom line.
    Components include: monthly sales tracking, comprehensive parts return system, visual & communication programs, back-ordered & hard to find parts locator system, online ordering, continuous hands-on consultation & support, shop clean-up & organization and parts resolution services. Furthermore, OPS handles all of a shop’s safety needs so the shops can rest easy that they are in compliance with all rules and regulations.

Ignore nay-sayers
“Four years ago, we had 18 service people around the state. We discovered that over 40% of complaints about vendors were status related – parts not delivered on time. Now with OPSTRAX, parts can be tracked from cradle to grave, said Bossinakis.
    “In the beginning, we were told that body shops would not respond to our concept. Our challenge has been not listening to the nay-sayers. It was important not to let self doubt creep in. We are committed financially and mentally. Every day we go out and stick to our core beliefs knowing that our program works.”

Another satisfied customer

In 2005, Sterling Autobody Centers’ Texas locations began using OPSTRAX, OPS’ debut electronic parts procurement solution in an effort to streamline their parts procurement process and implement standard operating procedures.
    Sterling Procurement Director Jimmy Acker says, “By instituting the Trax system, Sterling has achieved a much improved level of performance in the parts procurement process, an area often referred to as a barrier in producing effective, timely collision repairs. The Trax system has allowed us to create a more efficient repair by obtaining accurate, on-time part status and verification, thus reducing cycle times and providing a more timely repair for our customers.”
    OPSTRAX will be utilized in all 60 Sterling North American locations by December 2008.  

Best  Place to Work

Employees key to the success of OPSTRAX are lead managers Clint Bodine and Eddie Knaus. Knaus was a porter at a shop when he was barely 20 years old. He started as a delivery driver and in the past decade has become the north Texas manager. Bodine, who began his career in the Dallas market, handles San Antonio and Austin. Both men helped bring OPSTRAX to life by bringing real world situations to the programmers.
    Overall Parts Solutions has been designated one of the best places to work by the Dallas Business Journal. One employee submitted an essay, then each employee of the company completed a survey on how employees are treated, pay, creativity and freedom. For the last two years, OPS has been ranked second out of every business in the Dallas Metroplex. This award brings pride in the company and helps recruit top people to work for the company.
    “The whole mission as a company is to revolutionize the industry from a parts standpoint by doing new and innovative things. We help collision shops and vendors come together for the common good of efficiently providing parts. We expect to have 25-30 new markets in the next two years,” concluded Bossinakis
    For more information, visit www.opstrax.com.