Thursday, 21 March 2013 13:04

Weatherford BMW’s Parts Department’s Dedication to Wholesale

Parts Manager Chuck MacLeod has been running the parts department at Weatherford BMW in Berkeley, CA, since 1989 after joining the industry in 1975. He worked briefly for another BMW dealership for a few years and MacLeod has been employed in one capacity or another for the Bavarian carmaker for almost four decades. He knows the brand known for performance and BMW parts inside and out.

He runs a tight ship, with a warehouse that is immaculate, and with a sales team that averages better than 16 years experience, their depth of product knowledge and expertise is a huge asset to his operation. Weatherford’s wholesale reps Jon Hoke (19 years), Rey Garcia (15.5 years) and Guy Duggins (17 years) know precisely what body shops need, including essentials like prompt delivery, technical expertise and the ability to get the orders right the very first time on a consistent basis.

Wholesale is an integral part of Weatherford BMW’s approach to doing business, and that’s why MacLeod has three counter people that are 100% dedicated to wholesale, he said.

“We have more than 100 body shop customers, but the majority of our wholesale comes from a core group of 20–30 shops that order parts every week and sometimes almost every day,” MacLeod said.

“These are primarily shops that specialize in BMW, so they expect a certain level of customer service from us and we provide it. With four trucks doing three local deliveries every day and two to areas outside the immediate East Bay area, we can get the parts to our wholesale clients quickly and efficiently.”

MacLeod will try to price-match aftermarket parts whenever his department can, he explained. “Body shops want to please their insurance companies without sacrificing quality, but we know that price is always a consideration. So, that’s why we try to price-match in some instances, without giving the parts away, because like everyone else, we need to make money. We want to work with shops, so we will always make every attempt to accommodate them, within reason of course.”

Overseeing a $1 million inventory housed within an impressive 120,000 square-foot facility that used to be a steel factory, Weatherford BMW’s 30,000 square-foot parts department is contained in a building with an expansive showroom and a mechanical repair shop. MacLeod’s department sells more than $3 million in wholesale parts annually and did almost $12 million in total parts sales in 2012, he said.

“It breaks down to 80% collision parts and 20% mechanical. We also have a collision center located offsite in Oakland, CA, so we sell them a lot of crash parts as well,” MacLeod said. “We sold more than $600,000 last year at our collision center alone, so it’s a significant part of our whole oeration.”

With tons of experience, MacLeod is convinced that BMW original factory parts are superior in every way to aftermarket parts, he stated confidently. “I’ve seen it hundreds of times where body shops try to use aftermarket BMW sheet metal, for example. In the end they call us, because they find out too late that their crash parts don’t fit or require costly prep work. I see it again and again, with items like headlight assemblies, bumpers and some of the sophisticated electronic parts in some of our newest models. BMW customers are autophiles and [self educated] experts about their cars. Many of them paid $70,000 and up on their vehicles, so they want and deserve the OE parts that were designed by BMW on all their repairs.”

With a 95% first-fill rate on parts, MacLeod’s department can be the go-to source for all BMW parts in Greater San Francisco Bay Area. “If any customer wants something we don’t have in our inventory of more than 5,000 part numbers, we can get it within hours, in most cases. With two daily deliveries from our distribution center in Stockton, CA, every part is simply hours away. Knowing that we have access to this huge inventory makes us even more effective, because we won’t ever adversely affect our body shop customers’ cycle times. These BMW drivers don’t want to be without their cars for very long. Plus, the insurance companies are always monitoring the body shops’ cycle times as well, so it’s an important factor to their success. If a parts department has a part, but it takes too long to get it to the customer, things like price aren’t as important, especially with this brand.”