If you’re a dealer in the recreation arena (marine, RV, powersports, trailers), you know how important it is to provide fast and quality service to your customers. However, there are many factors that can affect the time it takes to complete a repair, and some of them are beyond your control.

How can you optimize your service department and improve your customer satisfaction?

In this series of blog posts, we will share with you some best practices to improve your RECT (Repair Event Cycle Time), which is a key metric to measure your service performance. RECT is the average number of days it takes to complete a repair order, from the time the customer drops off the vehicle to the time they pick it up. The lower your RECT, the better your service efficiency and profitability.

In our previous post, we explained what RECT is and how to measure it using Lightspeed DMS, which provides a unified view of all areas of your dealership and builds a picture of what’s really happening. In this post, we will focus on one of the main factors that can affect your RECT: parts availability.

Dealer quotes provided by Valerie Ziebron of VRZ Consulting as featured in the Marine Repair Event Cycle Time Best Practices. 

Parts Availability

One of the biggest challenges that service departments face is having the right parts at the right time to complete the repairs. This is a resource that is critical for your dealership to get a handle on.  Remember, small gains are won when you control what you can control.  Since you cannot stock every part needed for every repair, you need to manage your inventory and special orders efficiently. Here are some tips to help you with that:

Order Parts ASAP

As soon as you know what parts you need to order, do it without delay. This will reduce the waiting time and the risk of backorders. Here are some keys to success:

  • Diagnose the complaints early in the cycle. Set a goal to diagnose/triage the vehicles within a set amount of time (24-48 hours) and assign specific team members for diagnostic/parts work. As soon as the diagnosis is complete, the tech and parts team should review the parts request together and give an ETA to the service advisor for customer communication and scheduling.
  • Stock faster-moving items as identified by your OEM or supplier. This will help you order parts that you use frequently and increase your inventory turnover.
  • Identify backorder items and source them from other suppliers and/or dealers if needed. You can leverage part locator services provided by your DMS, OEM, or suppliers to find the parts you need faster and cheaper.
  • Negotiate special shipping terms with your suppliers. The faster the supplier can get you the parts, the faster you can complete the repairs. Negotiate overnight, 2-day, or 3-day shipping terms and know your daily order cut-off times.
  • Create an organized area for service special order parts based on customer repair orders (ROs). This will help you and your staff to easily find and pull the parts once the work is rescheduled.

Utilize Buying Guide or Restocking Order Reports to Stock Most Used Parts

Another way to improve your parts availability is to use the reports and tools that Lightspeed DMS offers to help you stock the most used parts. Here are some keys to success:

  • Use the Buying Guide (Suggested Order) report to see what parts you have sold in the past and how often. It will show you what parts you need to order based on your current inventory levels and reorder points. This will help you maintain optimal inventory levels and avoid overstocking or understocking.
  • Track lost sales and add them to stock orders when demand is high enough to justify purchasing. This will help you capture more sales opportunities and increase your parts revenue.
  • Manage obsolete inventory and liquidate it to free up cash for higher-demand products. This will help you improve your inventory turnover and profitability.

By following these tips, you can improve your parts availability and reduce your RECT. This will result in faster turnaround times for your customers, improved technician morale, and increased service efficiency and profitability.

Stay tuned for the next blog post, where we will cover another factor that can affect your RECT: SCHEDULING

Robert Grant

Robert Grant

Director, OEM Solutions

    I'm driven to help recreation businesses and OEM's operate hyper-efficiently by providing data, software and integration solutions that help them streamline operations and increase profitability.

Lightspeed is the #1 Dealer Management Solution used within the Recreation industry for a good reason. We provide a completely integrated solution for dealers, OEMs and their customers. Our goal is to help you operate your business more efficiently and profitably so you can spend more time doing what you love.

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