Operational Excellence in After Sales automotive 04. December 2017


Automakers are doing an inadequate job of seizing the potential for original parts sales at independent car repair shops

Sales of spare parts are an important source of income for automakers. As with other manufacturers, our client had yet to make adequate use of independent automobile repair shops in Europe as a sales channel. OEMs do most of their business through their own network of authorized workshops, whereas independent auto shops mainly buy parts on the open market. Many of the client’s parts wholesalers felt unable to offer independent repair shops competitive conditions.


Much of the potential in spare parts sales lay unused.


Parts wholesalers were not acting professionally enough

In most European countries, independent auto repair shops receive deliveries of spare parts anywhere from four to six times a day, especially in major metropolitan areas. The manufacturer’s parts wholesalers usually supply their customers one or two times a day. A dedicated field sales force can also help significantly raise sales. However, most parts wholesalers have neither the structure nor the necessary strategy to take a focused, competitive approach to dealing with the independent car repair market.

Management at parts wholesalers had other things on their minds than spare parts sales

The first step in seizing the existing potential was changing management’s mindset before moving on to operational process and structures.

  • Management at parts wholesalers were not focused on spare parts sales.


Survey of over 2,000 independent automobile repair shops to determine their needs

After an in-depth survey of over 2,000 independent garages in seven European countries, we were able to precisely define customers’ needs and specifically outline the potential for the client. The survey was conducted online and in focus groups. It also looked at how independent dealers act on the market and what makes them so successful.

Analyses lasting three to five days were performed at dealers’ places of business to understand the approach taken by the client’s parts wholesalers.

This investigation enabled the implementation experts from change2target to develop a basic concept. Tools and methods that parts wholesalers can use to be successful were developed for the core areas of sales, logistics and management.

Fifty tools for excellence

During implementation, the tools and methods were adapted to the parts wholesalers’ reality to focus efforts on the key elements for achieving a significant improvement in their respective situations. Weaknesses and focal points were defined in a 360-degree analysis. Measures were subsequently defined and implemented in mutual cooperation.

For many parts wholesalers, their attitude toward doing business with independent repair shops presented a major challenge. The implementation phase was therefore not limited to training and implementing tools and guidelines. Initiating a change process played a major role in the support we provided. Managers and staff in spare parts sales received support in intensive coaching sessions to prepare them to do more wholesale business with independent auto repair shops. Various arguments for and against a change in the approach were discussed and weighed. In many cases, the coaching sessions were used to address more fundamental day-to-day leadership issues.


200 parts wholesalers in Europe are more active and professional

A total of 200 parts wholesalers in ten European countries received support within three years, during which time sales to independent automobile repair shops rose by over 10 percent. The outcomes at dealer level ranged from improved warehouse organization and parts availability to more frequent deliveries, online ordering options and professional telephone support for independent workshops.

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