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Bridging the Parts and Service Rivalry at Car Dealerships 

At any dealership I visit, I can assess within 5 minutes whether Parts and Service Departments work well together. Unfortunately, more often than not, there is clear friction between these teams. It reminds me of the infamous family rivalry between the Capulets and Montagues (Romeo and Juliet)! This led my colleague Christian and I to wonder – is close collaboration possible here? Can Parts and Service realistically become allies, maybe even friends?  

Over my years advising Service Departments, I’ve identified telltale signs of dysfunctional Fixed Ops relationships. Shifty Parts Managers avoiding eye contact. Technicians sighing when you mention the Parts team. Constant bells at the counter because parts staff is unavailable. It’s plain to see there’s no love lost! And that vibe infects the whole dealership, sending revenue spiraling.

attracting new customers

However, I’ve witnessed the opposite, too – Parts and Service working like a well-oiled machine for the good of the business. Everyone is laser-focused on that common KPI: customer pay. Service staff are willing to go the extra mile for Parts, and vice versa. So, how do you achieve this bromance?

In this episode of Service Drive Revolution, I outline three keys to harmonizing Parts and Service teams:

1. Communication  

2. Collaboration 

3. Incentive Alignment 

Parts managers should attend morning meetings, engage beyond the numbers, and ask, “How can I help?”. They should also make suppliers aware of big jobs coming up, bond with Techs in the shop, and get to know their people under the hood… a.k.a. pet the dog.

Similarly, Service should shadow Parts Managers to grasp their daily obstacles. Empathy goes a long way here!

And sync up pay plans. I love when Service KPIs include Parts metrics like gross profit and margin. With Parts compensated on shop efficiency like absorption and net profit. Make it advantageous to support one another!

There’s an art to getting this right. But in my experience, there’s hope for these historically opposed departments. If you want hands-on strategies to improve Fixed Ops collaboration at your dealership, I’m happy to offer insights during a free 15-minute consultation with one of my top coaches. Just click here to schedule a session!

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