October '21

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86 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2021 Obviously, the pandemic is terrible, but if there's a silver lining it's that, in a way, this has brought out the best in our industry. In a time of struggle and turmoil, we as restylers stepped up to help our dealerships, our customers and our employees, and the industry is stronger because of it. A lot of us found ourselves working together, and it's been amazing to see what all we can do. Any specific revelations? I think this year made us more aware of how important vendors are. Products have been hard to get, and that makes vendor relationships so important. Those guys have been going the extra mile for us, looking for the parts we need. It's helped us immensely. We typically have always been an order- as-we-need-it company. Now, we're keeping more products in stock, which allows us to service our customers better. These days we're also educating more. With lower dealer inventories, we're coming up with ways for customers to visualize their vehicles outfitted with accessories. It's a little bit different than when inven- tories are full, and we're just going from job to job. Now it's more about helping the dealerships serve their customers with the vehicles they have available. As things have gotten smaller, we've really had to work on our relationships. That's why I tell my guys to get to know as many people as you can at each dealership. The more people you know, the better you can respond to challenges. This has forced us to get to know our dealers and our vendors better. What's your process for handling deal- ership work? We have outside salespeople that have customers they call on weekly. They are the first line of commu- nication with the dealerships. All my salesmen send work orders elec- tronically. So, when they talk to a customer, they need to get all the information—the type of car, stock number, what the dealer- ship wants, the quoted price. My guys in the shop can look at it and see what they've got coming in for the day. The salesmen can look at it and see what goes on for the day. And then my schedulers can maneuver things and keep everybody up and running. Charitable giving is an important mission for the companies. The pandemic has reinforced the im- portance of vendor relationships and the ability to get parts when you need them. RELATIONSHIPS & PROFESSIONALISM \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

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