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3 Truths About Parts Ordering and Why Shops Switch to Online Parts Procurement

May 23, 2023
Shop Tips & Best Practices
4 mins read

In 2017, auto shops gave three reasons why they changed their parts purchasing habits to online:

  • 36% – The ease of comparing prices 
  • 16% – Convenience
  • 15% – Product availability

Since then, the needs of shops and the needs of their customers have changed. Consumers have come to want products and services (including auto services) as fast as they can get them. In October 2022, we surveyed 400 auto shops in the United States, and as a result of this shift, shops named the most challenging aspects of getting the right part for a repair by these percentages:

  • 56% – Determining availability and getting the part fast
  • 50% – Identifying the right part number
  • 38% – Understanding what components are included in the kit
  • 31% – Getting the best price
  • 25% – The time it takes to place part orders

As you can see, “price” has dropped from the top motivator to the fourth spot. Shops realize how much productivity matters more than saving a few pennies on a part. 

As we have watched this shift occur, here are three truths we have noticed from our auto repair customers: 

Truth 1: Part Accuracy, Availability, and Shipping Speed Outrank Price 

On the surface, it would seem that finding the best price on a part would always be the way to go. Of course, when you have the opportunity to choose the lower price, awesome, but as more shops place online orders, they have learned the value of getting the right part fast. Receiving the right part as quickly as possible allows you to prioritize jobs and reduce customer aggravation due to delays. 

Above all, shops value the correct part fit, fast. You want to make sure the parts that arrive allow you to complete the job and get the customer back on the road in a timely manner. In the end, quickly getting the customer’s vehicle back in tip-top working order leads to higher customer satisfaction — which is of more value than saving a couple of bucks on a part.  

The impact of any setback ripples through the whole shop. Delays related to sourcing and ordering parts can be a significant bottleneck in auto repair shops. It’s important to get a handle on streamlining your parts ordering process to quickly get the right part.

Here’s how seeing and ordering from all of your suppliers in one place through PartsTech can help:  

  • Know instantly which parts are in stock from which suppliers in one window
  • See estimated delivery time
  • Know which parts may incur delivery delays
  • Knowing which parts are out of stock 
  • Trust in the accurate parts information that is regularly vetted by our Data Team to make sure you are getting the right part 

“With PartsTech, I can look up availability and see how quickly I can get parts to my shop so I can get my technicians to install it. That means another job comes in the door a lot quicker rather than calling many different suppliers to find out where these parts are going to come from.”

– Michael Paul, Perfection Auto Service

Truth 2: Humans Crave Convenience – Including Your Staff

As service advisors select the parts they need, they want brand options. With today’s online parts ordering, you can conveniently check availability between trusted suppliers without flipping through various pages of a catalog or opening multiple tabs on your browser.

On top of this, your staff can procure parts on a tablet or mobile phone. Most parts and auto accessory websites get more than 60% of total traffic on mobile devices. This means that procurement no longer has to be done outside of the bay on a single desktop computer. Searching for parts on a tablet or mobile device can be done in the bay by a technician, or even by a service writer who is stuck waiting at the DMV but is still able to be productive.

Truth 3: Aggregated Online Parts Databases Allow for Wide Product Availability and Choice 

Working with catalogs, shop staff can only look up so many parts and call so many suppliers one at a time before they have to make a selection and purchase. Time is money, and they have to get their orders in to get repairs moving.

Seeing parts availability and prices from all of your suppliers in one search, on a single screen, opens up a world of possibilities. You can source more parts in a fraction of the time and can refine your search parameters to widen or limit your results until you find exactly what you need. 

If you’re using a shop management system, make sure you turn on the PartsTech integration. You won’t regret the power it will add to the speed of your operations! 

Work more quickly and efficiently, get vehicles done faster, and make your staff and customers happy with technology like PartsTech.

Start ordering with PartsTech — it’s free to open an account. 

Read more: Don’t Let Slow Parts Procurement Hurt Your Bottom Line – Make the Most of Every Minute

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