Mechanical parts and components
It boggles the mind to think about the many mechanical parts and mechanical components that aftermarket jobbers and service providers have to stock in order to provide timely service to a wide variety of customers and their vehicles.
When you think about the number of service bays you have in your shop, and the number of vehicles your technicians work on each day, would it be an exaggeration to think that in the course of a day you might need any, or maybe most of the following: water pump, air filter, brake pads, LED light, serpentine belt, spark plug, wheel bearing, brake calliper, oil filter, timing belts or timing chains, cabin air filter, drive shaft, fuel filter, LED lighting, wheel hub, wiper, car suspension, car transmission, disc brake, timing chain, an entire automatic transmission, cabin filter, drive belt, transmission oil, brake parts, car air conditioning parts, an alternator belt, car air filter and more? And that’s without considering specialty parts like an air suspension kit or an air bag suspension system, or even entire engine blocks.
To stock or not to stock
The question every garage owner must consider is which parts need to be stocked, and which parts can be ordered from a nearby jobber whenever the need for those parts arises?
The truth is, unless you service only certain models or certain brands, your parts needs will be diverse, which makes knowing which parts to keep in stock a challenge.
If you’re replacing a brake system, for example, think about the many brake disc SKUs you’d have to keep in stock to service every car brake system that might show up in one of your bays. Each vehicle brand and model will have a different braking system, which means that besides brake fluid, which you might want to keep in stock, you’d be better off calling a jobber whenever a car comes into your shop needing a brake job.
The same can be said about a car exhaust system. While you can keep certain parts in stock, unless you specialize in exhaust systems, you’re better off calling a jobber when the need arises. On the other hand, a car oil filter collection could be good to keep in stock, especially is that’s your bread and butter.
By and large, however, many successful garages find that stocking too many parts is expensive and unnecessary. Just think about all the different car fuel filter SKUs (or gas filter SKUs) you’d have to keep in stock to service all your customers. Add in all the car heating system parts for all the makes and models, injection pump parts, LED bulbs for cars, car cooling system parts, the various transmission belts (keeping in mind that you’re fixing all types of transmission problems whether on automatic transmissions, manual transmissions, or CVTs).
We haven’t even discussed car lighting, suspension types (including air suspension truck kits and pneumatic suspension parts), the numerous shock absorber options, and much more. Little wonder, therefore, that most successful garages prefer to work with a handful of quality jobbers to get the parts they need, when they need them. It just makes sense.