With parts and service departments making up a significant chunk of many distributors’ business, and every dollar becoming more and more important, MHEDA held its Parts and Service Management Conference September 11-12 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL.
The two-day event was held with the goal of helping parts and service managers and personnel gain a better understanding of the role and impact their respective departments have on their mutual response and profitability, and by all accounts it was mission accomplished!
OKI Systems (Cincinnati, OH) VP of Operations Mike French kicked off the conference by discussing the service indicators of performance. This talk helped participants learn what needs to be done to develop a plan for improving their parts and service departments’ customer service and profitability. French returned on the next day and was joined by Greg Willet, systems analyst for OKI Systems, who spoke about improving the parts department. Both speeches were packed with quality information, and drew rave reviews from attendees.
Assisting with the conference were esteemed panelists Neal Hittepole (Director of Branch Aftermarket Sales, Crown Equipment Corporation), Jim MacGregor (Corporate Aftermarket Manager, Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta), Kevin Moran (General Manager, Wiese Planning & Engineering) and Stephen Ross (Director of Retail Operations, Komatsu Forklift Retail Operations). They were there to provide depth to the presentations by interjecting their thoughts and opinions based on their extensive industry experience.
One of the most popular segments of the conference was put on by Jim Facente, founder and president of Creative Sales Solutions. His company mystery shopped over 1,500 parts and service rental representatives around the country. They discovered distinct differences in handling telephone calls between the top reps and the rest of the pack. Facente presented these differences to the audience along with information about the difference between telephone and face-to-face communication.
Scott Herzog, service manager for Matthai Material Handling (Baltimore, MD), was a big fan of the mystery shopper presentation. He says, “I thought that the mystery shopping segment was a very valuable program for me.” Herzog also appreciated the networking opportunities the conference afforded him. Based on Mike French’s presentation, he plans to implement an employee incentive program for his company’s service technicians in the future.
The general parts manager for Matthai, Matthew Neuman, found the discussion of parts indicators to be helpful. Along with valuable information, Neuman walked away with a greater understanding of the commonalities between dealers. He says, “I realized that there are universal problems for distributors, and they often have multiple solutions.” He plans to implement some of those solutions into a new business system for Matthai.
Kevin Buick, field service manager for the Eagan, MN, office of Associated Material Handling (Carol Stream, IL) was interested in the discussion of different methods for tracking technicians—specifically the PM/ GP formula and the general similarities in the way companies track their technicians. He plans to further investigate GPS dispatching options for the company.
For Jeff Baldwin, parts manager for Material Handling Supply (Brooklawn, NJ), the most intriguing part of the program was learning how to systemically analyze the productivity of his department’s actions and expenditures. “I plan on duplicating some of the charts and graphs which were discussed during the presentation in an effort to show our employees how to minimize excess and obsolete parts inventory.”
A new perspective on technician report cards was gained by Jennifer Link, process manager at Quality Forklift Sales and Service (Shakopee, MN). “My number 1 take-away from this conference was that technician report cards should be used as a tool for understanding performance and work, not strictly as a performance measurement in success or failure.” She also plans on refining her company’s reporting on preventative maintenance programs.
The information exchanged was valuable, as were the networking opportunities provided by the conference. Make sure that you don’t miss the next opportunity to check out everything MHEDA University has to offer.