Saying they are trying to change the image of truck parts distribution, Carlos Solis, parts manager and marketing director, and Nick Seidel, vice president and sales director, of Action Truck Parts have developed a customer visual experience at their facility in Bolingbrook, Ill.
“We are moving toward the same concept as auto parts stores,” Solis says. Customers can now come in to the facility and see more of the parts the distributorship carries. “Customers come in for on thing and see more of what we have and they say, ‘I didn’t know you carried this or that.’ As a result they end up getting more of their parts needs met here.”
Solis says he and Seidel brainstormed this retail concept for heavy-duty parts sales with a pen and napkin at a Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week meeting.
“We wanted customers to have a more visual experience so we approached our suppliers about helping us,” he says. Several jumped at the chance to have a say in how their parts would be displayed.
Prior to the change which includes display space dedicated to a specific parts manufacturer, Action used more of an open floor plan for its parts. “We never retailed our parts properly,” Solis says. “There were pallets on the ground, empty shelves and lots of peg boards.”
He adds, “Customers came in for a filter, went to where the filter were, got the filter and that was it.” Even if they needed additional parts, they may not have been aware that Action carried them. Now, he says, fleet customers can browse the aisles and see complete product lines from several major parts suppliers including Phillips, Grote, S&S Truck Parts, Trux, Minimizer and Illinois Auto Truck.
The other products that are on the showroom floor are seasonal, fast moving or impulse items. Action still has a parts counter staffed by trained counter-people to assist customers with their parts purchases.
Action works with its suppliers, who supply planograms of what the displays should look like. Once the planogram is approved, the display is set up. Suppliers agree to the stipulation that parts that have not sold in 10 months will be removed and replaced either with parts that are selling well or with another part of the supplier’s product line.
“The whole idea is to create a visual experience but where it benefits the manufacturer is by giving them more exposure to our customer base,” Solis says. And Action customers benefit by having a wider variety of products to choose from. Solis says the distributorship is now carrying parts lines it never sold before and that helps them and their customers too.
Solis says the investment in this new way of selling parts has been worth it for Action, but adds, “We have yet to scratch the surface. We are trying to do something that no one else is doing.”
Action Truck Parts is part of Seidel Diesel Corp., which owns Midwest Fuel Injection and Diesel Service in addition to Action. The company has been in business for 10 years and is a member of Vipar Heavy Duty.
“If people aren’t paying attention to what we are doing, they should be,” Solis says. “We plan to change truck parts distribution. We are a small company, but we are making waves.”