Car Parts Storage: Prepping for Millions of SKUs
It’s a tradition familiar to many of us: Your parents drove the same car throughout your childhood. On your 16th birthday, you anxiously hoped for a new car, but settled for your parents’ sensible hand-me-down vehicle. Eventually, you moved away and the car was inherited by a younger sibling, or perhaps traded in for a newer model.
As technology improves and more consumers elect to repair rather than buy new, the average life expectancy of vehicles is increasing dramatically. In fact, the average vehicle on the road today is 11.4 years old, up from 8.9 years old in 2000. Car brands, makes, and models are constantly evolving, leaving many consumers in need of repair parts that may now be discontinued. Add to that the ever-shifting dynamics of technology and you’re left with an increasingly complex car maintenance and repair market.
This shift in car-buying habits has had a large effect on the automotive aftermarket industry. Demand for older model parts is now on par with demand for newer model parts. On top of the millions of aftermarket SKUs, auto parts manufacturers are introducing 80,000 unique parts each year. Service departments are built with fixed space for car parts storage, but now need to store more parts than ever – and the number only keeps increasing.
Today’s customers expect work to be done well – and faster than ever – or they’ll take their business elsewhere. They aren’t willing to wait weeks for a repair shop to locate, order, ship, and install the new parts, which puts pressure on service departments to have tens of thousands of parts in stock. From the service department’s perspective, it isn’t efficient to stock so many slow-moving inventory parts when they take up the car parts storage space needed for quick-turn parts. However, the slower-moving inventory must be accommodated to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
However, by attempting to store millions of SKUs in one location, many service departments end up misplacing items or purchasing duplicate parts. This cycle wastes money and valuable employee time as technicians must divert attention to tracking down and reordering parts. One solution, of course, is to build additional storage space or repurpose repair space into extra storage space. However, this can be very costly and take away from revenue-generating activities.
A better option is high-density mobile shelving, such as ActivRAC which can help service departments stay competitive and prepare for the immense growth in SKUs. By mounting existing shelves or racking onto mobile carriages, you can add up to double the car parts storage in the same footprint – and spend more time helping customers rather than searching for parts.
Too many missing parts, too little space, reordered parts, tires with no home – we’ve handled car parts storage challenges of all flavors and varieties. Below, read about how we helped the service department at Dave Kehl Chevrolet get 3 times the inventory storage out of their space by using an ActivRAC mobile system.