Paul Yull, Sales Manager at Interbin, outlines the benefits of organising stock effectively, and how doing so can improve workshop efficiency and secure customer loyalty.
Independent garages within the automotive after-sales sector are constantly under pressure to compete with franchised dealers. While it’s tempting to think consumers will be won purely on the basis of price, this is not always the case. Independent garages should not feel they have to be the cheapest to secure a loyal customer base. Loyalty and repeat business can be achieved by providing a consistently good, efficient service and high standards of work. Without a well organised workshop, this is incredibly difficult to deliver.
Efficiently organised stock makes it easier to see what parts need to be reordered, avoiding incidences where customers have to wait for work to be completed, or simply go elsewhere. Whilst it’s obviously impossible, and wouldn’t make sound business sense for a garage to keep every part that could ever be needed in stock, a flexible storage system – specifically designed for the workshop environment – will help garage owners to quickly and easily notice when they are running low on frequently used items.
The first step to getting organised is to invest in good quality storage bins. Look for strength and durability, ensuring that the bins can cope in the garage environment and therefore do not need to be replaced regularly. Storage bins from Interbin are available in a range of sizes, so can easily cope with a wide range of parts, both big and small, and their associated weights. Colour coding bins can be an effective way of categorising different types of stock, as it enables a mechanic to quickly identify where a part is, and where to put it back, should they need a different part than originally thought.
Next, consider where and how storage bins will be arranged. This will partly depend on the available floor space, but there is a vast range of options that will help any size of garage stay neat and organised. For example, when space is at a premium, louvred panels, Handi-Panels, double-sided racks, single-sided racks and rack packs offer the perfect solution. All of these can be either fixed to a wall, or in the case of the racks and rack packs, positioned against walls, to leave floor space clear. Interbin’s louvred panels are available in a range of sizes and are compatible with both MDI range bins, and high capacity storage bins.
Accessories such as lids, dividers and labels can also be utilised to protect the contents from air particles or dust. Split up smaller items maximise capacity and ensure bins are labelled clearly. For high value stock, invest in storage cupboards with lockable doors. Look for those that come equipped with shelves and storage bins, as they will be custom designed to fit that particular cupboard – therefore making best use of the internal space.
Managing a garage requires juggling a range of tasks, so spending valuable time getting organised may seem like a low priority, but in the long run, it will increase efficiency and have a positive impact on the standard of service a garage provides – and ultimately on its profitability.