By Eric Simmons, DuPage Industries
Running a successful appliance business means you have a lot of moving parts.
You have a brick-and-mortar store to manage; a team you lead and rely on; customer service issues to address; and, in today’s climate, longer lead times and costs to bring in your appliance inventory.
If you are not already using one, a dedicated appliance parts supplier can be a valuable asset to your supply chain.
Finding a parts supplier that you can trust and build a relationship with will make your business run smoother. Here are a few of the benefits of using a parts supplier, as well as some factors you need to consider when selecting one:
Price of parts. Using a dedicated parts supplier means you are getting access to pricing that’s better than by bringing in parts yourself, whether through your own relationships with vendors or by buying them at retail prices from major hardware stores (hopefully not!). Finding a supplier who offers free freight options helps to keep your parts prices lower too.
Ease of use. Instead of trying to manage dozens of relationships with different companies to bring in a few items from each vendor, you can simplify your process and work with a parts supplier. Let the supplier build, manage and maintain the multitude of vendor relationships needed to fully stock your supply needs, so that they can champion for you and reduce the workload on your purchasing team.
Availability of parts. A good parts supplier is going to have two main advantages with availability: First, any good parts supplier should be forecasting their inventory to know how much to bring in, which means you get your order filled when you need it. Due to the state of the world, this has become more challenging across all industries, but a good parts supplier should be trying their best to minimize item shortages to keep your businesses humming along. Second, parts suppliers have a much higher chance of being “in” with their vendors. Because of the nature of the business, manufacturers will cater to their largest customers first, meaning a company dedicated to parts will demand the attention of their manufacturer over others.
Quality of parts. As with everything else, you get what you pay for. Your supplier should offer the correct balance of price and quality. No one needs gold-plated washing hoses, but neither do you want them made out of paper.
Ease of Ordering. A good parts supplier should be eager to receive your purchase orders and make it easy for you to place them. Look for a company that has friendly on-site staff should you call them. It’s always nice to reach a real person, especially if you can get to that real person without having to first go through a 10-minute automated message maze. Also, check if there are other ways you can place your orders with the company, whether by fax, a website portal, or even text lines.
If you don’t currently offer parts for sale at retail, you should ask yourself the question, “If not you, then who?” Every appliance you sell needs to be installed, so if you are not performing the install, at least give your customer the opportunity to obtain quality install parts at a reasonable price.
Eric Simmons is Warehouse Manager of DuPage Industries, a 65-year-old appliance installation parts supplier and BrandSource partner based in Addison, Ill. You can reach them at (800) 634-8843 or visit them online at DuPageIndustries.com.