The lost sale is the bane of any distributor. When a part sale is lost to another, it’s generally because you didn’t have something in stock. Sure, it might happen occasionally because of pricing but first and foremost availability is at the root of most of the lost sale incidents. You can call “swing and a miss” as the parts customer leaves the store or hangs up without a sale occurring. But there is an opportunity to salvage something from the occasion, and that is done by recording the lost sale.
Capturing Parts Lost Order Information
Tracking lost parts orders will help insure that the parts department maintains an inventory that serves the specific needs of parts customers within the dealerships area of primary responsibility.
Failure To Track Lost Orders Can Lead To:
- Poor off shelf availability.
- High level of emergency orders.
- Excessively high inbound freight charges.
- High emergency demand by the shop.
- Low fill rate perception by customers.
- Low VOC (Voice of the Customer) scores.
- Reduced parts sales volume.
Tracking Parts Lost Orders:
Many of the business systems that are currently in use by the dealer organization provide tools that allow lost orders to be tracked electronically. The advantage of electronic tracking is that it allows parts management to easily retrieve monthly lost order reports. By editing these reports any part that should be in inventory can be easily identified.
Lost orders can be easily monitored even if electronic tracking is not available. The simplest method is to have each parts department associate keep a list of parts not normally kept in inventory that are frequently requested by customers. The information on these forms should be reviewed by the parts manager on a regular basis in order to identify parts that need to be added to the inventory. A simple lost order tracking form is included as part of this manual.
Regardless of which method is selected to track lost orders, it will be important for parts management to maintain the discipline that is necessary to insure that lost order information is captured regularly and accurately.