Tell us about your company and the products that you offer.
C&K Auto Parts has focused on serving the VSC industry for more than 18 years. Over the years, our product offerings have grown to include a full line of both remanufactured and used powertrain assemblies, the most comprehensive selection of OEM parts (over 21 million unique part numbers) in the industry, as well as a line of aftermarket remanufactured small parts (electronics, brake components, steering components, axles, etc.).
How does your service work and how is it different from other parts providers?
Our business approach has always been to stress service over all else, from making it as easy to quote an order as it is to submit and complete a warranty claim. Our feeling is that anyone can have the cheapest price, but excellent service will keep the customer happier in the long term.
We have worked very hard, and invested significantly, in both technology and expanded warehousing. We’ve used technology to allow quicker, more accurate quoting to our customers, both when our in-house staff is interacting with the customer and through better websites and integration, which allows the customer to search for the part themselves in a variety of ways. And our expanded warehousing allows us to deliver a large percentage of our powertrain parts within one or two days, which improves customer service and saves our customers a significant amount of money by lowering their rental expenses.
Who are your customers? What message would you like to express to them?
Our target market has always been the VSC administrator. The message might seem clichéd, but it’s true in our view: The customer is always right. From the beginning, we’ve structured C&K to customize as much of our service as possible to the needs and requests of each individual customer. Our warranties are designed to mimic the exact legal language in our customers’ contracts with the vehicle owners, and the warranty lengths are flexible to the point of being as long as the administrator needs them to be. Our IT department can integrate with whichever computer system is being used by the administrator. And since our product offerings are so varied, we can essentially be a one-stop shop, which also saves our customers time in locating the right part.
What channels do you use to sell your services?
We market our services directly to VSC administrators, and try to maintain a visible presence at VSC industry functions and conventions.
Looking back over the past five years, how has the parts industry changed and how do you see it changing in the future?
As the automotive industry was hit by the recession, the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, and the slow recovery, the parts industry has become much more competitive. In addition, the VSC industry has matured in its approach to procedures and processes, and technology has come to the foreground.
Providing parts to this industry requires a few key steps, once you have made the list of acceptable suppliers that are able to provide quality parts and stand behind warranties: quickly and accurately quoting both a price and availability, delivering the part quickly to the repair facility (which can be anywhere in the U.S. or Canada), and making sure that the part is correct. Five years ago, it was a time-consuming process that involved handling each quote request individually and numerous phone calls to verify both inventory and shipping times.
Through our use of technology, we are now able to do more than 35 times more daily quotes, and they are much more accurate. In the future, we see more of the same. Technology is simply becoming more pervasive, and every new general advance can be targeted and customized even more.
What technology or additional services do you believe will drive your future success?
Integration and automation go hand-in-hand with our vision of C&K’s place in the industry. The more that can be done by a computer behind the scenes, the faster and easier it will be for the claims adjusters on the front lines to get their jobs done quickly and accurately. Focusing on this has become one of our major goals, and our IT department is growing very quickly.
Expanding our product offerings is our other focus. Advertising and marketing are industries unto themselves, because getting a new customer is one of the most difficult things to do in business. Once you have a customer calling you, it makes sense to make sure you have the product that they want or need. They are calling you to spend money — you better have the product to make the sale.