Are you sure that your current suppliers are the ones you want ? That they meet your expectations in terms of quality, price and delivery times ? If the answer to this question is no, you are probably in the middle of sourcing. You scrutinise each candidate before making your choice. If, on the other hand, you are fully satisfied, have you thought about comparing competing offers ? The same applies to your suppliers as to any other service : a reappraisal can only be beneficial. Either it reinforces your choices, or it pushes you to find something better in order to make savings and improve your services. Now that this basic observation has been made, how can a garage owner choose his car parts suppliers correctly ?
Good suppliers contribute to the prosperity and sustainability of a business, in this case your car garage. There is no shortage of car parts brands and distributors, finding the right one for you is sometimes a headache.
Diversifying your supply channels means that you are not dependent on just one and can constantly compare the prices, quality and responsiveness of several market players. You also have access to a large number of references and can take advantage of the latest developments. Several suppliers allow you to expand your range of products and to be on top of all the trends.
Sourcing takes time and method. Set yourself a list of criteria from the outset with which you will examine each candidate. For this article we have selected the criteria of delivery time, price, origin of parts, size of wholesaler and degree of specialisation, but there are almost certainly others.
The supply of automotive spare parts (ARP) is a considerable challenge for a garage owner. A well-defined stock reduces vehicle downtime. Fast working files are easier to manage and customer relations are smoother.
Delivery time as a criterion of choice is therefore quite relevant. Relevant, but probably not sufficient. E-commerce has blithely changed the rules of the game in all sectors of the economy and the automotive aftermarket is no exception. Every supplier and warehouse manager knows that fast delivery is now the industry standard.
This is why the type of orders is changing : there is less consolidation, they are smaller and shipped more regularly. Order ranges are being extended as much as possible and delivery times are being shortened to 24 or 48 hours. The logistics networks have also evolved and the heavyweights of the PRA market rely on a network of shops spread throughout the country, as close as possible to the end customer.
The AAG group (Alliance Automotive Groupe), one of the leaders for light vehicle parts, relies throughout the UK on the Precisium, Group Auto, Partner's and Gef'Auto banners. The giant Autodistribution, which needs no introduction, is the market leader in the UK, thanks to its sales force and powerful logistics network.
It is an understatement to say that the automotive parts sector is a competitive one. It generated a turnover of £13 billion in 2018 in the UK, so the margins are huge. Dealers, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers and equipment manufacturers share the market and it is not always easy to find your way around. B-to-B platforms operating on the internet have also caused a big strain on prices.
Getting good prices will increase your margins, stay competitive, but also build customer loyalty. Don't overlook the fact that your customers know the price of parts, as they often do their own research on the net and compare the prices of your quotes with those charged by platforms and buying groups.
Low prices are not everything, however; it is up to you to check that the standards and certifications specific to the automotive sector are applied. You should also make sure that there are no hidden charges that will inflate your bill. Most automotive spare parts are imported, so the costs associated with importing goods can really set you back.
If you're looking for made in France for your car parts, you may be disappointed. Disappointed, because only 5 French companies are among the top 100 global equipment manufacturers. The France Industrie website lists them and the most successful are the German groups ZF Friedrichshafen, Continental AG and Bosch, the Canadian Magna International and the Japanese Aisin Seiki, a subsidiary of the Toyota group. On the French side, Valeo, Faurecia and Michelin also rank highly. Nothing surprising in this ranking, it is quite stable.
On the production side, Eastern European countries are doing very well. Poland, in particular. The fact that there are no Polish car manufacturers on the market does not prevent this nation from being Europe's largest parts production area. The country boasts a high level of competence with modern factories that are highly automated and digitalised. So there is an alternative to Made in China and much closer to home.
In line with what we have just written, it would not be relevant to recommend one over another. The large national distributors offer very good prices and provide you with very high quality technical assistance, such as that offered by Autodistribution, with Autossimo and its 2 million references. Local wholesalers allow for a more personalised and almost tailor-made relationship. In addition, many of them were particularly responsive during the COVID-19 crisis. They did everything possible to supply garages as quickly as possible and spared no effort in travelling to be as close as possible to the customer. You have probably experienced this yourself with your regional suppliers.
The major players in the PRA sector are above all generalist suppliers. Their catalogue contains thousands of references in all categories of parts, from simple consumables to high value-added parts. You have probably noticed that not all brands are equal, both for price and quality.
An interesting criterion in choosing a supplier is that they are specialists in the supply of very specific, high value-added spare parts such as particulate filters, for example. In some cases, going to a specialist guarantees access to the best products and real expertise. You also have the opportunity to build a long-term, personalised relationship that will undoubtedly add value to your work.