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Acton Toyota creates a better system for parts delivery to techs

Acton Toyota creates a better system for parts delivery to techs

Along with its vending machine for shop supplies, Acton Toyota of Littleton is using another high-tech adaptation of a familiar device — the shopping cart — to improve the way technicians get the repair parts they need.

The dealership employs carts and dollies to deliver large parts, such as tires, batteries and brakes, to its service bays, says Randy Irwin, Acton Toyota’s service director. Such deliveries are the last step of a computerized process of parts ordering that links technicians, service advisers and the parts department.

Technicians “get everything in one stop” instead of making multiple trips to the parts counter, Irwin says. A technician asks for parts electronically, a service adviser approves the request, and the parts desk pulls or orders them.

The process also enables service advisers at Acton Toyota to place prompt orders with the parts department after customers drop off their cars. Those parts are loaded onto the shopping carts delivered to technicians as well, says Mike Coffey, the dealership’s parts manager.

“Whenever we can pre-pull parts, we grab them and go,” Coffey says.

An order number assigned to each repair job enables everyone to keep track of its status instantly. The technician can pick up the parts when a laptop computer at the work station advises that they’re available. But increasingly, Irwin says, the parts are brought to the service bay.

“It’s a more efficient way to cover more distance,” he says. “A technician in his bay is the best place for him.”

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