Dealership Newsmaker Q&A: Todd Fawcett

Jan. 1, 2020
Todd Fawcett has been managing the parts department at Drennen Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Coshocton, Ohio, for three years.

Todd Fawcett has been managing the parts department at Drennen Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Coshocton, Ohio, for three years. The small dealership employees three technicians, along with a service writer and service manager, and operates 13 bays. Like most parts managers, Fawcett has to deal with obsolete inventory that can't be returned. The dealership tries to make good use of these parts by donating them to the auto repair program at the local Coshocton County Career Center. In the spring, Drennen donated nearly $70,000 worth of parts to the school, including everything from brakes to oxygen sensors to fuel lines.

What kind of parts did you wind up donating to the Career Center?

Mainly older Chrysler parts. A lot of it was stuff that was non-returnable. It might have had damaged packaging that we couldn't send back, or older inventory. A bunch of different things. We were trying to get our inventory cleaned out, and we've made these donations in the past.

Do you do any other work with the Career Center?

They have a career day where they will send a couple of kids over that are in the auto tech program to shadow the technicians and see what it's like and how the fixed-ops business operates. They can see what the parts department is like.

What's the value for Drennen in working with an education center?

It actually works out really well. They don't actually have to spend money to buy these parts, and they can take a power window switch and take it apart. Some of this stuff is easier to understand if you can look at it and know what you are dealing with before you start tearing something apart. You pick up a lot by actually holding a part in your hand. It also helps us out because it gets rid of idle inventory that we can't sell or return. It's valuable to us that we can send it to them, and they can use it.

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How do you identify the kind of inventory you would send in a donation like this?

I try to keep track of what we've got going on as far as stuff that has been here for over a year or two years. If the packaging is not up to Chrysler's standards for returns, or it's something that's had a number change. They won't take anything back that's had a number change. I've actually set up a system where we can put those parts in a special area, and when we are ready to make a donation we have the stuff all together.

What's your biggest challenge as a parts manager right now?

I would say our biggest challenge is keeping the right inventory for the vehicles we need parts for. That's always a struggle in parts. And trying to get outside business in, customer-pay business. Customers have this idea that as a dealership, we're going to charge more. But they don't realize that our guys deal with these brands of vehicles all day long, and there is not that big of a difference price wise. That's a perception that people have about the dealership that is not always true.

Todd Fawcett has been managing the parts department at Drennen Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Coshocton, Ohio, for three years. The small dealership employees three technicians, along with a service writer and service manager, and operates 13 bays. Like most parts managers, Fawcett has to deal with obsolete inventory that can't be returned. The dealership tries to make good use of these parts by donating them to the auto repair program at the local Coshocton County Career Center. In the spring, Drennen donated nearly $70,000 worth of parts to the school, including everything from brakes to oxygen sensors to fuel lines.

What kind of parts did you wind up donating to the Career Center?

Mainly older Chrysler parts. A lot of it was stuff that was non-returnable. It might have had damaged packaging that we couldn't send back, or older inventory. A bunch of different things. We were trying to get our inventory cleaned out, and we've made these donations in the past.

Do you do any other work with the Career Center?

They have a career day where they will send a couple of kids over that are in the auto tech program to shadow the technicians and see what it's like and how the fixed-ops business operates. They can see what the parts department is like.

What's the value for Drennen in working with an education center?

It actually works out really well. They don't actually have to spend money to buy these parts, and they can take a power window switch and take it apart. Some of this stuff is easier to understand if you can look at it and know what you are dealing with before you start tearing something apart. You pick up a lot by actually holding a part in your hand. It also helps us out because it gets rid of idle inventory that we can't sell or return. It's valuable to us that we can send it to them, and they can use it.

PAGE 2

How do you identify the kind of inventory you would send in a donation like this?

I try to keep track of what we've got going on as far as stuff that has been here for over a year or two years. If the packaging is not up to Chrysler's standards for returns, or it's something that's had a number change. They won't take anything back that's had a number change. I've actually set up a system where we can put those parts in a special area, and when we are ready to make a donation we have the stuff all together.

What's your biggest challenge as a parts manager right now?

I would say our biggest challenge is keeping the right inventory for the vehicles we need parts for. That's always a struggle in parts. And trying to get outside business in, customer-pay business. Customers have this idea that as a dealership, we're going to charge more. But they don't realize that our guys deal with these brands of vehicles all day long, and there is not that big of a difference price wise. That's a perception that people have about the dealership that is not always true.

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