Zan Childress was recently named the parts and service manager at Choice Automotive Group, a used car, truck and SUV dealer in Valdosta, Ga.
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Childress oversees three bays and two technicians, and manages all parts and service activity. The dealership also offers a complete line of truck accessories, vehicle tracking equipment, and utility trailers, and has opened up an on-site, 1,600-square-foot warehouse for its custom truck accessories and equipment business.
You've been in your new position for five months. What are your goals for the parts and service operation?
Well, the company's goal in putting me here is to make sure we're managing the custom business and service business. We just put in a large parts warehouse, and we're building an actual computerized inventory. We want to grow the custom side of the business.
What are some of the key challenges facing your service department?
Really and truthfully just keeping up with the flow. We're picking up business rather quickly, and we have extremely full bays. Including our own vehicles, we're pushing 15 jobs through the shop a day. If we're doing large lift kits, then maybe we're doing four a day. It varies.
With our custom work, we do just about anything you can do on a truck. We have stereos, rims, tires, small lift kits, large lift kits, aftermarket lighting, rear and front bumpers.
Since you service all makes and models, and the used vehicle inventory there, how are you sourcing parts?
We use All Pro, Meyer Distributing, NAPA and Advance. Locally we use White Brothers Auto Parts. We mostly get parts in as needed. White Brothers is just a half a mile from us, so we get a pretty quick turnaround if we need something.
The hardest stuff to get are the electronics. Switches for just about any of our vehicles are always the most challenging. You never know if the local supplier is going to have them, or if we have to go to the dealer.
What would you say is unique about your service department?
What I believe is unique is that we treat our customers' vehicles like they are ours. We look at every one of them, and try to give them the service we would like to have on our own vehicles. We do not short change them, and we do the absolute best job we can do.
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