A problem most businesses would beg for right now is what Parts Unlimited faced 10 years ago — growth at an alarming rate. Vice president of sales for Parts Unlimited parent company LeMans Corp. Greg Blackwell says because of the considerable growth the company faced in 1998, its biggest challenge at the time was product movement. “At that point, we were at about $300 million, and now we are approaching $1 billion,” he said and added since the company opened, it has been building its warehouse systems and aiming to get product out the door faster. “We were buying so much product for the planning of our future growth that it was really causing a log jam at our doors coming in the building,” Blackwell said. “We were still industry leading then and we’ve gotten even better at getting it out the door, but what we’ve really gotten better at is getting it in the door and on the shelf and available to the dealer.” Parts Unlimited also became more proficient when it started its Parts Net Web and Drag Net Web projects that allow its dealers to buy online, which Blackwell says has turned into a huge success.
Turning point & now
Implementing numerous new systems technological- and operational-wise allowed Parts Unlimited to move its product more efficiently. “We put in place new criteria for our vendors to ship us product and the way we ordered and received that product within our computer systems,” Blackwell said. The changes began in 1998, but the company didn’t see considerable benefits until 2000 and 2001. Blackwell notes it was a slow process due to the hundreds of vendors the company deals with on a daily basis. Parts Unlimited is constantly revamping its systems for more efficient productivity, but the process has gotten so smooth, Blackwell says the company’s vendors don’t notice the transitions. “It’s a constant evolution,” he said. “The people that came to our (grand opening) in Reno saw the latest and greatest of what we’ve reached, and we are constantly striving to make it better.” ?