Trupart is a leading independent distributor of parts and lighting products to the automotive aftermarket.
Operating from distribution centres in Doncaster and Glasgow, Trupart offers a next day delivery service to motor factors, retailers, and parts specialists throughout the United Kingdom.
Trupart are approved suppliers to buying groups such as the GAU (formerly the FSG), the IFA, RAPID and CAAR.
The 'parts explosion' experienced in recent years has resulted in motor factors focusing far more on their stocks and taking advantage of next day deliveries. As a result, the Trupart product range comprises over ten thousand part numbers covering some twenty product groups. In most cases, these are available on a next day delivery service via a combination of their own company vehicles and third party carriers.
In order to manage such a complex business, Trupart needed a system that could give them tighter control in several key business areas. "Managing the rudiments of our business is critical if we're to maintain our margins" said Dean Learoyd, Trupart's Sales Director. "The strict control of stocks, debtors, sales and margin is fundamental to our success."
After making the decision to change to Autopart v20 in late 2005, Trupart were keen to get their new system installed quickly and with the minimum of disruption. "In our business, time is money" explains Dean. "We operate a dedicated sales centre that processes orders 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Closing it down for any length of time would mean a significant loss of business."
Thankfully, Autopart's thin-client infrastructure meant that it could be quickly and simply deployed on-site utilising much of the existing hardware. "The implementation team were excellent " recalls Dean. "The entire system was implemented within a single weekend. Not only was this well within the expected timescales, we didn't lose any valuable sales time."
Trupart's previous experience with Autopart v17 meant that staff would soon become proficient in their new system. "The software is so easy to use that, with a little refresher training, staff were up and running in next to no time" said Dean.
Accurate stock control
Working with overseas suppliers emphasizes Trupart's need to maintain accurate stock levels. "When sourcing stock from overseas, lead times can be up to three months" explains Dean. "It's therefore critical that we hold precisely the right amount of stock to service our customers' needs. Too little stock and we lose business; too much stock and cash flow will suffer. Autopart helps us ensure we have just enough of the right stock at the right time."
This point is illustrated with Autopart's ability to manage minimum and maximum stock levels. "Brake discs are a good example. In our Glasgow depot, for example, we use Autopart to ensure each part number is stocked and sold in pairs" explained Dean. "It's simple, but it's critical to our business."
Working with overseas suppliers also means trading in foreign currencies. "Exchange rate fluctuations mean it's common for prices to change between ordering and payment" explains Dean. "Thankfully, Autopart has the functionality to cater for this, ensuring that our costs accurately reflect the prices we're paying".
Autopart's comprehensive pricing routines enable Trupart to accurately set prices on a per-customer basis. "Autopart gives us ultimate pricing flexibility" explains Dean. "We're able to tailor unique pricing matrices for each of our customers. Each of our customers gets the maximum value from our offering, and we maintain a firm grip on profitability."
With over ten thousand part numbers, managing price changes can be complicated. "We try to adjust our prices at least once a year" he explained. "The Autopart block changes routines mean that I can make all the necessary amendments in just ten minutes."
Accurate business control was one of Dean's main reasons for installing Autopart. "It's like being a doctor" he explains. "You have to have your finger on the pulse. At any given point in time, I need to know how healthy our business is. Autopart's reports give me the information that I need to undertake a precise diagnosis. We have control of the business. As a result, we've been able to achieve some significant long term improvements in margin."