A recent Profit Team Group meeting was hosted by Arizona Auto Parts in Phoenix. The meeting was attended by family patriarch and third generation auto recycler, Mike Pierson Senior. During the opening statements we were informed that it was the 100th anniversary of Arizona Auto Parts as they opened in 1919. Michael Pierson Junior is the 4th generation to run the family business and they are very well positioned to continue their successful business.
Mike Senior was asked for some of the core basics he has learned over his career in the salvage industry. As a modest man he quickly turned the answer about a person named George Biel. George Biel is the founder of chain of restaurants that are very successful and have duplicated the dining experience in each location. Mr. Biel sites three things that he feels are the magic that is his company:
1. Provide great customer service.
2. Deliver a great product.
3. Provide a great atmosphere to work in.
Those seem to be 3 very basic things that are simple to list but can be difficult to accomplish. We have many customers and they fall into different categories with each having their own definition of great customer service. What do you do to distinguish yourself from the rest of the industry? Do you coach your staff about attitude? Do your delivery trucks look clean with professional drivers? Do you package your parts that show pride in the company? Do you say you have a QC department or do you know that you have a quality control driven culture?
Knowing and having the company truly understand that QC is a culture and not a department will help you deliver a great product. We need to remember that a lot of what we do has a subjective stance on quality. We sell a lot of parts that are not perfect but are good enough to meet the expectation of the customer. We need to always work towards quality understanding that perfection is not the profitable solution. Making sure the customer is not surprised when he looks at our parts we are doing our job. Keeping the customer informed and is aware that all parts are used and need inspected upon arrival.
The job market in 2019 is a tough environment. We do not have a high unemployment rate so we need to be careful when it comes to hiring and then retaining the good people that we have working for us or hope to attract to our industry. The work atmosphere is a big part of that. We need to provide safe work environments that allow people the opportunity to grow as individuals so the company can grow and flourish.
We are in business to make money. The things that Mr. Biel has cited seem to be three things that will always help us improve our companies which in turn should improve something that will allow us to make more profit. The fact that Arizona Auto Parts is turning 100 is really cool to me. Mike Senior thinking that those three things have been important to his company lasting four generations seems to be a testament that they should be paid attention to.
The coming months will be filled with many good and bad things with each presenting an opportunity to make business better or worse. Concentrating on the basics like the three points mentioned in this article can help keep you grounded in the basics. Keeping things grounded in the basics tends to keep us moving forward.
If you see any of the Arizona Auto Parts people congratulate them on an impressive feat of lasting 100 years.
Mike Kunkel Lee Worman
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