Tea Break Talks: One year in the industry
Spalding Parts Sales Manager, Vicky Lord
In January of 2018, Vicky Lord joined our Spalding team as Parts Sales Manager, as part of a continued commitment to providing first-class services to our customers.
A year on we caught up with Vicky to find out what she’s been up to and get the low down on the changes she has made, as well as Vicky’s plans for the next 12 months.
Can it be a year already?
"My goodness, the last twelve to thirteen months have flown by and yet in that time so much has changed for us here at Spalding, and I’m not the only one to notice!
"When I spoke to my fantastic team and asked for feedback for this blog I asked the question, ‘what is your view of the last 12 months?’. I expected the usual banter but the reply was most certainly humbling; ‘The department is unrecognisable from this time last year’."
And what a year it has been. From Vicky’s first day on the Ford & Slater team her initial priority was to the parts department, consisting of 11 employees, and to the culture within the dealership.
"A huge benefit of coming from a background outside the industry has been my avoidance of pre-conceived attitudes towards other departments. As a result, we are very close with our service colleagues which really helps with everyday operations, whilst the synergy also benefits our workshop customers and New Vehicle PDI processes too.
"It’s a small dealership and we work closely with one another, so it was important to me that we maintained a professional and friendly atmosphere from the off, and implemented regular one-on-one meetings with staff to help them grow, both as individuals and as a team."
Vicky speaks highly of her team and of the other services at Ford & Slater Spalding, but a particular highlight of her year with us has been the diversity of the customers – especially the truck drivers.
"Our sales counter has seen all sorts of shoppers come through here; from the local horse enthusiast with one horsebox, to SME hauliers and national contracts, to drivers looking for a spare part or accessory.
"We identify and sell parts for all different manufacturers so it’s not just DAF drivers we get through here, but they take pride in their vehicles and are always quizzing us on the best options. We love having them pop in."
Ford & Slater Spalding’s ideal location puts them among some of the largest parts customers of the entire Ford and Slater group. Towards the end of 2018 they also welcomed another, well known large fleet customer meaning Vicky’s first year in the business has been a busy one. But it has not all been plain sailing.
"The parts department experienced our fair share of challenges this year. Take the recent dealership refurbishment for example - Stock checking from portacabins in the heat of Summer was certainly interesting, if not a little uncomfortable.
"Our refurbished building was worth every minute of the hot sticky daily grind though, and we now enjoy a fantastic first floor with great canteen facilities, new meeting and training rooms, additional parts storage and a wonderful reception office complete with drivers waiting room."
And the plans for the future?
"We’ve certainly come a long way in the last twelve months. There has been a lot of change, both to the parts department and the dealership - though from our impressive 11% growth on all counter sales I can say they are all for the better. Promoting our quality TRP All Makes range and getting this percentage even higher is at the top of the hot list for the coming year.
"I am proud to say that our parts people are our biggest asset, alongside the quality parts themselves and the strength and back-up we get from the entire Ford and Slater group. I’m excited to see what the future brings!"