Luther’s growing presence builds efficiency, service
Borrowing from a floral distribution model and success at Luther’s Brookdale area stores, the parts pool distribution concept has blossomed on the south end of the Twin Cities, with seven stores involved.
Using Luther Bloomington Hyundai as an exchange point for parts, delivery trucks converge twice daily, then deliver to the metro area and beyond. Drivers cover zones, which allows coverage of a 75-mile swath from northeast to southwest and more than 50 miles east to west, all while saving on fuel and time.
Parts Manager Nate Truesdell with Luther Bloomington Hyundai helped establish the system when Bloomington’s Hyundai and Kia stores were together and coordinated parts deliveries with Infiniti of Bloomington. A few months after Kia and Hyundai had their own locations, Luther Nissan Kia and Hopkins Honda joined the group, as did Fiat of Bloomington and Burnsville Volkswagen. VW became the sixth
store with a parts driver, and served as a trigger to add afternoon deliveries, Truesdell explains.
The system allows larger stores like Bloomington Hyundai to keep more parts staff members in house to work with technicians and answer phones, Tuesdell said.
“Now everyone has gelled together so well,” he said. When one parts driver is overloaded with deliveries for an area, the others adjust their boundaries and take more deliveries to even out the load. Before the parts pool, the Hyundai store couldn’t send deliveries to Hudson, Wis. Now it can send them twice daily, the parts manager explained.
Business growth and promotion are coupled with constant improvement efforts, much of them gained by taking feedback from drivers. Routes can be adjusted to make time sensitive deliveries first, said Truesdell. And, as the distribution hub, Bloomington Hyundai can offer same day delivery of parts ordered as late as 1 p.m.
Parts Manager Jeff Rivers at Burnsville VW saw the pool distribution’s success when he worked at Brookdale Chrysler, and brought that knowledge-base southward. The large VW store provides a lot of body and mechanical parts for the pool.
Rivers said there’s often an adjustment period for independent shop customers, who meet new delivery drivers and coordinate drop off areas. “When you do the pool, you don’t have the same guy, but you have a Luther employee who knows where the stuff goes,” Rivers said. Truesdell has been impressed with all of the drivers, and said he would hire any one of them himself.