According to Robert Jones, Director of Parts Operations of Ray Huffines Chevrolet in Plano, TX, “J. L. Huffines, Sr. founded the Huffines Motor Company on two principles which are still the benchmark for all decisions made at the dealerships: treat the customer the way they want to be treated and support the community.”
When J. L. Huffines, Sr. started the company, he sold only Willys-Knight and Overland automobiles but Huffines was able to expand their operations to include a Chevrolet franchise in Lewisville, TX, in 1927. After adding a Jeep dealership in 1941, business really began to pick up beginning with the addition of Ray Huffines Chevrolet Plano in 1984, and by 2006, the automotive group had expanded to include eight dealerships: Huffines Kia-Subaru Denton; Huffines Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Lewisville; Huffines Chevrolet Lewisville; Huffines Chevrolet-Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Plano; Ray Huffines Chevrolet Plano; Huffines Hyundai Plano; Huffines Hyundai McKinney; and Huffines Kia McKinney.
Jones says that the Huffine family “believed that when you sold someone a vehicle, you made a friend. You treated them the way you would want to be treated. It has worked. There are now eight locations, but the Huffines have maintained that small town friendliness and strong commitment to doing the right thing.”
Their success is evident in the fact that they now have the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of original customers still shopping at Huffines. They have also been recognized with many rewards, most notably the Consumers’ Choice Award for Auto Dealership Group in 2008, 2009 and 2010, plus they were voted 20th in the top 100 places to work by the Dallas Morning News Online.
Although the Sales Department at Ray Huffines Chevrolet is responsible for acquiring customers initially, Jones notes, “it is the sole responsibility of [the Parts and Service Departments] to ensure that our customers are satisfied with the operation of their new or pre-owned Chevrolet. The ownership experience is critical to our being successful and being in business for over 80 years.”
Ray Huffines Chevrolet’s Parts Department maintains a multimillion dollar inventory of Genuine GM Parts which includes Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, GMC and Saturn parts. Their three sales representatives process orders from wholesale customers, ensuring they are aware of all the programs offered by the dealership, such as their “Bump the Competition” program which allows price-matching on aftermarket parts specified on insurance estimates. Customers also have access to Ray Huffines Chevrolet’s online parts catalog through OE Connection.
The dealership offers free shipment to most body shops in northern TX, and their fleet of eight trucks delivers a minimum of three times daily to their customers in the DFW market. Other customers in TX, OK and AR receive overnight delivery service via UPS, FedEx or CFI. Each truck in the delivery fleet at Ray Huffines Chevrolet is provided with two-way radios, allowing the dealership to communicate directly with the driver. Their trucks are also equipped with GPS through GO-TRAK, ensuring that the driver has access to directions and allowing the dealership to locate them if necessary.
In answer to demands for better customer service, Ray Huffines Chevrolet has added technology upgrades to improve their customer’s experience. Sales representatives are equipped with wireless headsets which allow them to go to the warehouse and describe a part to a customer if needed, and their multiple computer monitors give them access to the computer inventory system, parts catalog and online locator service without needing to switch screens. Their warehouse utilizes wireless bar-code scanners to check in incoming shipments. Jones explains, “we’re constantly looking for any way to shave off time that could get the material out to our customer quicker.”
Another efficiency they rely on is their parts ordering system, Collision Link from OE Connection, which is free to their customers and integrates with all major estimating systems that most collision shops use. Additionally, the system electronically transmits the order to the dealership after the customer inputs their data, helping their collision shop reduce cycle time with the insurance company.
Despite all of the advancements in technology, Jones credits the employees for the company’s success.
“Our GM part comes from the same warehouse as other GM dealers. The thing that makes us different is our people. Everyone here knows that the key to longevity is our dedication to service... We look for employees that fit within our Huffines family.
“Sure, knowing the job is important, but we can teach that in a lot of cases. We’re looking for people who wants to make sure that the customer comes first... We’ve been in business for over 80 years, and you can’t have that kind of longevity without good people.”
Ray Huffines Chevrolet Plano
1001 Coit Road
Plano, TX 75075