By doing approximately $3.5 million in wholesale with $2.5 million of that comprising of crash parts, and subletting an additional $1 million in collision parts to highly qualified local collision centers, the company is a major player in both states.
With a staff including eight countermen, one assistant manager, two shipping and receiving clerks, four drivers, one wholesale delivery coordinator and one parts runner, DCH Midland is a lean operation that runs like a finely tuned BMW 760Li.
The company’s aforementioned parts director is Sal Sarrecchia, 46, a 30-year veteran who has seen the industry change tremendously since the 1980s. He knows that running a wholesale operation can’t be a sideline or part-time thing if it’s going to run on all cylinders.
“When it comes to wholesale parts, you have to dedicate your resources and people 100%. You can’t go in halfway and expect to succeed. Here, we have all of the elements we need—a great brand, the inventory, the knowledge, the training; the talented people and ownership that believes in what we’re doing.”
If Sarrecchia wants to convey one thing to his customers and potential future customers, it would be this: Aftermarket parts are inferior and that’s why they’re cheaper.
“It’s pretty basic—if you want the best parts made, you have to go to the people who make them,” Sarrecchia said. “But, some body shops or insurance companies will try to cut corners and save money by buying aftermarket, recycled or re-manufactured parts. In the case of crash parts, the aftermarket isn’t equal in quality and by using them I believe shops can compromise the overall safety of the vehicles they repair. It may sound simple and it is, but when it comes to money, common sense sometimes goes out the door.”
Sarrecchia explained that successful parts departments must provide its customer base with three very distinct qualities in order to flourish in a highly competitive business climate.
“First, you have to have the inventory. If you’re forced to backorder items, it affects your body shops’ cycle times, which is crucial. Our fill rate is approximately 90% and if we don’t have something, we’ll get it the same day or next day from our warehouses in Edison, NJ and Nazareth, PA.
“Second, you have to have a knowledgeable, experienced staff. Our two wholesale guys, Lee Cruz and William Hanssler have 40-plus years of cumulative experience in wholesale, and Rudy Bellomo, our retail counterperson, has been doing this for 30 years. If you’re working with someone who isn’t an expert about BMW parts, you’re in trouble, because they will invariably mess up your orders, which results in wasted time or even worse—comebacks. Comebacks are deadly for any business, but even more damaging for body shops, because it can lead to bad reviews and possibly cause them to lose their DRPs.
“And lastly, you have to be able to get the parts to your customers on time,” Sarrecchia said. “Late deliveries can cripple a shop and we know that. In everything we do, we’re thinking about how our customers run their shops and what they need to do a good job.”
Lello Bonaiuto, the owner of Eurotech Auto Body in Mamaroneck, NY, has been ordering wholesale parts from the DCH Midland BMW Parts and Service Center for many years and appreciates the company’s product knowledge and exemplary service from top to bottom, he explained.
“Our wholesale rep is Lee Cruz, a veteran of the industry and a great person to work with,” Bonaiuto said. “We’re lucky, because our DRPs don’t ever ask us to use aftermarket or recycled parts on any of our repairs, so it’s a non-issue. As a result, we feel a lot better using OE parts. Our BMW customers want the factory parts for obvious reasons. Also, we’re not compromising the safety of our clients by using inferior parts, which means I can sleep better at night. Lee and his department also make our lives easier, because when we order parts from them, we’re not dealing with minimum wage people that don’t know the cars or the parts the way they do at the DCH Midland BMW Parts and Service Center.”