Career Development

What Does a Parts Specialist Do?

Find out what a parts specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a parts specialist.

Parts specialists are responsible for sourcing and stocking the parts that their company sells. They work closely with vendors to ensure that they have a steady supply of high-quality parts, and they also help customers find the right part for their needs.

Parts specialists may specialize in certain types of parts or products—for example, auto parts specialists might focus on car parts while electronics parts specialists might focus on computer hardware and software. Regardless of their specialty, they all play an important role in ensuring that their company can meet customer demand.

Parts Specialist Job Duties

Parts specialists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Interviewing customers about their needs, providing recommendations for products that fit their requirements, and explaining how products meet their needs
  • Operating equipment such as forklifts, cranes, and other machinery used to move materials around a warehouse or shipping facility
  • Performing basic repair and maintenance tasks on machinery to ensure that it continues to operate efficiently
  • Providing technical support and assistance to customers regarding the use of products and services
  • Working with management to develop new products or improve existing products to meet customer needs
  • Maintaining inventory levels of supplies and materials used in manufacturing products or providing services
  • Maintaining records of inventories and purchasing orders to ensure that materials are available when they are needed
  • Assisting with the development of sales proposals, presentations, bids, and contracts
  • Communicating with suppliers about order status, delivery times, and other issues that arise during the ordering process

Parts Specialist Salary & Outlook

Parts specialists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions and bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,500 ($18.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $57,500 ($27.64/hour)

The employment of parts specialists is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for automotive parts will depend on the condition of the economy and the number of miles driven by consumers. As long as cars and trucks are in use, there will be a need for parts specialists to repair them. However, technological advances may allow fewer workers to do the same amount of work.

Parts Specialist Job Requirements

A parts specialist typically needs to have the following background:

Education: Most parts specialists have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed some college coursework in auto mechanics, auto repair, auto body repair or another related field.

Training & Experience: Parts specialists can gain training through formal education or on-the-job training. Some parts specialists learn the basics of their role while working as an entry-level automotive technician. Others may transfer their experience in a related role, such as a mechanic or automotive body technician.

Certifications & Licenses: Though not required, many parts specialists pursue certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Parts Specialist Skills

Parts specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Parts specialists use technical skills to read and understand technical documents, including assembly instructions, schematics and other technical documents. They also use technical skills to troubleshoot and solve technical problems, including those related to machinery and computer software.

Communication skills: Parts specialists communicate with their coworkers and customers on a daily basis. They use their communication skills to explain technical information to customers and to relay information to their coworkers. Effective communication skills can help you to build positive relationships with your coworkers and customers.

Problem-solving skills: Parts specialists often work with other team members to solve problems. They may need to troubleshoot issues with machinery or find solutions to supply shortages. Problem-solving skills can help you find solutions quickly and efficiently. You may also use problem-solving skills to identify and fix issues with the parts you produce.

Organizational skills: Parts specialists often have strong organizational skills, as they must keep track of many different parts and ensure they are in the right place at the right time. This can include keeping track of the location of each part, the order in which the parts are used and the amount of each part in stock. Organizational skills can also help you keep track of the many different tools and machines used in the manufacturing process.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you interact with customers and clients in a positive manner. Parts specialists often work directly with customers, so it’s important to be friendly and helpful. You can answer questions, provide information and help customers find the parts they need.

Parts Specialist Work Environment

Parts specialists work in a variety of settings, including auto parts stores, warehouses, and manufacturing and repair shops. They may be exposed to noise from machinery, fumes from chemicals, and dust from the products they handle. Parts specialists typically work a regular 40-hour week, but they may occasionally have to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or accommodate customer needs. Some parts specialists may be required to travel to attend trade shows or to visit suppliers.

Parts Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how parts specialists work. Parts specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The automotive industry is becoming increasingly complex, and this is leading to an increased demand for parts specialists with technical skills.

As cars become more sophisticated, the need for specialized parts increases, and this requires parts specialists who are able to understand the latest technologies and how they work. This will allow them to find the right parts for each car and ensure that they are installed correctly.

More Automation in the Supply Chain

The automotive supply chain is becoming increasingly automated, which is having a major impact on the role of the parts specialist.

As automation becomes more prevalent, parts specialists will need to learn how to work with new systems and software in order to stay competitive. They will also need to be able to manage inventory more effectively and streamline the process of ordering and receiving parts.

Greater Focus on Customer Service

The automotive industry is shifting towards a greater focus on customer service. This means that parts specialists will need to be able to provide excellent customer service in order to keep customers happy.

In order to be successful in this environment, parts specialists will need to be able to communicate effectively with customers and understand their needs. They will also need to be able to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently.

How to Become a Parts Specialist

A career as a parts specialist can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start by getting the right training for the job. Many auto parts stores offer in-house training programs that can help you learn the basics of the industry and the products they sell. You should also take advantage of any opportunities to network with other professionals in the field. This will give you access to new ideas and information that can help you advance your career.

Related: How to Write a Parts Specialist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many parts specialists start their careers in entry-level positions, such as parts runner or clerk. With experience, they may be promoted to positions such as parts manager or buyer. Some parts specialists move into other occupations, such as purchasing agent or materials manager.

Parts specialists who are interested in management may advance to positions such as parts supervisor, parts manager, or purchasing agent. Those who want to become involved in the technical aspects of the job may move into positions such as materials engineer or quality control engineer.

Parts Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are passionate about cars and committed to providing our customers with the best possible experience. We’re looking for a parts specialist to join our team and help us provide the high level of service our customers have come to expect. The ideal candidate will have experience working with car parts, be able to quickly identify the parts our customers need, and have excellent customer service skills. He or she will be responsible for maintaining inventory levels, ordering parts as needed, and keeping the parts department organized and tidy.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Answer customer inquiries regarding parts availability, pricing, and order status in a professional and courteous manner
  • Locate and pull parts for customer orders, ensuring accuracy and timeliness of fulfillment
  • Process customer orders promptly and efficiently, verifying pricing and invoicing information
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of the organization’s product line and inventory to provide accurate information to customers
  • Research and resolve customer complaints in a timely and satisfactory manner
  • Proactively contact customers to follow up on outstanding orders and ensure satisfaction
  • Monitor stock levels and place orders for new parts as needed to maintain optimal inventory levels
  • Keep abreast of manufacturer updates and changes to ensure that the correct parts are ordered and stocked
  • Assist with physical inventories as needed
  • Perform regular maintenance and upkeep of the parts department, including organizing and cleaning storage areas
  • Adhere to all safety policies and procedures when handling parts and equipment
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 2+ years of experience in automotive parts sales or customer service
  • Working knowledge of automotive systems and terminology
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and customer service skills
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Valid driver’s license

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree or higher in business, automotive technology, or related field
  • 4+ years of experience in automotive parts sales or customer service
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English)
  • Experience with inventory management
  • Experience using computerized parts lookup systems

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