The biggest challenge facing the New Zealand parts business will be keeping up with technology, says Partmaster CEO John Cook.
“At Partmaster we are putting a lot of resources into making our parts available on-line to workshops, and on whatever device the customer chooses to use; in effect the workshop guy can basically buy parts on-line while he’s under the bonnet,” he said.
This on-line facility is backed up by Partmaster’s super-fast service, which enables parts to be delivered to the workshop by Partmaster’s own delivery fleet within an hour in most cases.
John Cook (44) has just been appointed CEO of Partmaster, a wholly-owned Kiwi family business, having risen from the position of sales representative 25 years ago to his current position. “We are proud to be a Kiwi company,” said John.
General manager of the nationwide business for the past three years, John moved from sales to branch manager, and then regional manager for Auckland.
John said the parts business would also face new challenges in future in terms of meeting the special needs imposed by the introduction of electric vehicles, and even driverless cars.
“The landscape has changed a lot in the last five years, and I see it continuing to evolve rapidly,” he said.
Partmaster has just introduced an online catalogue, which allows the company to cater for both types of customer – those who embrace the Internet and online ordering, and those who like to deal in person with the sales team.
“We are a generalised supplier, but we have a pretty good offering in European parts, especially engine mounts, braking, filters, and the Optibelt range.
The company currently has 17 branches around the country, with more envisaged, and concentrates on giving personalised service and having parts locally available at all its branches.
There are 107 staff in total, including those working in the main warehouse at 135 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Apart from its Grey Lynn head office and parts outlet, Partmaster has branches in Whangarei, Glenfield (North Shore), Henderson, Penrose, Manukau, East Tamaki, Takanini, Tauranga, Hamilton, Taupo, New Plymouth, Hastings, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt, Sydenham (Christchurch) and Invercargill.
Partmaster was established, in 1996 emerging from the Covic Motors, which had been stablished by Partmaster’s past chairman, Tony Covic, and which had been trading in automotive parts and cars for many years. In its early years Partmaster operated a single outlet on Lincoln Road, Henderson, in West Auckland.
Demand for parts grew, and this led to the company entering into a number of agency and distribution arrangements. A second outlet was opened in Christchurch, and then Partmaster won the contract to supply the BP network nationwide, a breakthrough which signalled the arrival of Partmaster as a serious contender in the parts business.
Branch number three was opened in Penrose, Auckland, and then Partmaster bought Auto Trade Supply, which had previously been a supplier to Partmaster, and which was one of the oldest automotive suppliers in New Zealand, with outlets in Auckland and Hamilton. These were eventually re-branded as Partmaster stores.
While constantly growing in size, Partmaster remains a family-owned and operated business, focused and determined to be the largest independently-owned automotive parts wholesaler and retailer in New Zealand.