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I want to be a parts manager: Patience needed – and a logical mind

Aubrey Deeks, parts manager at Marriott Motor Group’s VW franchise in Ipswich, is in charge of keeping a key part of the aftersales business working. And after 40 years’ experience in the parts department, he has seen a lot of changes.

“I started off as a parts man, mostly working on the counter, but was also responsible for collections and deliveries in the van,” he says. “Originally I was doing the deliveries on a bicycle, but things have moved on quite a bit since!”

The department’s choice of wheels isn’t all that’s changed. When Deeks began working at the dealership in 1967, it held the local Wolsey and Morris franchise.

It has changed hands twice since, flying the banner for Rover and Triumph before its current incarnation as a VW dealership and part of the Marriott Motor Group.

As parts manager, Deeks is in charge of keeping the parts department performing as it should. As well as managing a team of staff and controlling stock levels and pricing, a large part of his work is tied up with balancing the books.

Reporting to the brand manager, Deeks oversees the return of parts to VW, chases surcharges and ensures that involves are paid on time.

“Patience is one thing you need,” he says, “And a logical mind is useful when you’re trying to organise everything. IT skills also come in handy, as much of the job is done on computers.”

All this takes time to learn and Deeks believes there’s no substitute for spending time working in the trade when it comes to getting ahead.

“Experience goes a long way, once you’ve got it you’ll go far,” he says. “The best thing is to come up through the ranks, starting off as a parts man.

“You need trade experience to understand the job fully or you’ll find it very difficult. There’s a lot to learn and it can be very confusing.”

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