VIP Tire wins Polk award for embracing efficient ERP inventory technology

Jan. 1, 2020
Advanced product control technology in place at Maine-based VIP Parts, Tires & Service has received the 2008 Polk Inventory Efficiency Award in the retailer/distributor category.
Untitled Document

Advanced product control technology in place at Maine-based VIP Parts, Tires & Service has received the 2008 Polk Inventory Efficiency Award in the retailer/distributor category.

According to the prestigious Polk citation, VIP has been able to utilize its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to provide seamless, next-day delivery on most special orders: “This project resulted in increased customer service levels and inventory efficiency by allowing VIP to stock parts as ‘warehouse-only’ while fulfilling customer requests in a timely manner.”

An Avorcor warehousing system from Alpha Bay Corp. is the centerpiece of VIP’s winning implementation. “We used some very advanced technology,” says Dan Grosz, VIP’s vice president of information systems. “It has really sped up our supply chain and increased our efficiency,” he reports.

Grosz suggests that dealers throughout the industry may wish to pursue similar upgrades. “Our approach is absolutely applicable to others like us.” However, he does encourage you to do your research and ask a lot of questions because “inventory is always difficult to muck around with. I spent two years looking at all kinds of vendors.”

The Alpha Bay Avorcor application was actually a replacement for an existing bar code system that had become outmoded. Replacements for VIP’s “old fashioned” bar code scanners were no longer available, and “we were facing the problem of our scanners failing” with no suitable replenishments in sight. “We were faced with the possibility of going back to paper-based picking.”

“It was not efficient, nor was it convenient for the customer,” recounts Jack Blount, president and CEO at Salt Lake City-based Alpha Bay. At VIP, “they were very sensitive to the fact that the market had changed and their customers want real-time results.”

“It used to be that we could only tell what happened yesterday,” says Grosz. “The stores didn’t know what they had – they only saw yesterday’s inventory.”

By implementing a password-protected Internet-linked system “we created a real-time daily cache of inventory movement from the warehouse. Click a few buttons and it’s on a wireless scanner within seconds in the warehouse,” he notes.

Transactions at VIP’s 49 stores that used to take hours to process can now be done in seconds. Additionally, returns are significantly reduced because retail and wholesale customers would order several versions of the same product to ensure that the correct item was delivered.

That’s not a problem anymore.

“It’s really impacted our special orders business and we can respond to the customers much quicker,” Grosz says.

Another key benefit was that VIP could integrate the new Avorcor application with various still-functional components that were already in place. Grosz compares it to a child’s set of Legos. “You can take certain Lego blocks and put other Lego blocks in,” he points out. “You don’t have to throw away the old system.”

Cost figures are proprietary, but “it was a lot less than one would think,” Grosz reveals. “We got our money out of it in months – it’s already paid for itself.”

With nearly 50 stores in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, VIP is one of New England’s largest auto parts and accessory chains, according to John Quirk, president and CEO. Plans are to open two to four new stores annually over the next five years in targeted markets.

Among the company’s innovations is its “Speed Lane,” a NASCAR pit stop-like “tire changing experience with safety and speed.” A VIP tire professional first checks a customer’s tires for wear and then helps select the correct new set. The vehicle is brought into the Speed Lane and two technicians perform a safety check and tire change in about 15 minutes. Customers can watch the process through a viewing area. Just like a real pit crew, the technicians are wearing headsets and communicating.

“There are so many things that we are doing with Speed Lane that is totally unique to VIP – things that a customer may or may not know about, like ‘hand torquing,’ which is the only true way to ensure that your tires are properly installed,” says Quirk. “The goal is to provide the utmost in safety along with the convenience of speed. These technicians have gone through extensive training to provide the best service possible in the least amount of time,” he adds.

Also, VIP has a partnership with Ricky Craven, the NASCAR Winston Cup driver in the No. 32 Tide car who endorses VIP and appears in commercials for the company.

For more information, visit and

Sponsored Recommendations

Best Body Shop and the 360-Degree-Concept

Spanesi ‘360-Degree-Concept’ Enables Kansas Body Shop to Complete High-Quality Repairs

How Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrow Collision Center, Achieves Their Spot-On Measurements

Learn how Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrison Collision Center, equipped their new collision facility with “sleek and modern” equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas...

ADAS Applications: What They Are & What They Do

Learn how ADAS utilizes sensors such as radar, sonar, lidar and cameras to perceive the world around the vehicle, and either provide critical information to the driver or take...

Banking on Bigger Profits with a Heavy-Duty Truck Paint Booth

The addition of a heavy-duty paint booth for oversized trucks & vehicles can open the door to new or expanded service opportunities.