The NEW Advance Auto Parts

Employees are NOT their best part!

You are simply a commodity to be tossed at will

Now that I don’t work there any more I have no reason to bite my tongue or suck it up. This is just another chapter in the Gospel according to Bob.


About Me? 9 years military, 15 years in IBM system services and management, 5 years software development, 11 years auto retail retail sales, manager, parts pro, 40 years as senior car hobbyist.


Over the 11 years I was with Advance in a variety of capacities, general sales, assistant manager and as a Retail Parts Pro, I have watched a devolving of a once enviable company into a totally disconnected dictatorship. The working model was “Don’t make waves! We don’t care!” The prevailing attitude was one of trying not to “create a disturbance in the Force”. because when you do it draws attention to the event in question. Then managers have to do their job… MANAGE!

There is a very heavily entrenched “good ole boy” network at the District level of management. And it really isn’t that subtle. Rampant favoritism on who gets the new stores and primo jobs is obvious. How exactly does one GM get 3 new stores in 5 years? And why isn’t that even questioned? They chant that they promote from within. Well, unless you are on the DM’s short list of favorites or are related to them in some way, that’s not real likely. Nepotism is for the most part frowned upon in most businesses. But apparently there are local exceptions to this rule. a lot of them actually by my tally. Once again the tally in my 11 years was pathetic. If you are constantly going outside your company for GM and above it makes a very bad statement to your capacity to train and/or your trust in your own personnel. Or maybe internally they chose not to take that nightmare on. That is why when I figured out the way it worked I vacated and moved laterally.

Now, the business management model that I was taught is that as you go up the chain of command these individuals are supposed to be able to mentor and solve the issues from the lower levels through experience and knowledge. This core trait is routinely not possible with the perpetual influx of “management” from other business types. [ie. food chains, shoe stores]. There was virtually no mentoring that was observed by me in the 11 years.

Asset protection is almost non-existent. Internal  ft, both money and goods, is appalling. At times it is virtually ignored. They appear to treat it as a cost of doing business. But in this case it is charged to the store. The GM takes the hit each and every time. Problem solved! It is diverted from a corporate issue to the store level. I don’t know about you but when people steal my stuff I get really pissed off! They just send it to the store level as a loss and save the time of resolving a theft issue. And it is another of my personal observations that the HR department was spineless. Lots of investigating. Nothing more, What would be HR firing offenses any where else are solved by re-locations. Now they are a problem for someone else. Kinda the corporate version of 3 Card Monty.

The management IT systems in place are so heavy handed at micro-managing the operations that it is nothing short of a royal pain to function at the store level effectively. The stress levels were amazing. In my personal opinion a perfect example of way too much information. And then couple that with an ultimatum of a calculated goal based on this information gathering and you have one overpowering system. Is it really relevant how many women between the ages of 40 and 50, with green hair, driving a blue Prius bought wiper blades on the third Saturday during a full moon?  And in my case the persistence of an all-powerful SPH [Sales per Hour] and SPT [Sales per Transaction] was actually fatal.

Yep! This number was used to fire me. And unfortunately anyone else that can’t fit the sales parameters. Or they will make it one. In order to out you. One mans opinion.

The pushing of “add-ons” to unsuspecting and/or uneducated consumers by a trusted parts provider falls into a very gray area of ethical behavior. And that really did trouble me. After many years in business I have always strived to give customers the benefit of the doubt and assist them before the sale. Not just sell a bag of parts to them and let them figure it out. If you are any kind of professional that is an asshat way to do it.

The in-store systems were nothing short of archaic. Their idea of a system upgrade is to give you a flat monitor and call it a day. Unfortunately the boxes are leftovers for 10 years ago. And the economic choice to contract the IT support [IBM] overseas is actually comical at times between the language issues and the scripted responses to ordinary problems especially after hours when there is a heightened sense of urgency. And they treat you like a schmuck. And don’t try to escalate anything. That is a major trauma.

My impression of salesman was that they were supposed to sell stuff! District Commercial Managers appeared to be totally ineffective on generating new revenue. No real due diligence on these guys that I had seen. I know in my 15 years in the IBM business we knew who all our clients were and all of the clients of our competitors. In the car parts business you would think that a simple cruise down the local streets around the store would net us some business. Nope! Not there. At least not at the three stores I was at.

And despite Advance Auto Parts vocal concern for ” brand recognition” has been summarily executed with the abandonment of all sponsorship for major auto sporting events. No more NASCAR events, no NHRA events,  no NSRA events and now no Monster Jam! How crappy is that! One NHRA top Fuel team co-sponsorship. That’s it. Not a good showing for the self promoted top dog. My experience with Marketing 101 was that you were up in your competitors face everywhere they went. What did Advance do? Run and hid. Sad but true. And if you are top dog, or so you claim, you need to act like it! Put your logo all over the frickin place. But it’s not me. And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t see a radio commercial!

Now there have already been many incidents logged on these sites. Along with a variety of other questionable events and incidents. Feel free to add your input to any / all of these sites.

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Published by

bzerob

I am an aging American Navy veteran with some very pointed and acidic opinions. Feel free to heed the warning and read on.

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