One of the Club’s main objectives is to keep Lagondas on the road, and having a good spares supply is key to achieving this. The Board therefore attaches high importance to the Club's spares policy, continually seeking ideas for improvement, which are welcomed from all members.
The long run objective is to provide a comprehensive one-stop-shop for members’ spares requirements, covering all Lagondas up to the DB 3 litre, with most core needs being met by the Club directly. Where the Club does not supply parts (for instance, electrical parts, shock absorbers, fasteners) it should be able to point members to those suppliers who can best do so. Despite continuing improvements in our spares operation, we are still a long way from achieving this objective. The Club currently supplies some 800 parts (excluding second-hand items) across most Lagonda models, from the 14/60 to the DB 3 litre. The Rapier Register offers an excellent service for all Rapiers.
The Club’s spares operations are governed by the Spares Committee, which is chaired by the Club's Chairman. The members of the Committee are David Bracey, Brian Green, Robin Cooke, Colin Mallett, Michael Nassim, Ken Painter, Martin Peters and John Sword.
The introduction of new parts is very time-consuming, and with only the Committee members working on it in their (limited) spare time, progress in the past has been slow. In order to accelerate things, the Club has set up five Model Groups, bringing in a wider spread of members who do not have to join the Committee. Each Model Group is led by a member of the Spares Committee.
These Model Groups and their respective leaders are:
1. Early cars Ken Painter
2. 14/60, 2 litre, 3 litre, 16/80 Vacant
3. M45 and LG45 Michael Nassim
4. V12 and LG6 Vacant
5. Post-war cars Martin Peters
Members of the Model Groups undertake the work required to introduce new parts to the spares operation.
They are generally enthusiastic and knowledgeable owners or those engaged in professional repair/maintenance of the relevant cars, who are willing to invest time and effort to help to bring new parts into the system. Further volunteers are needed.
Priorities for New Parts:
1. Top priority are safety-critical items, i.e. brakes, steering and suspension.
2. Next are commonly required service items e.g. gaskets, springs, clutch parts.
3. Next are wearing parts with high set-up costs (tooling, patterns, dies).
4. Next are other wearing parts.
5. Last are non-wearing parts.
In each category, high volume models take precedence, and proprietary parts that are available from stockists are last on the list.
In a further initiative to accelerate the widening of its spares coverage, the Club now includes within its range a large number of parts supplied via David Ayre. Other similar developments would be welcomed.
Stocking and Availability
The Club’s stocks of new spares are currently valued at some £240,000, and this investment will rise as new parts are added to the portfolio. In order to use its funds wisely, the Club needs to balance the desire for good availability (good stocks of every part, always) and for low parts costs (buy parts in large batches), versus the amount of members’ capital tied up and the need to cover as wide a range of parts as possible. To address this, the following policies are applied:
1. We limit the number of parts which are ‘always in stock’, i.e. parts which are re-ordered before the stock runs out. The Model Groups are responsible for deciding what to recommend in this area, but service parts (No. 2 above) are always included.
2. Other parts on longer lead-times (months) are re-ordered as soon as stock reaches zero.
3. Other parts on shorter lead-times (weeks) are re-ordered only when a member places an order for a zero-stock part.
4. Purchase orders are generally issued for the smallest batch quantity that is acceptable to the supplier. Only a substantial price discount will permit a larger batch to be ordered.
The Club’s stores at Robin Cooke’s establishment near Saxmundham are being expanded to give more space for the storage of both new and used parts. Robin aims to turn around all orders within 48 hours of receipt, when stocks are available, and he is able to give an ‘emergency’ service for an extra charge.
The Club’s spares operation is entirely dependent upon the excellence of its suppliers if it is to give a good service to members, and our purchasing policies are designed to achieve this. Some core objectives are:
- To have two suppliers for each commodity (commodities being, for instance, gears, gaskets, machined castings, springs).
- Suppliers should be equipped to make small batches (i.e. not to have high tooling/set-up costs if these require large minimum batch sizes, even though this might give low unit costs).
- All suppliers must meet quality standards that are agreed by the Club.
- Safety-critical parts must be marked and certified so as to ensure traceability to supplier and to raw material.
Commercial Terms to Members
Spares pricing policy was completely reviewed in 2011, and a range of mark-ups over cost is applied, with larger mark-up percentages on low-cost items, and smaller mark-ups on high-cost items, with the objective of achieving an overall margin of 40%.
Prices are normally raised annually (from 1st April), by the increase in RPI, except for parts purchased in the prior year.
A discount of 10% is offered to members who commit to order from the initial batch of new parts, where the Committee decide that such support is needed.
A range of credits are given to members who purchase large volumes of spares in any year.
These pricing policies are designed to generate sufficient funds to pay for the running costs of the spares operation and for investment in its development, with the main items being:
- Operating costs (mainly: staff, space, website).
- Start-up costs on new parts (tooling etc.).
- Investment in new stocks.
We have moved to a system where payment is requested from members before the despatch of spares (normally ‘with order’). This has reduced the Club’s debtors, thereby freeing-up cash to be invested in stocks. It has also eased the administrative burden of chasing up those (relatively few) members who have been slow payers.
Warranty and Returns
Parts are warranted against defective materials and workmanship for 12 months. The warranty covers replacement/repair only, and the Club will not cover anything beyond this.
Refunds are given on parts returned to the Club in good condition, but a carriage charge is made, unless the return was occasioned by the Club’s error.
The Club invested £25,000 in acquiring a large stock of spares from Maurice Leo in 2008, and during subsequent years we have purchased numerous lots of used spares, as opportunities have arisen. This has added usefully to the Club’s service to members, with sales of used spares now forming an important part of total spares turnover.
We encourage members to offer un-needed spares to the Club, which is willing to buy ‘complete lots’ (i.e. not cherry-picking). Whilst most members tend to accumulate ‘just in case’ spares, which in practice usually remain unused, it would really be much better if these were on the Club’s shelves and available to all members.
The Club's website is a key part of the spares operation, and we are improving it continually. All spares items are listed on the website, in a structure that makes it easy to find the part that a member requires.
Parts are listed with a description, including the price, and a clear photograph. They may be ordered and paid for on-line 24/7. Lists of parts can be downloaded and printed by members.
The supply of spares is a key element of the service that the Club provides for its members and we need to make continual improvements to this service. This can only be achieved by the efforts of the members of our Model Groups - more volunteers are needed.