You are right, there are fewer salespeople, and it is tough to know comprehensive info on each line you sell, but remember, the NAPA store salesman is expected to sell all lines the store stocks. The rep is the fall back "expert" to handle the tougher questions. If the rep does not know the answer, a good rep will know who to contact to get the answer.
As for Galat, if he has contacts in a NAPA store, I am sure the counterpeople and managers will be happy to explain to him the areas where price can be a problem. It does not have to be a full line, you can be off on six or eight parts in a line, and that is enough to scare away a installer customer.
GPC has the means to price shop the competition, but there is more to the world than Auto Zone, and then you need to insure your comparing apples to apples and not oranges. :)
napa rep: My reason for commenting about the consolidation of Mfg Reps into GPC is because of some on this board that are spinning this as a postive for the NAPA Jobber. Boils down to fewer salespeople who are expected to have knowledge in greater # of product lines. This is not a postive for the Jobber in my view. I agree completely with your statement about high prices on one item effecting sales. galat, you asked me for specific part #s, are you telling me that GPC does not have the means to run price comparasions with the major competitors? I suppose they could put out a survey to the Jobbers? That might get some response...
Vetfrc, do I see the change in rep responsibilities as a positive for the jobber? No, I don't think it is. But is not just NAPA experiencing this cut back. It hits the independent jobber as well as most companies have reduced rep positions. At least NAPA offers a rep for some products that the independent would never see a rep for, or all they see is a manufacturer agent, who knows little about the product they sell. There are some decent reps out in the NAPA world and they sell more than Batteries and Filters, but when the plate is full, you can only do so much. It does indeed come down to programs and service, and pricing as we see in other messages is a big factor. But it comes down to product too, and how NAPA sets the prices. Simply put NAPA offers a diverse line of products, some are priced competitively, others are not. Price drives the market, so if you have a good price on the alternator belt, but the alternator requires a second mortgage, you probably won't make the sale.
Sorry, bout that last post, comparing GPC to the TITANIC. I kinda unloaded the boat (pun intended). I shouldn't have made that comparison. Its not very accurate. The TITANIC at least charted a course, GPC hasn't.