BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Toro Co. announced July 19 that it is now providing customers with round-the-clock access to parts information through its new online parts identification portal, Toro Master Parts Viewer.
The Toro Master Parts Viewer includes replacement parts lists and illustrations for Toro, Lawn-Boy and Wheel Horse branded equipment dating back to 1960. Users can access parts information for these commercial, landscape contractor and consumer products and print out a parts list to take to a parts distributor or dealer for purchasing.
The new online initiative is designed to help customers, dealers and the Toro Co. itself by reducing the time it takes to identify replacement parts. "The Toro Co. and our distribution network gets a huge number of phone calls from end-user customers - which could be landscapers, commercial cutters or homeowners - wanting to know what part they should buy for their piece of equipment," explained Jeff Martin, Toro parts marketing manager. "The Master Parts Viewer enables anyone from an end-user customer or even a Toro dealer to readily access that information."
First, customers benefit by being able to identify replacement parts 24 hour a day, 7 days a week at times dealerships may be closed, said Martin. He also noted that the online search method may be even quicker than waiting on the phone for a dealership to pull out a product’s literature and manually look up part numbers.
"For the dealer base it makes it real convenient because now the customer can bring the Toro part number to the dealership and the dealer doesn’t have to look it up," explained Martin. He said dealers can also save time in identifying parts themselves by using the online parts viewer. "If they’re servicing equipment or they have a customer on the phone, they can look it up using the same process," he said.
For the Toro Co. itself, Martin said the Master Parts Viewer is already reducing parts identification phone calls. Additionally, the new online feature may be successful in boosting Toro’s replacement part sales. "It identifies Toro branded parts, which is a big key because the parts competition is fierce and we want our customers to use Toro parts. By giving them the Toro part number for their specific model, we believe it will aid in our parts growth," he said.
HOW THE SITE WORKS. Master Parts Viewer users begin by entering the model number from their Toro unit. From that database search, users choose the specific model and serial number from the returned list and can view assembly drawings or product features for the specific product.
Assembly drawings show a detailed picture of each part from a particular piece of equipment. The left frame of the screen displays a listing of part numbers and descriptions with identification numbers that correspond directly to the drawing. Users then select the appropriate part number and add it to a quantity-adjustable "parts pick list," which is essentially a shopping list. The list can then be printed out for easy reference when contacting or visiting a Toro parts dealer.
Users may also search for generic names of parts for a particular product by choosing the "find a part" option for that product. By entering a part keyword, the database searches the particular product parts list and brings up results accordingly, which can them be added to the printable parts list.
With a printed list in hand, customers will then need to find a nearby parts dealer - preferably an authorized Toro parts dealer, said Martin. Toro has included a dealer database online to help users locate authorized dealers. Users select the type of product they need serviced and enter their zip code to come up with a listing of dealers in their area. Results are related to the surrounding geographic area and include links to online maps to the locations.
IT’S WORKING. "For the first solid month of activity prior to the recent press release, there were over 18,000 searches done and 34,000 pages downloaded," noted Martin. "We’re real excited about the possibility for it to be an added thing for our entire customer base - that includes our distributors, our dealers and our user customers."
Although the Master Parts Viewer is not an online ordering vehicle, landscape contractors still have the option of having parts shipped directly to their place of business by enrolling in Toro’s Landscaper Parts Express program.
"[Landscaper Parts Express] is specific to our landscape contractor group. For the guys who are cutting grass professionally or using our Siteworks products, their dealership can set them up as a ship-to address for that dealership. So the dealership orders the parts for the customer and specifies that ship-to address, and we ship it directly to the landscaper," explained Martin.
Parts orders ship directly from Toro’s Plymouth, Wisc., warehouse to a contractor, according to Martin. "It eliminates usually at least a day of shipping time, and these guys can’t afford a day. It’s their life, and every day counts," he concluded.
To access the Toro Master Parts Viewer visit www.toro.com, select the appropriate equipment category, such as professional contractor or grounds and industrial management, and choose the Master Parts Viewer link there.
The author is Internet Editor of Lawn & Landscape Online.