An Excerpt from "The 7 Principles of a High Performing Dealership"

The more you can repeat an action the better you become at performing that action.

As an owner or manager, you do not want there to be variability in your processes. Take McDonalds, for example. When they hire an employee to make fries they are not asking for their interpretation on the process. They do not ask if Sally, the fry maker, would like to have a say in the fry seasoning process. They use pictures and make the process as simple as possible. Sally’s interpretation of the fry making process does not make McDonald’s extra money. It is actually the opposite. McDonalds hires people to create processes and implement them in every McDonald’s across the nation. Why is that? McDonald’s knows that well-documented processes makes money whereas processes that are open to interpretation cost them money.

There are many reasons for having processes in your dealership:

Adding and Training Employees. If you write down your processes, you can easily and quickly train employees. While initially, this takes some time, it will pay off ten-fold as you are able to pass the training of new employees to others in the dealership.

Ability To Get Business Loans. If you need funding for your business, a bank or other lender will need to understand your operations. When it comes to giving you a business loan for your dealership, having documented processes will help your lender feel more comfortable.

Secure Greater Profits. Documenting processes exposes flaws in how you do things and, as a result, you will see bottlenecks and inconsistencies that you didn’t realize were there. When this happens, you are able to change the process to reduced lag time and generate greater profits

Position For Eventual Sale:. If at some point in the future, you decide you want to sell your business, a buyer will first want to evaluate the inner workings. Showing the buyer your process manual increases the likelihood of a sale, as well as the buyer’s perceived value of your dealership.

Start with a good process for service.

A shop becomes profitable when you put the right processes and strong levels of accountability in place. Your parts department has to be in tune with your service department. The paperwork has to flow seamlessly from the front, to the service department, and back to the front for customer billing and pickup or warranty billing. All of the parts have to be accounted for and billed to the customer. Those are all processes that have to be defined and refined to make your shop the absolute best it can be. With every refinement you make, your profitability and your service techs’ earnings should increase.

If you want to master your shop, you have to master the technology that is available to you. Most dealers’ shops get lost in the paper shuffle. Who has the paperwork? Has everything that has been done been recorded? How do you know? The ultimate goal in your shop is to eliminate the paperwork altogether.  Let’s be honest, with the technology available today, is there really even a need to create a physical hard copy of the work or repair order. Shouldn’t the only piece of paper generated in the service process be the bill that the customer receives?

Is it possible to have no physical paperwork in your shop? Sure it is. Our goal for all of the dealers we work with is to move them to a more efficient, non-paper process. For most dealers, the software they use can give them the ability to have all the information the service tech needs on the computer by their service area. They use it now to look up parts, so why not have the work or repair orders in an electronic format right at the tech service area?

Take time to evaluate the paperwork process in your shop.  Decide if there are one or two ways you can better leverage your business software in order to eliminate wasted time, increase your efficiencies and establish solid processes that will help your entire operation succeed.

Bob Clements

About Bob Clements

Bob is the president of Bob Clements International Inc., a training and development company specializing in creating high performance dealerships and organizations. BCI works hands-on with dealers and manufacturers through on-site visits, Dealer Success Groups©, management and sales boot camps, webinars and speaking events. Bob is also the author of the book, “The 8 Greatest Sales Secrets in the World” and a contributing writer for Rural Lifestyle Dealer Magazine. Over the last 30 years, Bob has spoken to thousands of owners, sales people and businesses, giving them the tools they need to achieve personal and financial freedom. His organization and his leading edge development packages have helped to improve dealerships across America.