Welcome back…Time to start some of the heavy lifting. The fact of the matter is that if your plan is not written, it will probably not succeed. Let's talk about the preparation. Get a pad of paper and start developing a plan. Equally important as a written plan, is having time based deadlines. No deadlines, No progress. It's that simple.
Whether you have an inspection program that has gone by the wayside, or if your shop never has had such a program, it is imperative that you implement one and stick to it forever. Here are just a few reasons it is so important.
You owe it to your clients to keep them aware of the condition of their vehicle. They depend on you and trust you to let them know exactly what's going on with their vehicle.
You owe it to your family & employees to make your shop better and grow your business.
If you don't do it, some other shop will, or already does this.
You must take charge of your business and lead.
This will take your business to the next level. A 20% increase is huge to any organization and everyone in the organization
Time to get everyone aboard. Have a company meeting and let your staff know that you want to take the shop to the next level. Let them know that you want their help with designing an inspection form. This gets your team to buy into the plan. This is a key element to success. Set the time for a follow-up meeting and let them know you look forward to getting input from each one of them. Get with your service advisor for input on how the inspection form will be routed & utilized. Ask your office manager for ideas on tracking the forms and possibly how you could compile the information into a summary. Also, how you could best track the ARO information as this new program emerges.
Continue to speak to your entire staff about this new program and why it is important to them individually. People instinctively think in terms of "What's in it for me?". You win their hearts and their minds and best efforts will follow.
Our last blog discussed looking at how your shop is doing using new eyes. After a complete evaluation of your shop operations you should have a good idea of what you would like to improve. Once that is decided, you will need an organized actionable plan to achieve the results you want.
It is a fact that if you can't measure it, you can't manage it, so let's begin with the facts. Many shops feel the primary challenge they face is their car count is too low. If I just had more cars, I would have more business, and so more income. This could be the issue but normally is not. A little closer examination of the facts usually reveals that it's not the car count but not making the cars count. What I'm talking about is the average repair order.
Look at your company history and find out what your average repair order figure is right now. Simply take your gross sales and divide it by the number of repair orders for the same period of time. I recommend looking at the same months from the previous year. For example next month is December, so figure last December, January, and February for your average repair order figures. These numbers are a good starting point because shops see the same trends thru the year.
Next, set goals that are realistic. For example: If your average repair order is $250, you should start with a 20% improvement as your goal. You need to ask yourself, what do I need to do to increase my average repair order to about $300 per car?
Now that we have decided what needs to be done, in the next Blog we will develop the nuts & bolts program that will get that 20% increase. A 20% increase in gross income would be a welcome improvement in any business. Your clients will be better served, your employees will benefit, and you will ACCELERATE YOUR SUCCESS !!!
Both qualities are necessary to be effective. Leadership is the ability to inspire the people around you. To share a vision that creates common purpose. Leaders cause the people around them to improve & grow. Being a leader means being fair, firm, and consistent.
Management is using the resources you have at your disposal to achieve you vision. This means having policies and procedures that work well toward the goals of your shop.
Many shops have no clear vision of where the shop is going, and consequently no plan to get there. Before a shop can have any measurable improvement, there must be a vision of what you want to accomplish and then a detailed plan to achieve that vision.
So, what's the answer?
Your shop has good traffic
Does quality work
But there is no real progress or growth
Take a few days and notice what goes on at your shop. Look at it with new eyes. How is the phone answered? Do your technicians stay busy? If not, find out why. Look at , key performance indicators like your average repair order, effective labor rate, gross profit margins, and individual technician efficiency. Take a look at your inspection sheets done on each vehicle. Does the car and it's mileage jive with the inspection results? If not, why? Is there one specific technician that never finds any problems with the cars he's working on? Be sure to take notes on what you discover. Keep in mind that what you decide to improve on must be measured before it can be managed.
In the next blog we will take these ideas and craft them into an actionable plan that can be implemented into permanent improvement.