It is an indisputable fact that everything that happens within the walls of the Service department is tracked and controlled by the repair order. Most personnel in the department are paid directly or indirectly by what happens on the repair order. The repair order is so crucial, that what happens in the shop can be completely different than what is represented on the repair order. However, when that repair order is closed, and the charges are posted to accounting, there is a very good chance that, right or wrong, the result will show on the financial statement. With this in mind, it is important to know as accurately as possible, when and how the facts and figures become what they are.
When completing a manual repair order survey, time is not your friend. Given the task to accumulate repair orders, review them, document each item and tabulate the findings, it may require you to implement a new structured process just to get started.
Now there is a better way. It is M5’s Repair Order Survey Evaluation - ROSE.
On a recent visit to Minneapolis, it was so cold that if you threw a cup of hot water in the air, it instantly vaporized! So, imagine my surprise when I heard the service manager use the word “picnic” in a conversation with another employee at the dealership. It’s the middle of winter, I wondered, where’s the picnic?
So, I figured I would ask about the picnic discussion on such a cold day. The manager went on to explain that they were talking about a customer and their vehicle. The dealership’s definition of a picnic was: problem in customer, not in car. I thought I had heard every acronym in the car business, but then again, we all learn something every day. So what exactly does this mean, “problem in customer, not in car”?
I’m blessed to have worked with many dealership service department managers over the years. Our business has no limits. The only perceived limits are the edges of our imagination. I’m not trying to get too philosophical.
But let me frame the current state of affairs at many dealerships. We have more demands on our businesses than we have production capacity to handle them. Many managers are sitting back complaining about how hard it is. Well, guess what? That’s why they call it work.
The college basketball season is coming to a close and Selection Sunday is just a few days away. Many departments across the country will have brackets being filled out and team members watching ESPN on their phones instead of working. The wonder that is March Madness isn’t just a fantastic sporting event – it also holds some valuable lessons that can be applied directly to your service department.
We have been hearing about customer retention for many years now, but do we really know what that means? What is customer retention? I can tell you, it's not just another buzz phrase. It's not an imaginary line in the sand.
Of course, it is a way to measure how successful we are. It is also the true constant denominator when making any type of business decision. That's right, customer retention must be the one tracking method that drives our everyday decisions, no matter what. The days of driving results purely by sales are long over. Although advisors like the big ROs, it's not just about the home run. It's about the singles that keeps the game (business) going.
At the risk of repeating myself, and getting back on my soap box, one of the most common and infuriating mistakes I see Parts Managers making today is the over reliance on factory provided inventory control tools. Yes TOOLS, not replacements for your DMS. I don't know if its carelessness, lack of training, or brain washing, but at almost every dealership I visit that has a factory supported tool, the parts managers are overly reliant on it to a fault.
We all have walked through shops and seen the enormous tool boxes many techs have. We most likely have also seen techs with multiple tool boxes overflowing with tools. Some of you may ask why do they need all these tools and tool boxes? I'm confident that if you ask the techs, you will hear a common response; "The right tool helps me complete the job much quicker". You also may hear "I need the big tool box so I can find the tools I need quicker". Is there a theme here? You bet! The more efficient the tech is, the more money they can make.
Where do you sit? I am sure this newsletter may not make me popular with some managers but the truth is sometimes hard to swallow. Service Managers have lots of tasks they have to perform every day, they run reports, they track Sales, Gross, Hours, ELR, CSI, ect. ect. They do payroll, They Interview prospective employees, sometimes they deal with the drama of the existing employees, and they deal with Issues between Sales and Service, they deal with issues between Parts and Service and on and on.
You may not realize it, but there is a party every day in the service department. Instead of a guest list, there’s an appointment schedule. That schedule tells you who is coming, when they will arrive and what they are bringing with to the party.
Now, they generally don’t bring chips, dip, assorted snacks and tasty beverages. They bring oil changes, brake jobs, transmission issues and a variety of unusual noises. All of which we should be welcoming with open arms, just as we would if the party were at our own homes.