Hopefully, by the time you read this, you have completed your 2007 business plan and budget knowing that, even though external influences may affect our performance, the final results will reflect the execution of our plans.
Why is it that some dealers, regardless of franchise affiliation, seem to excel year after year? It is not totally that their personnel are any better than any other.
True, we must have professional and dedicated personnel, but what's more important is how these personnel perform and execute the plan. What seems to be the answer is the environment in which the personnel operate.
To illustrate that, let me describe an extremely successful domestic dealer's plan and his execution. He is in a large metro market and has competition from several same-franchise dealers as well as competitive dealers.
So how is it that he can be so successful when many of his competitors are having issues? Because he has processes and plans in place that everyone must follow, and all employees are accountable for their area of responsibility.
One example is the asset-management standards his team has established, and on which he refuses to compromise. He insists that no used vehicle remain in inventory past 60 days.
He also insists that used vehicles meet the dealership's inventory profile. If a vehicle doesn't, it goes to auction sooner than later so capital and space is freed up for a vehicle that has historically sold well.
The dealer monitors his monthly new-vehicle sales rate by individual model and knows by month what the average sales have been.
If he sees a change in the market, he adjusts the selling price to avert any inventory and turn-rate stagnations.
If he senses an opportunity to gain market share in an area, he creates a plan in advance of ordering the vehicles. There is a written plan to sell these vehicles. That includes the advertising message. Again, this is at the time the vehicles are ordered.
In his fixed operations, the same types of plans are created as well as game plans outlining the required execution. He knows, for example, the UIOs in his area and monitors the penetration of certain types of mechanical services such as menu-related items.
Obviously, shop and technician productivity and efficiency are monitored daily, as well as individual service advisor performance in areas such as hours per-repair order, effective labor rate and parts-to-labor ratio.
He monitors his gross and true turn of parts, plus his days' supply level and his level of service. Similar types of processes are in place in his collision center to ensure the department operates at the highest level.
This dealer holds manager meetings daily to review the previous day's performance as well as the dealership's month-to-date results compared with plan. When I ask about such attention to detail, he says, “If you miss a single daily meeting, they are no longer daily meetings.”
I detail this to show the results that can be achieved when you are passionate about this business, realize what it takes to be successful and refuse to relax your standards.
In closing, on behalf of each associate at NCM, Dealer Service Corp., Jeff Sacks & Associates and Travel Solutions, I want to thank our many loyal clients and friends for their continuing support in helping NCM (Nichols, Campbell & Morrow) celebrate our 59th year in business.
We wish you a happy holiday season and a new year filled with success and happiness.
Tony Noland is president and CEO of NCM Associates Inc. He is at [email protected]