Forever, I've heard the saying, “The older you get, the more quickly time flies.” I refuse to admit and accept the fact I'm getting older, so we must be experiencing a scientific phenomenon in the fact it's already December and time to close the book on another year.
By now we've established our respective game plans for 2008 and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of January so we can get started. Before that, we will celebrate Chanukah and Christmas.
As is the nonreligious tradition of the season, many of us will be asked what we want for Christmas The following is an assortment of my personal and business-related wishes for us this holiday season, beginning with the macro view:
A vigorous economy.
Reasonable fuel prices.
A prime interest rate dropping from 6.5% to 6%.
Strong consumer confidence.
A strong housing market.
A brisk construction market.
Equity for homeowners.
Less negative news regarding our banks.
Stabilization of the sub-prime lending business.
A strengthened U.S. dollar.
A 17-million unit new-vehicle and 45-million unit used-vehicle market.
Financially healthy manufacturers.
Aggressive manufacturer credit arms.
And now let's list some of our dealer-related micro- level wishes:
Dealer profitability for 100% of the dealers.
High levels of employee productivity.
Efficient operations worthy of case studies.
Disciplined asset management standards.
A good cash management policy.
A minimum of 10 vehicle sales per salesperson.
A maximum 60-day supply of the “right” new vehicles.
A new vehicle inventory with no vehicles older than 90 days of age.
Six new vehicle inventory turns annually.
A 30-day supply of the “right” used vehicles.
No used vehicles on the lot longer than 60 days.
Nine used-vehicle turns (12 is better) a year.
Minimum used wholesale losses.
Minimum F&I product charge backs.
Strong new and used aftermarket sales.
No aged contracts in transit.
A state of the art effective Internet selling process for sales, service, body and parts.
An effective service follow-up process.
An effective labor rate equal to my retail rate.
No discounted internal labor rates.
Highly efficient technicians.
Highly productive service advisors.
Internal parts at retail.
Realistic body shop labor rates from the insurance industry.
High fixed coverage.
A strong and disciplined expense management policy.
If it were possible, which we all know is not the case, all my wishes for you would come true for all our benefit.
On a macro level, most or all of these wishes are outside of our individual control, but drilling down to the micro level, how many do we have control of?
In closing, 2007 has certainly presented its share of challenges for our industry. I hope we have learned from those challenges and are wiser and better positioned to face them again if they recur in the future.
As we celebrate our 60th year in business, on behalf of each associate at NCM, Dealer Service Corp., Jeff Sacks and Associates and Travel Solutions, I want to thank our many loyal clients and friends for their continuing support in helping NCM (Nichols, Campbell & Morrow) in our continuing quest to get to the next level.
We wish each of you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and a new year filled with success and happiness.
Tony Noland ([email protected]) is the president and CEO of NCM Associates, Inc.
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