February is a month to check the details

Feb. 4, 2016
It is this time of the year when you can become very effective at managing the company. February is an absolutely great month to really focus and get down to reviewing the details of the business. 

I have been listening to the “tone” of voices within the industry, and I surmise many shop owners have given into the traditional January/February blues. It is okay to pause, but not to sit down and stare at what you feel is wrong. It is time to show your inner management strength and rise above what the traditional aftermarket seemingly embraces.

Let’s create clarity to make 2016 an exceptional year, which it will be when your self discipline to execute is in check each and every day.

It is this time of the year when you can become very effective at managing the company. February is an absolutely great month to really focus and get down to reviewing the details of the business. 

Here is a short checklist for the month of February. Spend one week on each topic and ensure it is fully completed. Look at the extreme detail, not just an overview. Leave no stone unturned.

1). Do an individual employee review listing the strengths each employee brings to the company. Revisit the vision of where and how the company is moving forward. Update the text of the business three-year plan so it can be properly reviewed with each team member and so they understand how they fit into the vision.

Write out a list of what training the company is going to be investing into each employee this year to assist the employee to better themselves, which in turn assists the employee to move forward in his or her career. Make sure this is a positive, upbeat, one-on-one meeting.

2) Review the internal processes specifically to ensure that ALL steps are tight and being followed by everyone to complete the circle as what is required for proper shop process execution. Every position is involved in the business processes from the front counter to the back shop to the business office. Complement individual employees in the areas where they are executing the processes well. Share with them where and how they can improve, and show them your confidence that they can improve where required. Remember, if your business is not steady and you still have peaks and valleys in your sales, somewhere the processes are not being followed. Fix that.

3) Sit down and make detailed notes regarding your supplier relationship improvement. Schedule a morning meeting with your supplier to review your joint strengths, what is working well and discuss together where improvement can be made in the relationship so each of you can move forward this year. Bring solutions to the table that you believe will work for both of you. Don’t demand; discuss. Remember, in a good business relationship, it is a two-way street, so ensure you are looking at it from both sides of the table. It always must be a win/win relationship and strategy or it will not pass the test of time.

 4) Review and update your monthly financial productivity objectives. Break them down into daily and weekly objectives and review them with the entire staff together, discussing them in the context of operating as a team. Make sure each staff member understands the billed hour objective per repair order, the daily, weekly and monthly objective of total billed labor dollars the shop requires and the site efficiency percentage objective working as a team. Again, ensure this is a positive, upbeat meeting.

Opportunity is knocking hard this year, telling you that 2016 is the year for your business to really pull ahead. Don’t waste February. It is a great month to pull the team and the shop processes together, which in turn sets the base and tone of how the entire year is going to turm out. It’s the detail that counts. It will be your actions, not just words that will define this year for you and your company. Behavior never lies. Make it happen!!

About the Author

Bob Greenwood

Robert (Bob) Greenwood, AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager) was the President and C.E.O. of Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC). AAEC is a company focused on providing Business Management Resources and Development for the Independent Sector of the aftermarket industry utilizing the Internet environment. AAEC content and technology is recognized as part of the curriculum of the Fixed Operations Diploma and the Aftermarket Degree courses taken at the Automotive Business School of Canada in Georgian College located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. This school is the leader and only college in Canada that offers an automotive business education. AAEC is also recognized by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), located in Colleyville, Texas USA, allowing 80 credits for successful completion of the AAEC E-Learning portion of the site towards the 120 credits required to obtain the reputable Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. The Automotive Management Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager designation is the first business management accreditation exclusively for the automotive service professional. To date, AMI various programs have attracted more than 212,000 enrolments throughout North America. 

Greenwood died on Sept. 9 in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, from a heart attack. He was a regular contributor to Motor Age magazine and will be greatly missed. See some of his recent work here:

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