Becoming Fit for Growth

Autosphere » Collision » Becoming Fit for Growth

How to effectively scale your business.

Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of meeting and discussing the collision repair industry with a vast number of repair operators. When I ask, “What area of your business would you like to improve the most?”, 99% answer “Growing my Sales”! However, you must ask yourself: “Is my collision centre fit for growth? How will I manage the growth?”

At Simplicity Car Care, we believe you must grow internally (become more effective) before you can actually grow externally (add to the top line sales). The following are four pillars to becoming fit for growth.

The corporate culture of client-centricity

Corporate culture can be summarized as the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. In order to be a top-performing organization in the markets that your business serves, you must have a corporate culture that supports a client-centric focus. The act of being client-centric means listening to your customers’ needs and delivering on those requests. Ease of doing business and extended hours of operation are an excellent opportunity to provide client-centric focus.

Process controls

The allure of more vehicles in your system may seem enticing, but without standard operating procedures to provide efficiency, more work in process (WIP), will add only more weight as you climb the proverbial mountain. Process controls from the Estimates process up to the final detail will ensure consistency and predictability, which all customers desire. In order to keep score on how well the procedures are being executed, a management system is a perfect scoreboard. The data from your management system will communicate opportunities for improvement, which are critical to your internal growth.

Talent development and mentorship plan

Systems are exceptionally powerful, but without talent in your collision centre, they don’t mean much. Talent development should be viewed as a professional sports team. Reach out to local technical high schools and volunteer your facility as a co-op destination for their students. You must recruit from a grassroots perspective in order to have a talent river (continuous flow) vs. a talent roller coaster (peaks and valleys).

Following the recruitment of co-op students and apprentice applicants, sit down with the individuals and ensure you understand where they want to be in the five-year plan. Work with them on developing the plan. When you add value to a new employee you become valuable, and when you are supportive as an employer you are valued, reducing the probability of new employees looking elsewhere for opportunity.

Continuous improvement

Being fit for growth means that you understand that what is working today will not suffice tomorrow. Therefore, we must continually improve. If you have a Client-Centric culture as we discussed previously, chances are you and your team are constantly looking for opportunities to improve. Not only is continuous improvement critical to supporting a strong culture, but it is also the underpinning from which additional value creation is driven. My favourite improvement model is the 1%.

If you focus on five areas of your business and work towards a 1% improvement per month, at the year-end, it compounds to 12%. This approach for three years can prove to be revolutionary in your business.

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