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Technology: Creating the Right Culture

Buy-in from your staff is critical to implementing new tools or strategies. (Photo: Huw Evans)

The right tools and processes are no good if you don’t have the right people.

It’s important to remember that as an owner or manager, the buck stops with you. Whether that’s instigating major changes or implementing new processes from the top down, or listening to ideas or concepts from your staff, the ultimate outcome is almost always down to you.

Not willing
I’ve seen a lot of cases where shop owners and managers were stuck in a traditional way of thinking (myself included) and were not able or willing to listen to new ideas.

When that happens, even if your service advisor or perhaps a technician comes to you with an idea and you won’t consider it or look at the options, it can create friction in the shop, which leads to higher stress levels and loss of productivity.

On the flip side, if as an owner or manager you want to initiate a new process, new tool or way of doing things, it’s imperative that your staff see the value and are willing to buy in.

Not too long ago, we implemented digital inspections in our shop. It’s a great tool, and it works very well with both our customers and our staff, but in order to use it effectively, everybody within the shop needs to be on the same page.

Increased trust
Today, digital inspections have not only helped increase profitability, they’ve also increased trust and transparency between the shop and our customers. With a digital inspection, you’re able to provide a detailed analysis of what the vehicle needs and why it needs it with photos and diagrams to back up the findings, and you can text or email it to the customer. Then, even if the customer declines the work required at this particular time, you have it documented, so the onus is on them to get it done.

And when the technician, the service advisor and the shop manager/owner are all on the same page, the process is seamless and often you’ll find customers are willing to pay for the work because they completely understand what needs to be done.

If, however, the technician didn’t conduct the inspection properly, or the service advisor didn’t relay the information from the technician to the customer properly then ultimately, responsibility lies with the shop owner or manager.

I’m a firm believer in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes they just won’t buy-in to what you are trying to do, regardless of the strategy you’ve outlined or even incentives you’re willing to provide.

Tough decisions
When that happens, tough decisions need to be made and you have to let some members of your team go so you can find the right people to replace them. And it’s not easy. Sometimes half your team might need to be replaced, but when you find the right staff, you’re able to start building a solid foundation and eventually it will succeed. It might take several new hires to get the right person who is a good fit but eventually you will get there, provided you persevere.

When we look at success stories of individual businesses in this industry and others, along with analyzing the processes and tools they’ve used to achieve that success, it’s important to remember it takes time to build a winning culture and a winning process. So, while Shop A might be successful and Shop B wants to take their process and apply it to their own business, success will not come overnight.

Therefore, it’s important to take a holistic look at your business, see where changes need to be made and take steps to implementing them. Sometimes you may need to re-evaluate but if you are committed, have a plan and stick to it, eventually you’ll succeed.

Categories : Mechanical

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