IAC Blog & Articles

Checking what you do

Posted On: September 25, 2019

We touched on this topic in another article titled “fixed ops the granular details”, but I really want to start to go a little deeper into the reason and the process of checking yourself.

In most cases, what we believe to be going on is not exactly accurate. We can take that from any facet of our lives and this is especially true when managing a business. This is why checking our procedures starts with setting them out in the first place.

As the customer landscape and world is constantly changing, it only makes sense to change at least as fast as your surroundings and adapt. There seem to be changing schools of thought on the whole “dealer playbook” ideology; here is my take on this.

Yes, you should have a playbook, but to the extent of tying every person to a specific script and verse, probably not. (We have another article coming on that subject)

People buy from people, not machines. Life is not a vending machine and therefore your organisation should allow people to show their personality within the structure and the direction of your business. This leads onto a critical part for me when talking about process design.  This is also the place that I start with my customers when talking about business change or process design.

What is the Vision and Mission for your business in 1-3-5 years? Sounds like a simple question, until that is, you dig deeper. Sure we can talk about profit and market share, which is the typical response to this question … Pure numbers are not enough to drive your organisation from within, this takes emotion and a goal that can be brought into the belief system of the staff so that they feel part of something larger than just going to work everyday.

Once you define this goal, then you need to build operating procedures around the goal and be mindful that each operating procedure should keep the business goal front and centre and should not contradict the goal in any way. When we talk further about business change, the hardest part is making the changes stick for the long term. This is down to managing your people with the vision for the company in mind, tying them to the company’s goals.

This now leads onto the “checking what we do”. This can be done in several ways, one of the most implemented ways is to create a “checklist”.  When done right is simple and effective, but in most cases it’s an exercise in more paperwork that only serves to slow down your processes and therefore, effect the bottom line of the business.

We can also use KPI measurements to ensure that the process is being carried out effectively. This is done in a slightly more complex way but can be done only when designing the processes around what information is available and how then to report on these numbers.

We can put checkpoints into the process that stop or slow the process for all non-conformances, which can be an effective tool in ensuring that the previous step in the process is always completed.

This is where an audit comes into play. Rather than slowing down the process or stopping it completely, the overall process should be checked internally (while in motion) and then at least once a year externally, ensuring that you can achieve the results that you want in order to hit your goals, but also that you are doing it in the right way.

By using an external auditor, you are able to define the training or adjust the processes in order to bring you back in line with the goals that you set. This is why the idea of a stiff and rigid playbook will only work in the short term and in order to be successful in selling, you must constantly adapt to the arena.

When choosing an audit company, it’s important that they understand and can interpret the spirit of the process and therefore the audit questions. This takes experience and an understanding of automotive retail processes.

International Automotive Consulting Ltd offer a full range of audit possibilities along with process design, implementation and follow up support. If you would like to know more about any of the topics in this article send us a mail or give us a call for a chat.