Realizing the dealer/general manager’s day is full of interruptions, if you could wave a magic wand and create the perfect day, what would you do during that day? Which activities do you wish you did every day? Which activities are the top ten for you to do every day?
Here’s an exercise we use in our 20 Group meetings from time to time that might be helpful for you to realign your daily priorities. The following list is meant to be a thought-starter, to establish what should be priority items a general manager does in a typical day. This is not an all-inclusive list and you are encouraged to add to it.
Highlight the number of the process if you are actively doing it on a daily basis. Highlight the entire process, if it is a process you used to do and need to reactivate (process evaporation).
- Arrive at the dealership early, walk through the shop before the technicians arrive, and check the appointments for the day.
- Watch the shop "wake up" as the parts personnel, technicians, service advisors, and service directors arrive.
- Take time to talk to everyone in fixed operations. What is the pulse of the store today?
- Watch the service drive process. Are the recommended processes being followed? Is the service manager on the drive in the morning?
- Visit office personnel. Pick up daily DOC and see if deals from the previous day are in the office to be processed. How is the paper flow and what are the challenges in the office?
- Stop by the customer lounge. Is it clean? Are amenities available? What are customers discussing? Are customers receiving the proper communication while they wait?
- Walk through the showroom and check for privacy issues, clean desks, and open computers. Watch the sales department "wake up" for today’s business.
- Attend sales meeting and sales training sessions to see if scheduled training is being reviewed. Is the sales board up to date? How are unit sales tracking this month?
- Hold a five-minute stand up meeting with all key managers. Review DOC and discuss any inter-departmental challenges for the day. How is the dealership tracking for the month, by department? Discuss any customer concerns.
- Reserve time after the manager meeting to discuss departmental challenges and customer concerns with the managers involved.
- Attend make-a-deal and save-a-deal meetings with managers on duty. Are these processes being done and are they productive and profitable?
- Walk the lot with your new vehicle managers. Is inventory clean, properly displayed, oldest units in front in hot spots on the lot? Are all required stickers, addendums, etc. on vehicles and fresh-looking?
- Visit the sales office when deals are being worked to verify the approved sales process is being followed for starting price, cash down, payments, leases, trade evaluation process, etc.
- Visit the used vehicle department. Are there any privacy issues? Walk the lot with the used vehicle manager. Are the oldest vehicles in hot spots? Is inventory properly reconditioned? Drive the oldest vehicle on the lot with the used vehicle manager. How many vehicles have been in inventory over three (3) days, but are not front-line ready?
- Personally open all the mail for the day and distribute to applicable associates.
- On payroll day, personally distribute payroll checks to associates.
- Review daily reports:
- Contracts in transit
- Previous day’s receipts/deposits
- Accounts receivable
- New vehicle inventory
- Used vehicle inventory
- Wholesale units sold for the month
- Parts inventory
- Employee parts purchases for the month
- Employee vehicle purchases for the month
- Review repair orders from the previous day.
- Review deals from the previous day.
- Mystery shop sales, service, and parts by phone and internet.
- Visit with F&I personnel. How are you tracking? What is your product penetration? Unfunded contracts? Deals working?
- Take an employee to lunch.
- Attend the technician/service advisor meeting.
- When factory reps, finance reps, the fire marshal, the EPA, and other outside vendors are in the store, make sure you spend a couple of minutes with them before they leave.
- Sign all checks, review documentation, and process purchase orders.
- Visit the parts department and perform random bin checks.
- Walk the entire lot looking for damage, abandoned vehicles, things that need to be repaired, replaced, or cleaned up.
- Review status of staffing requirements. Are additional people needed? What is the status of recruiting?
- Go online and review the dealership's website. Are all specials current? Are vehicles priced per dealership's policy? Are the photos of your vehicles current? Clean? Are the appropriate number of photos represented?
- Review internet lead source data. Number of leads, closing, number of hits, length of time on site, etc.
- Select a major process and see if the process is being followed as established (again, process evaporation).
- Visit the cashier area during a peak time to confirm an active delivery is being completed for all service customers.
- Arrive at the dealership at closing time to see how customers are being handled at the end of the day.
Clearly you cannot do all of the listed items in one day, but what should the priority items be in your operation? What other items are on your list? Should you have a daily, weekly, and monthly checklist of things you must do to effectively keep on top of your stores? What reports should you be reviewing daily?
These best practices and more are taught in our on-site consulting engagements and through the NCM Institute’s training programs for dealers and general managers, such as the General Management Executive Program.