What You’re Missing Could be Right in Front of You …

POSTED ON August 17, 2020

After more than 20 years of working for NCM as a performance partner, one of the most compelling activities I’ve witnessed NCM 20 Group members participate in is the onsite review. The benefits are vast and, as I write this, I am seeing the impact of one of our most comprehensive reviews right now. A 20 Group comprised of more than 30 general managers and key departmental managers descended upon Richmond Ford Lincoln in Richmond, Va., to perform an onsite review for member Mike Serpico, the dealership’s general manager. I think you’ll quickly see how beneficial this can be …

An NCM 20 Group onsite review provides an eye-opening opportunity for a dealer to find out how their management teams perceive roles within the dealership. The review also allows a dealer or general manager a chance to truly understand their management teams’ ideas for the future.

“You’ve told us this before; you’ve coached us on this before,” is what managers told Mike following their review in Richmond. When his department and key managers heard the same information from a peer, it was suddenly validated and “miraculously sunk in.”

How often do you walk past an area cluttered with dusty, dirty, damaged boxes filled with countless unnecessary items, walls scattered with gobs of posters from past events, stalls and corners littered with dirty rags, cracked pavement, chipped and peeling paint … all having been overlooked for a long time, am I right? We have all done it; we’ve become blind to it! Once a dealer knows that a team of peer dealers and managers are coming to scrutinize their dealership, their eyes are suddenly opened to these neglected issues. Thankfully, the dealer usually has one to two years to prepare for an onsite review, and it’s not uncommon, upon arriving at a dealership, to see recently completed construction projects and thorough clean ups. However, shouldn’t this construction and cleaning have occurred earlier?

Very different from participating in a comprehensive financial composite review, an onsite review begins by instructing the dealership team to complete a set of questions (in writing) for each department and functional area of the dealership. Once completed, the final document (nearly 100 pages) is chock full of the dealership’s current status, pre-review. This is known as the onsite review manual.

During a 20 Group meeting, or even before in some cases, attending members are selected or volunteer to be on a particular onsite departmental team. Each team member receives a copy of the completed dealership onsite review manual, the group’s financial composite, and a three-month Profit Trend Analysis (PTA) to work with while deciding what questions to ask, which places to review in the dealership, etc. After spending some quality time together to create their team plan of action, the 20 Group members travel to the dealership to meet their designated departmental managers for a quick tour before settling down for an in-depth conversation and a thorough review of the work environment. Depending on the 20 Group, this whole process can last from three to eight hours.

As the conversations and queries take place, participating members complete a document created specifically for these reviews called the OCR (Observation, Concern/Celebration, Recommendation). The 20 Group utilizes the OCR during a scheduled follow-up critique with the dealer and their management team. It is then left with the dealer as a tangible asset following the review. Knowing they will be receiving these documents, the dealer and their management team can listen more intently during their review as there is less need to take notes.

While the dealer and their management team benefit from a 60+ page document of observations and recommendations, every 20 Group member involved is also looking at and scrutinizing their departments. Typically, reviewing members walk away with more ideas to implement in their own operations than they present to the dealer during his/her review!

Very often, following an onsite review, several dealers ask us to send them a blank review manual so they can perform an in-house review on their own time. We’ve received great feedback from this as the manual allows them to pull back the curtain and see what they were missing. It was right in front of them all along …

Join Kevin Cunningham or any of NCM’s other moderators in a 20 Group and get your dealership on the schedule for a valuable onsite review.