You now have your 1500 part numbers arranged in bins close to your counters, in easy to remember locations, correct quantities, and are ready to make some money. No, not yet. You’ve only done the easy part.
After inventory-investment control, productivity is the next issue. Productivity is limited by time. Wasted time cannot be reclaimed. Every decision, every procedure, every plan should be based on time.
Training your people will be the hardest, longest, and most frustrating part of your job.
No one wants change in their life, especially not at work. Some are actually frozen in their patterns. Your ideas will be met with resistance of all kinds. You must not quit. You must be the unstoppable, irresistible force. Here are some guidelines to help you.
Write it down.
Verbal instructions are almost useless. We use our eyes first, our ears second, our memories last. When you write down your policies and procedures, you create a lasting effect, one that cannot be forgotten.
Write it all down.
When you are ready to start your written program, write it all. Isolate yourself, start thinking about how a perfect department functions, and start writing. Don’t worry about priority, that will come later. Think about the position, not the person. Think about efficiency, volume, quick and easy procedures, and how to provide them. Create plans. Break down overall plans into separate detailed plans. Give yourself time to brainstorm, and write everything down. Let your enthusiasm be your guide, but if you start to over-detail one subject, continue. You can always go back to the beginning, if you have written it down. The important thing is to keep the ideas flowing. Stop writing only when you can’t think of anything else.
Make your list.
Now comes the time for priority. Sort all your ideas into groups. Sort all procedures by positions. List changes in order of priority, and list everything you want to do. This list will become your guide in the months to come. If you do not have a guide, you will become mired in routine, and be unable to remember the wonderful ideas you used to have, all the changes you wanted to make.
Schedule your changes.
People can only handle a maximum of three new ideas at a time. It takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit. Use these two facts to make up your schedule of changes. Take it easy, one or two steps at a time. Wait until things have settled down before stirring the pot again. That is why you must have a list of all the things you want to change. Now you see why I say this is the longest and hardest part of your job.
Change yourself first.
In part six, I will give you guides to help you lead your people, but you must be the example they follow.
Larry Williams is a former parts manager and consultant with national awards and over 40 years of experience in creating profitable departments. He can be reached at [email protected].
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