Be a leader, a teacher, and a problem solver. Each person in your department must be as productive as possible. An unhappy employee is not a productive one. Do your people come to work with smiles? Do your people stay late to “BS”, or to finish jobs, or to prepare for the next day? If you answered yes, 90 percent of your work is going to be very easy. If you have an unhappy workforce, however, the first thing you have to do is to change their attitude.
Negative criticism is the worst tool you have. Use it as a last resort, when trying to save an employee from termination. The manager’s attitude will be the attitude of the employees. They look to their leader for clues about how to perceive their jobs. If the top man is unhappy, everyone else will follow him down the hole and so will your customers. You must be a positive leader. Smile, laugh, and joke with your people—not enough to interfere with them, just enough to get them smiling also. Create positive feelings between employees and get them working together.
Here are a few simple ideas:
Ask each employee to fill out a short form once in a while about themselves or each other. A simple questionnaire: name, position, years of experience, their own idea of a job description, their proudest accomplishment, suggestions for improvement of their job. Do not ask for criticism; ask positive or neutral questions only. Talk with each one in private about how they perceive and feel about their job and place in department. When presented with an opportunity to implement one of their ideas, do so and give them full credit for the idea. Encourage them to want to improve the department.
Create a “pat on the back” award, one that the employees themselves contribute to. Give your employees a simple form, with all employee names, and a check box for good, better, and best. Ask a simple question: Rate your fellow employees for most helpful, or most cheerful, or best problem solver, etc.—only one question, no possible negative comments, a take-home and mail in form with a stamped and addressed envelope. No ratings except for an award to the winner. Get your people thinking positively about each other.
Post all department goals based on prior years and update daily. Make every effort to praise good work publicly and if it becomes necessary to have a negative session with an employee, do it in private, behind closed doors. Once you have fully developed a positive attitude in your department, changes will be easy to make.
In part seven:
Things to do:
· Establish inventory controls
· Establish training program
· Establish pricing policy
· Establish expense accounting
· Analysis of wholesale income
· Analysis of discount structure
· Check for maximum stock order discounts
· Check for dealer wholesale incentives
· Check fleet accounts and rebates
· Check for best part return policy
· Review possible promotions
· Review pay plans
· Create policy and procedure manual
· Establish schedules for inventory maintenance
· Schedule freight credits
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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