The Japanese word "Kaizen," means Continuous Improvement. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all functions of a business, from manufacturing to management and from the CEO to the assembly line workers.
By improving standardized activities and processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste. Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses, including Toyota, during the country’s recovery after World War II, and has since spread to businesses throughout the world.
If you’re going to have Continuous Improvement you first have to get back to the basics. You can’t improve very much if your foundation is not solid.
As I travel the country, without exception, every dealer and manager tell me they are working a sales system/selling process. They also tell me they have a 60 day turn policy on used cars. At the very least they are lying to themselves. The selling processes they think they are working are not the ones they are working.
One of my favorite sayings is "You need to know what you don’t know." In this case, it’s probably more about facing some reality. The processes you started way back yonder have evaporated. If I gave a quiz to all your managers and sales people, and asked them to list the steps in their selling system I would get as many different answers as you have people.
Furthermore, even if they listed them correctly, then my observation is they are not doing it…they talk the talk, but trust me, they ain’t walking the walk.
Historically, over time these processes have evaporated; then what happens is one day the dealer wakes up and hires another training company to come in and revamp the system. Then X number of years down the road the dealer does it all over again.
You’re sitting there once again thinking, "Ok big mouth Tommy, what’s the answer?" First thing is you need to open your eyes, use your peripheral vision and see if what I just said is true. Once you come down off the ceiling from the shock you’re in, then meet with your key managers and determine just what system you are supposed to be using. Re-write the mess. Then go on a major retraining mission to get everyone back on track.
Will you please quit worrying about some of your old goats quitting. They may not be necessarily old in age, but they have old stinky thinking. The fact is they are running your dealership into the ground. A lot of them are selling 4 to 8 cars a month and you are worried whether your superstar is going to quit if you put some disciplines in place. Rock on Insanity, rock on.
Maybe what the store really needs is a fire lit under your butt. Some people think they are burnt out…how can you be burnt out if you’ve never been on fire?
Look, I’m trying to poke a little fun at you, but odds are you really need to take a hard look at your operation. Once that’s done you need to take some action and put a game plan in place. Then you need to put "Kaizen" thinking into place. Are you continuously improving? If you are not moving forward then the odds are pretty good that you’re going backward. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs