SOP Formation and Review
WOIT Discussion and Notes Formation and Review
- LD-YNR – 0118-7 – SOP – Ensuring Excellent Operations (page 119)
- Linebacker position / General Manager
Are you feeling crushed under the weight of running your business? You’re not alone. Many auto repair Owners and General Managers wonder why running their businesses is so hard. But not all of them. What strategy is in play to create their success?
We often hear the mantra, “Work Smarter Not Harder.” What does that mean? Let’s talk about Strategy versus Tactics for a bit. Understanding the difference between them is critical to your business’s success.
Strategy is looking at the big picture planning you need to do before diving into the tactics. If your spouse wants you to build her dream house, you don’t just run to Home Depot and purchase a pile of bricks. If you HAD a pile of bricks laying around in the backyard, would you then start laying them out? No. You would end up with a disappointing mess, as well as an unhappy spouse. Not good.
When you want to build your dream house, there are specific steps you need to take before beginning the build process. First, you need to purchase the land and survey the land. Next, you will meet with an architect and draw out the plans. Then, meet with the builders, acquire the permits, and make sure there is money in the bank to pay for it all. That’s called strategy.
After all that, THEN you can begin laying the foundation. You’ll be counting the number of bricks you’ll need, setting up the framing, installing the infrastructure, hiring the electrician, and so on. That’s tactics.
If you try building that dream home without strategy or tactics, you’re screwed. It doesn’t matter how good the architect and builder are. Without strategy and tactics, you get stuck with analysis paralysis! You wonder why that dang house has become such a money pit.
Well, if you want to build your ideal company, then you need to put together your strategy. Once your business plan and marketing strategies are mapped out, you need to employ the tactics that will get you there.
Fortunately, You Net Results has the experience to walk you through both the strategy and tactics you’ll need to get your business to the next million dollars in annual revenue. It’s not an overnight project. It takes a lot of work. However, it’s a solid plan that will help you reach your goals, as long as you implement and take action.
At You Net Results, we facilitate coaching groups for auto repair shop owners. Together, we can all reach a turnaround point. You will emerge from the experience of moving from a business owner to a confident business leader. Thus, you will eliminate the obstacles that hold you back.
To find out more, contact us for a complimentary consultation. Brian Gillis will discuss your business strategies and find ways to improve your annual revenue and company culture.
If you are looking to expand your team and grow your business, you must put your systems and processes in place, so new hires can learn them. Otherwise, you’re in for a surprise with people winning stupid prizes by playing stupid people games.
What?! Yes, that’s right. Let me explain.
How many times have you hired someone who you thought was a promising candidate? Someone who interviewed well, passed your criteria, and looked like a winner on paper. Then, you hired that individual and found later that they were poor performers. Or worse, you thought they were just plain stupid.
Do you really think they were stupid? Seriously, after all that vetting, do you think you hired someone dumb? I would argue that you didn’t hire a foolish person. Instead, you had non-existent or poorly defined systems and procedures in place — if there was any documentation at all — and that “stupid” person was thrown into the fire with no procedural support system.
After all, we don’t hire dumb folks. Instead, we have lacking systems and processes that make them look stupid and force them to underperform.
In short, it’s not their fault. It’s ours. We failed them because no one is inherently stupid. But too many business owners don’t recognize this, and they continue pretending. They’re winning stupid prizes by playing stupid people games. Here’s what I’m talking about:
I was talking with a shop owner recently. During the course of our conversation, he told me everyone he hired was stupid, and they never did what he told them to do. I asked him who hired them? There was silence on the phone. Was it the owner or the people? What prize do you think he won?
Quite frankly, it’s a stupid way to run a business.
Let’s rid ourselves of this “stupid” label and take a different approach.
If you were to build a house and laid the foundation before meeting with the architect, you have on your hands a failed and expensive home-building process. Your systems and processes dictate your success, and we have seen too many small business owners jump into action without having a solid plan called systems and processes in place. That is why Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are critical to the success of any business.
McDonald’s and other major fast-food chains have learned how to streamline SOPs in such a way that the average 16-year-old high school student can train in one or two days and become highly productive within their first week of employment.
So here’s the question: What is preventing you from hiring intelligent and talented people who prove to you over time that they are worthy? What’s stopping your new hires from reaching success is your lack of Standard Operating Procedures guiding them steadily toward that success.
If you are genuinely searching for a streamlined system that will help your employees win, your business grow, and will lower your stress level, and you need to adapt well-thought-out systems and processes. When you work with You Net Results, we will take you through proven systems and techniques that will help your business grow. Our strategies help shop owners reach their next million dollars in revenue and help their company culture thrive as well.
Who do you know that could benefit from well-documented, seamless systems and processes? If you know anyone who could benefit, including yourself, please schedule a consultation with You Net Results. After all, great intentions don’t pay the bills. If you are willing to invest in yourself and your team, you are on the right track in avoiding stupid people games that waste your time and money.
At You Net Results, we dedicate many training hours to business systems. Our classes and coaching sessions address how to reduce mistakes and prevent lost details. To find out more, contact us for a complimentary consultation. Brian Gillis will discuss your business strategies and find ways to improve your annual revenue and company culture.
Description of Content
Have you ever played the game “Telephone”? You start by lining up a group. Then, you whisper a sentence into the first person’s ear. They then whisper the message to the next person. The game continues until the message gets to the final person in line, who announces out loud what sentence they heard. It is often much different from the original sentence. Quite the exercise in communication!
At You Net Results, we know this game shows what happens when messages, systems, and processes are undocumented. Just like in the game of “Telephone,” something can get lost in the telling. When you don’t write down instructions, client comments, or repair orders, this is inevitable.
In auto repair businesses, it happens like this:
The Customer tells the Service Advisor something. Time is short. The Service Advisor doesn’t write it down, but they repeat it verbally to the Technician. The Technician may also skip documenting it, so they present the Service Advisor with new information. The Service Advisor then reports to the Customer via phone. More back and forth happens, and then the Customer picks up their vehicle. Later, the Service Advisor is surprised to read the Customer’s one-star review. Why? Communication was not clear. They lost something in the telling.
Do you see how simply repeating verbal information can lose accuracy? It is obvious how the customer felt wronged. How can your team reduce miscommunication? How can they improve clarity?
The answer? Use transparent systems and processes to document all communication. Enter repair issues through DVI reports, notes in your CRM, text messages, recorded phone calls, and other exchanges. When you do, you will reduce your chance of poor reviews.
At You Net Results, we dedicate hours of training to communication. Our coaching sessions help prevent mistakes and lost details. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation. Brian Gillis will discuss your business strategies and ways to improve revenue and company culture.
307 – SOP – Top 10 Things a GM you must do well #7-10
8. WOIT: Working-On-It-Tuesday
9. Training, Teaching getting Buy-In
10. Motivating other
Here is a clip from our General Manager Process online meeting. The whole discussion is available in our You Net Results members library. In this video, Brian Gillis asked a roundtable of automotive repair Owners and GM’s to list ten things that every General Manager must do well. Once our discussion was done, we had compiled a comprehensive list of duties. Read through them and focus on each one today, and then you will up your game!
After Brian set the table for our members, he called on veteran shop owner Jerry Kaminski. Jerry suggested that keeping an eye on your numbers is imperative. Whether you review your financial records daily or monthly, taking a regular look is key.
Next, Andy Arndt stressed how important it is to delegate tasks to your staff. No matter how skilled you are, you can’t do it all! You must trust your staff to take some of the workload off of your plate. Your time is valuable! If a general manager is stuck under a car, he or she can’t handle their administrative duties.
Task Three that a general manager must do well involves both finding and maintaining the right staff. Jim Ryckman invoked the acronym PAHR – Prepare, Attract, Hire, Retain, which is the method we teach for staffing. Without the right crew on hand, none of these other tasks are possible.
Our friend Dana stressed that good communication skills are essential in any management situation. You must stay cool under pressure, and learn the right things to say to both your staff and concerned customers. Above all else, listen!
Brian then called on Bart Brown, who listed leadership as his task of choice. Repair shop General Managers must continually train, and then put into practice, the methods they learn in order to guide their team. The importance of having the proper leadership vision can not be underestimated.
Edward Couture then weighed in with two more tasks that every GM must master. In order to improve workflow, you must learn to manage your time. Edward credits his time management skills with many of his business successes over the years.
Edward continued by saying that managers must learn to be diplomatic. When you are managing a team of automotive technicians and service advisors, conflicts will inevitably arise. You can not show favoritism between your children. In much the same way, you must learn to step in and resolve disagreements between your staff, whether they are personal or professional ones.
Leon said that every owner, as well as every manager, needs to designate a time one day per week to focus on the business itself. We have always taught this concept as “Working On It Tuesdays”.
It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks going on in an automotive repair shop. If you do not reserve a block of time to work on the nuts and bolts of your business, then it is not going to happen. Go in your office for an hour and shut the door. Don’t forget to also tell your crew that you are not to be bothered for that hour. During that time, study the methods that will increase your effectiveness as both a leader and a general manager. It will save you countless headaches and so much time down the line. Do not do this at home! Operating hours are for business, so you need to take that time to find perspective. Then go home and recharge with your family.
Next in line, Jerry Kaminski returned to stress the importance of writing and training systems (SOPs). Writing down every task that runs a shop is necessary to get buy-in from your staff. When everyone knows the who, what, when, where, why, and how, they don’t have to hunt you down to ask!
Finally, Andy Arndt mentioned that General Managers must motivate their teams. Remind your staff members regularly that you are working toward a common goal. Share your vision when you hold your daily and weekly team meetings. When your technicians and service writers are in tune with that vision, then your shop will run like a well oiled machine!
To summarize this session, Brian surveyed our group of experienced auto repair shop Owners and General Managers. They determined the following list of ten things every GM must do in order to succeed:
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First, Brian calls on veteran shop owner Jerry Kaminski. Jerry jumps right in, asserting that both owners and managers must continually examine and refine their systems. Our friend Leon then adds that regular training sessions with a coaching group are crucial. Jim Ryckman expands on that point that your group must be made up of like minded people who are just as passionate about the automotive industry as you are. If all parties are dedicated to studying and improving, then you will benefit from the time you have invested.
Edward, a successful Midas owner, chimes in to say that a confident leader must trust their own knowledge, as well as their shop’s processes. General Managers must ensure that all of their team members are consistently executing their processes and procedures. Following up is key.
Andy Arndt then reviews our company’s mission statement on helping general managers. Here at You Net Results, we are committed to teaching repair shop owners and managers how to become fearless. Jim Ryckman then continues by reminding the class of our 25+ years of automotive industry experience. We work with individual general managers in order to help them define what success means to them. Then, we step by step help them to reach those goals.
Finally, Brian reviews. He stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with the right staff, as well as encouraging them to learn and implement the right systems.
You Net Results is here to help you become a confident leader! Why not schedule a FREE business strategy session with Brian? You have nothing to lose, so sign up today!
First, Brian asks members what it means to be an automotive repair shop owner. Andy recalls his experience working his way up to the position of Owner of his family’s repair business. He describes “replacing himself”, delegating tasks to other staff. Sometimes it does not work out, and he needs to resume said chores temporarily. The bottom line is that owners have to wear many hats within the business, thus they need to stay on their toes to adapt to change.
Our own Jim Ryckman chimes in to describe a General Manager is responsibilities. He or she also must delegate jobs amongst the team. However, the GM is often on the floor, right in the action. Thinking on your feet is key! Managers assist with tickets, tracking parts inventory, and weekly organizational tasks for both front and back of house staff. Sometimes, perhaps most importantly, they are the face of the shop to customers. Your GM may need to engage clients in “show and tell” about the repair process, or grab them a cup of coffee – anything to make your customers feel welcome! This important position is very challenging, but the more dedicated and flexible you are, the more rewarding it can be!
Whether you call it Front Counter Staff, Service Advisor, or Service Writer, this job is a crucial spoke in the automotive shop wheel. Cory explains what this job means to him, since he has experience with training front counter workers.
Service Advisors are the conduit between both your customers and your mechanics. They’re responsible for explaining the car’s repair needs. They also must estimate how long repairs will take and how much they will cost. “Job stacking” is a critical task for a Service Writer. Managing multiple jobs can be tough, so Front Counter Staff need to have excellent time management and organizational skills. Not to mention, they must work with vendors to ensure all necessary parts are in stock. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to these workers, such as online communication with customers, due to social distancing requirements.
Cory believes that no other position is as integral to an auto repair shop’s income than the Service Advisor. You could say that no other auto repair position requires people skills more than a Service Advisor.
A General Service Technician is sometimes called a Mechanic by a lay person. It is undoubtedly the heartbeat of any auto repair shop. Techs often perform a thankless job. That is despite their required regular ASE certification training. While many facets of the auto repair process don’t change, technology advances dictate continuing education. Who knows, your shop may have to service a self driving car in the near future! Mechanics need to know everything from transmission repair to how to fix the computerized engines of 21st century cars and trucks.
Joe is a veteran shop owner hailing from Alabama. He’s seen it all! First, Joe runs down the ever evolving responsibilities of technicians. He recalls his own experiences as a mechanic, which began over 50 years ago. Before their continued learning, each tech must have a strong foundation of know how. Speed of service is also crucial.
Mechanics are typically the lowest paid team members, but they have plenty of opportunities to advance their careers. General Service Technicians learn many skills on the job. Whether at their existing shop, or in another industry, they are valuable hires. Their communication with others in house, plus their adaptability, are important traits. Those skills can help a General Service Tech to eventually move up to an A Tech, Service Writer, or even Owner in time.
Are staff relationships and training confusing you? Do you struggle to put all of the pieces together? Then why not join one of our monthly coaching groups! You will have access to join our live weekly Zoom meetings. They cover topics such as budgeting for profit, hiring, leadership, and much more. Members also have 24/7 access to hours of previous training calls. A library of valuable documents will help to guide you. Sign up today!