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Steve Emery

Steve Emery

Author's details

Name: Steve Emery
Date registered: July 28, 2015
URL: http://www.ncmassociates.com

Biography

Steve joins NCM with more than 25 years of experience implementing best practices with car and truck dealers to support 20 Groups, in-dealership consulting, and the NCM Institute. His deep bench of dealership expertise stems from holding roles as general manager, fixed operations director, and district manager, including five years with CarMax. Success in retail management led Steve to NADA, where he served for over a decade as a program manager for dealership operations. Steve is an NCM subject matter expert in dealership group management, used vehicles, and service operations. He is a frequently requested speaker and a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance by the American Society for Training & Development. Steve is a Penn State grad with a B.S. in Management and was recently awarded Beta Gamma Sigma Honors for his MBA. Prior to his automotive career, Steve was an Officer of Marines where he served as the KC-130 Chief Instructor Pilot. He resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Latest posts

  1. 6 Steps to Control Dealership Expenses — May 9, 2017
  2. Get the Most from Your Managers’ Meetings — November 8, 2016
  3. Are You Really Managing Your Used Cars? — July 30, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. Are You Really Managing Your Used Cars? — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Steve Emery

6 Steps to Control Dealership Expenses

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While most of your managers are driven by sales and gross, volume doesn’t necessarily equal more profits. If anything, pushing more volume through a bloated expense structure typically yields less net profit. And, if your manufacturer is too optimistic and producing excess cars with high volume goals, you face even more problems. Expanded production challenges your gross and leads to increases in the “Big 3” expenses: sales compensation, advertising, and floor plan.

Get a better handle on dealership expenses to make the most of your sales opportunities with an expense review. It’s a fast way to see how you are spending your money and to find the areas where you can cut back.

The Expense Review Process

  1. Get organized. Pull a list of every vendor and get all of your contracts in one place. Categorize your expenses and assign responsible managers. Make “spending management” a top priority for your office manager/controller/CFO.
  2. Vendor review. Sit down with your management team and determine which vendors provide overlapping services and can be reduced or eliminated. Identify vendors that provide services with minimal or no added value for your business and eliminate them as well.
  3. Vendor list. Designate a “preferred provider” in each of your expense categories. These firms may not offer the lowest cost, but they should all offer best-in-category services or products for your dealership. Once the management team has agreed to the preferred vendors, publish the list for staff use.
  4. Purchasing policies and approvals. Limit changes to the Preferred Vendor List and commitment authority (contracts, purchase orders, invoices) to as small a group as possible.
  5. Usage reviews. Usage and process reviews will often reduce your costs more than the negotiating of new pricing. To get started, review all transactions from the last six to 12 months and identify expense categories tied to sales, such as units, services, and parts. Pulling this information can be time-consuming, but if you’re already using LiveAudit it should go pretty quickly. If not, you’ll need to set aside time to get your financials in order. In most cases, dealerships use a vendor item/service when selling something (e.g., credit card processing), so ask yourself, “What are the processes behind each usage?” Evaluate each process: Are you wasting items or needlessly using services?
  6. Sourcing. Organize your contract bids on a calendar according to how far out you need to get competing bids. Nothing is more effective than a good old fashioned RFQ, or Request for Quote, to identify the highs and lows of the marketplace and your target pricing.

Find opportunities and make the most of them.

Try giving every manager a goal to cut monthly expenses by a dollar or percentage amount. Consider giving a bonus to whomever can cut the most. And at your managers’ meetings, have each manager bring an idea to cut expense for a particular item or department.

Learn more about Steve Emery and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting. Also, check out LiveAudit for seamless, intuitive expense tracking power!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/05/6-steps-to-control-dealership-expenses/

Steve Emery

Get the Most from Your Managers’ Meetings

Business presentation on corporate meeting.

Most managers view meetings as something akin to visiting the dentist. They are time away from “work,” and can range from boring to painful. If canceling a managers’ meeting truly pumps up your staff, perhaps it’s time to look at ways you can make them something to look forward to.

Meet for the right reason

Let’s start with this question: When should you have all your managers gathered in a group meeting?  Some dealerships hold mandatory daily meetings; others hold them only when the dealer feels it is necessary.  Information that could be better distributed by email should be.

Here’s a short list of reasons you might need face-to-face time from all managers:

  • An important announcement (We are buying another dealership.)
  • To solve a problem (Should we change DMS systems?)
  • To discuss a business opportunity (How do we sell more used cars?)
  • Training to be better managers (How to develop a business plan?)

Pick a convenient time

First thing in the morning may be convenient for the dealer and sales staff, but it’s the busiest time for service. I’ve found that meeting during lunch typically has the least impact on all parts of the business. Plus, breaking bread can lighten the mood!

One drawback with a group meeting is that some managers’ time is wasted listening to other departments’ unrelated issues, while other managers get far less time than is needed to resolve challenges. To solve this, try alternating weekly group meetings with individual manager one-on-ones.

For example, say all managers meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. On the second and fourth weeks of the month, the dealer can meet with individual department managers on a schedule:

Monday – New

Tuesday – Used

Wednesday – Service

Thursday – Parts

Friday – Office

Make good use of your time

Now that we have a more effective schedule, let’s take a look at a more efficient agenda.

Most managers’ meetings have no agenda at all, which is like driving without a destination. And when there is an agenda, it is typically a review of the numbers—which is like driving by only looking in the rear-view mirror. Your agenda should prompt the management team to take action based on the business situation.

Here are some key items to consider:

Asset Review. If you don’t manage the assets, they turn into expenses and frozen cash.  Review each manager’s aged inventories and receivables. What is each manager’s action plan to purchase faster-turning inventory and turn receivables into cash faster?

Sales Process. Do you have an active process to maximize the revenue from each sales opportunity? What is the action plan for increasing sales and the gross on those sales?

Advertising. Is your advertising effective in attracting new customers and retaining existing customers? What is the action plan for creating more customers at lower expense?

Personnel. Who are the top and bottom performers? What is the action plan to increase gross per employee?

Expenses. To whom are you writing checks? What is the action plan for reducing expenses?

By balancing the agenda of the group and your one-on-one meetings, you can maximize effectiveness. Focusing your managers on where you want to go—rather than on where you have been—should give you and your management team something to look forward to.

Tell us below how you manage meetings? Learn more about Steve Emery and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/get-the-most-from-your-managers-meetings/

Steve Emery

Are You Really Managing Your Used Cars?

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For most dealers, the used car department is the biggest opportunity for increasing profitability. Unlike new cars, a dealer can stock any used car they choose. Most volume and gross issues are directly related to those choices and how the inventory is managed through final sale. No doubt, there is an “art” to managing used cars, and dealers who are getting the best results have added some “science” to it. This enables them to be proactive vs. reactive in managing their inventory.

What is the best Inventory for you to stock?

Do you know what have been fast-turning cars at your store? There are a variety of software tools that can look at your sales history and identify these for you. Any retailer knows this, down to the color, options, price point, etc. Once you know what these cars are, you can develop a core inventory. These are the cars that you want to make up the bulk of your inventory. They probably aren’t the ones you are currently buying by the truckload from the factory auction, so the majority of your inventory could be in slower-turning units, reducing volume and gross. Is your buyer guessing or knowing with your 7-figure checkbook? Proactive dealers use their core inventory as a shopping list for their buyers and track what percent of those units make up their current stock (goal 80%).

What are the best sources for these units?

Core inventory tends not to be auction program cars. Proactive dealers use these methods to increase their percent of core inventory:

  • Check the back door. Are you currently wholesaling core inventory?
  • These units come to you every day; just look at the Service drive! Many dealers spiff Service Advisors for letting them know core inventory is in for Service today. Managers do an appraisal and contact the customer.
  • Use direct mail to target current customers who drive core inventory. Invite them in for a special sale or service offer.
  • Who has the bigger house, you or your wholesaler? Develop a network of other dealerships you will buy from. Their non-core inventory could be your core inventory.

How can you improve recon time, cost and quality?

It makes no sense to buy great cars just to have them take forever in recon and come out in less-than-saleable condition. To proactively manage recon, many dealers have incorporated these processes:

  • When buying a car, fill out a 2-part recon pre-approval sheet. Check off what you already know the unit needs and set a dollar limit so Service isn’t held up waiting for approval. Place a copy in a dated folder 3-5 days out; review the folder every day looking for cars bottlenecked in the recon process.
  • Have ready cars pulled up to the front. Compare the approved recon with the actual RO for cost. Have someone in Sales test drive the car to ensure it’s in saleable condition. If the cost and quality are right, then close the RO.

How can we do a better job managing aging inventory and wholesale?

We all know that grosses tend to decline with the age of the car. Do you proactively manage units as they age to increase their chances for retail sale and avoid wholesale loss? When is a unit considered “old” to you? If 60 days is your turn policy, when do you take a look at the car? Answer: typically 45 days. Numerous studies have shown the highest gross peaking at 21 days. Proactive dealers are looking at aging units at 21, 42, and 63 days:

  • At 21 days, check the car for defects, re-clean, and park in the “hot spot.” Consider identifying the car as a “manager’s special,” spiffing it, reducing price, wholesaling it.
  • At 42 days, can we wholesale the car now? Put it on eBay? Trade with another dealer? Park in a “clearance zone” on the lot?
  • At 63 days, take it to the best place for wholesale. Depending on the unit, this may be a wholesaler, another dealer, or as a last option, auction.

None of these techniques are expensive to implement, especially when compared to what you may be losing in units, gross, and wholesale. Proactive dealers are managing their core inventory, taking their used car department to the next level of profitability.

For questions, reach out to $teve at 913-645-2915 or semery@ncm20.com.

UV Training

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/07/are-you-really-managing-your-used-cars/