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Tag Archive: NCM Institute

Rick Wegley

Announcing Something New at NCM: Service Advisor Training

Mechanic wrench tool

I’ve been chomping at the bit to make this announcement, and we just got the go-ahead!

After years of your asking for service advisor training, I’m happy to announce that the NCM Institute has added one to our roster. And I’m delighted to be teaching the first class in October.

Good management starts with a solid team

This is a significant change for NCM, which has focused on executive and management training since it began six years ago. But, as we’ve fielded call after call for training designed specifically for the professional service advisor, we knew this was an issue we had to address.

And, honestly, it made sense. Managers and other leadership team members need accountability management skills in all areas of the dealership to effectively growth dealership performance and profit.

We looked into it.  The challenge was selecting a provider that aligned exactly with our fixed operations management training philosophies—and there are many qualified vendors in the market today—but that mission, we discovered, was impossible. In response, we created our own.

Piloting the program

In 2015, the NCM Institute began offering our own service advisor training course on-site at dealerships across the country with tremendous success!

We started with the goals, objectives and philosophies of the NCMi service and parts management training curriculum, and then built our advisor training on these principles. The response has been remarkable, and I genuinely believe it’s because our approach gives your service advisors the same messaging as your managers who have attended our management training courses at the Institute. It streamlines management and gets everyone moving in the same direction.

service_advisor_training_banner

Protect your front line

As a service guy myself, I’m particularly excited to be part of this new opportunity at NCM. Service advisors are our front line personnel, and they are the ones who, individually, represent both our dealership and our manufacturer to our client base on a daily basis. And yet the opportunities to develop the soft skills and leadership potential of this group are few and far between.

Frankly, our service department deserves better.  As managers, we need to re-evaluate our strategy for improvement in our operations, and understand that our dealerships are judged on financial and customer satisfaction responses that are a direct result of the performance of our front line personnel.

Developing peoples’ full potential should be a goal of every department manager or dealer operator. And where better to start than with the front line employees who drive the future prosperity of our customer retention and repurchase efforts?

Seats are limited and filling fast for this inaugural event in Kansas City on October 27, 2016. Please reach out to NCM Client Engagement Specialist Jeff Hardin at NCMi@ncmassociates.com for more information and to reserve your dealerships’ seats.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/announcing-something-new-at-ncm-service-advisor-training/

Susy Campbell

Five Must-See Places in Kansas City

Each year our Institute hosts hundreds of students for training at our Kansas City office. The Travel Solutions team and I thought you’d like a list of things to do in the “City of Fountains” during your evenings. So, ignore some of that homework and hit the town with these five KC favorites!

1.  Country Club Plaza               

With its Seville-inspired beauty, the Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s crown jewel. The shopping district offers spectacular fountains—and, for a city renowned for them, that’s saying a lot!—and a stunning light display during the holiday season.  But it offers more than just shopping: The Plaza (as we call it) has delicious restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Just a few minutes away from the hotels we typically book for NCMi courses, and it is an excellent choice for an evening out. One warning, though, storefronts close by 7 p.m. most evenings, except for Thursday nights when shopping goes strong until 9 p.m.

2. Power & Light District

Just a few minutes North of NCM’s headquarters is the Power & Light District. While the Plaza focuses on upscale dining and shopping, P&L is about partying! Anchored by the Sprint Center, which hosts concerts year round, you can also enjoy exceptional nightclubs and fantastic sports bars. A favorite spot is the Alamo Drafthouse, which shows movies in an 18-years-or-older environment that bans cell phones and has in-seat food and beverage service.

3. Hollywood Casino at the Speedway

If playing slots are what you like, then the Hollywood Casino at the Speedway offers over 2,000 slots and several traditional table games. It overlooks the iconic Kansas Speedway, and if you plan your trip at the right, you can join 100,000 geared up NASCAR fans at the Sprint Cup Series. And be sure to come hungry. Hollywood Casino has five restaurants including Final Cut Steakhouse that serves steak and seafood.

You’ll need a car to get there from NCM. So, let us know if you want to go, and our team can make the arrangements.

4. Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District 

Little Richard, Fats Domino and others have sung about “Coming to Kansas City” since 1952. Why? Because during the Jazz Age, Kansas City was known as the “Paris of the Plains,” and its nightclubs and speakeasies left an indelible mark on American Jazz. (Just ask Charlie Parker!)

The Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District celebrates KC’s rich Jazz heritage. Explore this uniquely American music form at the American Jazz Museum. Discover the fascinating history African-Americans in baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And, aficionados only, stay up late—really late—for an early morning jam session at the Mutual Musicians Foundation where KC’s current jazz and blues artists play after their Friday and Saturday night sets. (Definitely worth extending your trip for. Trust us.)

5. Liberty Memorial

The only National World War I Museum and Memorial in our country, the Liberty Memorial was built in 1919 after a group raised $2.4 million (the equivalent of $34 million today) to honor the men and women who had served in “the war to end war.” In 1921, all the supreme Allied commanders dedicated the site, the last time the five gathered. Needless to write, if you’re a history buff you don’t want to miss this award-winning museum which houses one of the largest collection of WWI artifacts in the world!

The WWI museum is closed on Mondays, but is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. So, if you want to visit this national treasure, I recommend you come in for class a little early or stay an extra day in KC. And, if you’re staying, don’t forget to visit our lovely Union Station and its interactive science center and planetarium!

Whether you’re coming to KC for training, need help getting to an NCM 20 Group meeting or want to take a well-deserved vacation, let NCM Travel Solutions do the planning for you! Get your free travel quote.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-must-see-places-in-kansas-city/

Lindsey Quinn

Behind the Scenes: NCMi

Mug

If you’ve ever taken a course with the NCM Institute, you’ve experienced the hard work and expertise of our NCMi staff. Get to know the people responsible for making sure your experience in Kansas City—or at one of NCM’s Roadshows—is the best possible one! 

Group

Brandiss Drummer, Operations ManagerBrandiss

A five-year veteran of NCM Associates, Brandiss heads the NCMi team. Under her leadership, each individual works together to create a cohesive, flawlessly executed experience for the student. Brandiss sums it up best, “As we all know, the experience is about more than the content of the education you received; it’s about every aspect of the process from A to Z.”  Her goal is that every aspect of your NCMi experience consistently exceeds your expectations.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Brandiss: The best part of my job is that it’s never done! There is no end date to this project—something can always be improved and this challenges me to continuously push us forward.  I never worry about complacency creep; I am always motivated to continuously improve when I hear the success stories from the students.  There are some whose lives we have literally changed (and whose family’s lives we have changed), by helping them to grow successfully in their careers, both financially and personally.

I was working here late one night, and my sister remarked to me “Go home! Remember, you aren’t saving lives.” No, we may not be, but we are changing them.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Brandiss: I can honestly say that every single team member is invested in the students. This is not a job for any of us; we spend countless hours in our personal time thinking of ways to help our students. It is not unusual to find the instructors still onsite at 7 pm helping a student with their homework. Or to find a group text between the admin staff on the weekend, working to make sure even a Saturday add-on doesn’t know the difference when they walk through the doors on Monday. Our training classes are small enough that if you let us, we get to know you as a person first, so that we know how to best help you as a student.

NCM: Anything else?

Brandiss: Yes: Bribes don’t work on us! Your test grade is still your test grade!

Cassie Allen, Learning & Development Coordinator Cassie

With a keen focus on students’ training needs, Cassie has spent four years working to match your goals with our classes. If you have ever requested customized training for your dealership employees, you’ve likely worked with Cassie to identify what topics will be taught in order to garner the most success.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Cassie: I enjoy working with our clients and building relationships.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Cassie: If you don’t see a course on our schedule, ask us! We are always listening to our clients and their training needs.  We might not have it now, but we are always updating and adding new courses to our schedule!

Racheal Ellis, Institute CoordinatorRacheal

During her two years with NCM, Racheal has committed to creating a great experience for NCMi students. Many of you have probably spoken with her, as she helps with class registrations and communication. She also greets students when they arrive at our classrooms in Kansas City.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Racheal: I like connecting with the students and getting to hear about their success stories.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Racheal: We’re here for you!

Jeff Hardin, Client Engagement SpecialistJeff

Jeff has only been with NCM for two months, but he’s already an integral part of the team. He helps students register for the appropriate classes, based on what they’ve already taken with us and how they want to develop their careers. And he likes to do it all with a smile on his face.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Jeff: The best part of my job is working with my team and with our clients to determine their true learning and development needs and help them accomplish their goals in efforts to improve their success.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Jeff: We have a vested interest in their success and truly care about them both as clients and individuals. We value the relationships we build with our clients.

Carolyn Rogers, Assistant CoordinatorCarolyn

Over the last year, Carolyn has been working hard on prepping all the classes for NCMi students. She’s also responsible for the tasty meals NCMi guests enjoy, so now you know who to thank when Kansas City’s famous barbeque is on the menu!

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Carolyn: The people I work with and interacting with the students.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Carolyn: That what we do is more than just a job.

NCM: Anything else?

Carolyn: Go NCMi!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/06/behind-the-scenes-ncmi/

NCM Associates

#askNCM: Why should I market a vehicle before reconditioning?

Marketing and detailing vehicles for resale are primary processes for any successful used vehicle department. But how should you time these activities?

The answer comes down to marketing. If you wait out the reconditioning cycle time, Robin Cunningham warns, you’ll slow down the sales process … and reduce your profits!

How do you time your reconditioning and marketing activities? Tell us below! Want to #AskNCM a question? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer it!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/04/askncm-why-should-i-market-a-vehicle-before-reconditioning/

NCM Institute

#AskNCM: My service advisors can’t meet at the same time. How can I train them?

This question comes up during every service management class at the NCM® Institute: How can I train my service advisors when we can’t all meet as a group? It’s a challenge that every service department faces, whether you’re a big shop or small.

NCM expert, Steve Hall, gives you his take on the problem and offers his “coaching from the sidelines” technique as a solution.

Have you tried Steve’s technique in your service department? How did it go? Want to #AskNCM a question? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer it!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/askncm-my-service-advisors-cantmeet-at-the-same-time-how-can-i-train-them/

NCM Institute

Behind-the-scenes: GMEP Graduates Celebrate their Achievement

NCM recently celebrated with our newest group of General Management Executive Program (GMEP) graduates. Catch a glimpse of all the fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/02/behind-the-scenes-gmep-graduates-celebrate-their-achievement/

NCM Institute

Profiles in Leadership: Building the Ledezma Legacy

We recently caught up with Amanda Ledezma, General Manager at Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet in Kansas City, Mo. The second generation to work with NCM Associates, we asked her to talk about creating a family legacy in the automotive industry and what it takes to be a leader.

How has NCM helped your family build a legacy? Tell us below. 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/01/profiles-in-leadership-building-the-ledezma-legacy/

Steve Hall

Three Hours Lost: Your Top 10 Service Time Wasters

Clock

When we ask service managers how important technician efficiency is to profitability, they most often say that “it goes hand-in-hand” or “if they aren’t efficient, you won’t make money.” While I agree with this, let’s look at it another way: time.

Here are the top 10 time wasters I’ve seen in service departments.

  1. Talking (non-productive talk)
  2. Waiting for the first job of the day
  3. Getting authorizations from customers
  4. Waiting on advisors
  5. Waiting in line in Parts
  6. Looking for or waiting on special tools
  7. Walking to Parts and back
  8. Phone calls, texts, e-mails and using tablets or laptops
  9. Smoking
  10. Arriving late or leaving early

How many hours lost?

I ask managers to make this list during each of my training sessions at the NCM Institute, and then I have them to assign time lost by activity. Sure, there are minor variations each class. But what doesn’t change is that we routinely come up with 2½ to 3 hours spent each day, not working on vehicles!

I know it is unreasonable to think that every minute can be spent on productive work, but how many of these lost minutes can we pick up?

Getting time—and money—back.

Let’s look at an example: We will figure an average shop of 12 technicians and gain just 15 minutes a day in actual production. We will use an $85.00 an hour effective labor rate and a gross profit percentage of 75%.

The numbers would look like this:

12 technicians x 15 minutes a day = 180 minutes of production gained a day (3 hours a day gained)

3 hours gained x $85.00 ELR = $255.00 in labor sales gained per day

$255.00 x 75% gross profit (labor) = $191.25 labor gross gained per day

$191.25 x 300 business days per year = $57,375 additional labor gross profit per year!

Add in corresponding parts gross generated from the labor sales, and you could earn more than $95,000 in additional fixed gross profit per year (and that is figured at 100% efficient). If they are 125%, the numbers are even larger! All of this from just gaining 15 productive minutes per day from each of your technicians.

Take the time to evaluate all of your technicians’ daily time wasters. Find ways to reduce the wasted time. Ask them for ideas and creative solutions. (And, once they know you are paying attention, some of the time wasters may just disappear.)

Go ahead, do the math your own numbers and find your potential: you’ll be amazed!

service_parts_senior

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/08/what-are-15-minutes-a-day-worth-in-your-service-department/

Robin Cunningham

Are Win-Win-Wins Possible in the Dealership World?

thumbs up

Is it just me, or does it seem like so much of what we take for granted in life is a zero-sum game? Meaning, if and when we or somebody wins… somebody else has to lose.

Football season has just started and baseball season is winding down; and it’s all about who is winning and losing. We take that for granted and quite honestly, don’t think much about it.

Even in our world of the retail automotive industry, there is a lot of zero-sum game thinking at work. We see the competition of Ford F-150s outselling Chevrolet Silverado; Camry outselling Accord; BMW, Lexus and Mercedes battling it out for the Luxury crown every year. In our local markets, dealers battle each other for the right to call themselves the number one selling dealer in town or the number one CSI dealer in town, of every brand. These are pretty innocent competitions really, but a lot of dollars are spent each year by the manufacturers (and some dealers) to make sure someone knows who the winners and losers are.

For the last three years I have worked as a lead instructor at the NCM Institute. I spend all my time with dealership managers, showing them how they and their associates can WIN in their department or, in the case of general managers, the total dealership. It became apparent to me some time back that the way we approach everything here is: NOT a zero-sum game! In fact, we believe there can be a win-win-win for all of our efforts.

  • A win for the customer
  • A win for the dealership
  • A win for our associates

As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live, “Well, isn’t that special?”

Church Lady - Dana Carvey

Yes it is! Let me give you a couple of examples.

USED VEHICLE DEPARTMENT

Around 90% of all customers do all their pre-shopping of used vehicles on the internet. When we price our vehicles at “market-based” prices, we show all of our cards up front on both our website and any third-party sites that we use, including:

  • Pricing
  • Pictures
  • Vehicle descriptions,
  • “Why buy from us” marketing messages

When customers send e-leads, call us or walk in the door, they can interact with dealership personnel who have been trained on value-selling. That includes our salespeople being trained to anticipate that the customer has been on the internet, to acknowledge that, and reinforce that by using Value Folders that include:

  • Car Fax, service records
  • Reconditioning reports
  • Data confirming how competitive our pricing is

Week in and week out, the dealership managers we work with are confirming that they are discounting up to $700 average off of internet pricing…without the customer really even asking for it! When we price and sell our vehicles at or near the average price to market, especially within the first 30 days in stock, we get to turn our inventory dollars up to 12 times per year. Our salespeople get a commission from the highest average gross the car will ever have, and our customers are value-sold cars that they found themselves on the internet at a price they feel good about because we showed them all the supporting documentation to support their decision. Win, win, win!

SERVICE DEPARTMENT

Most service advisors are working with too many customers per day and taking inbound phone calls.  This pretty much guarantees that they do not have time to build the crucial relationship with each customer, which is their number one priority. Because they are too busy, there is rarely a walk around with the customer on each car; rarely is a menu or any recommended maintenance discussed; rarely is a multi-point inspection performed – and if it is, it rarely produces many additional service requests because our relationship with the customer isn’t that great.

When we slow down the service drive process and mandate that each service advisor perform a walk around with the customer, a trusting relationship begins to be established. If an appointment coordinator or BDC is taking inbound service calls, they can establish if the customer’s car needs anything based on time, mileage or history – over and above what they originally contacted us for. We can inform our advisors of this information and hold them accountable for communicating this to each customer. When we perform multi-point inspections and communicate any findings back to our clients, they will take that information more seriously due to the trusting relationship begun by our advisor. Our advisor will set the customer’s next service appointment based on time, mileage and history. The customer now has a reason to become a “retained” customer, the dealership gains the ongoing business from those customers – and the advisor not only generates more dollars and hours  per visit, but helps ensure that the customer wants to come back over the lifecycle of their vehicle.  Win, win, win!

See? It is possible. One of the pleasures of my work is showing our clients exactly how win-win-wins can be achieved. If you would like more examples or are ready to learn more, feel free to contact me or any of our associates.

internet

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/09/are-win-win-wins-possible-in-the-dealership-world/

Robin Cunningham

How Profitable is Incremental Growth?

Composite Review

I think it is safe to say that every business operator is planning, forecasting, or at least hoping to increase their sales and profits in whatever business he or she is involved in.

In the retail automobile business, that growth can come in many forms, such as:

  • Selling more new or used vehicles
  • Increasing the gross profits of the vehicles you already sell
  • Increasing finance & insurance income per vehicle retail
  • Reducing the aging of your used vehicle inventory
  • Reducing your reconditioning cycle time in order to get the vehicle front-line ready sooner
  • Increasing the repair order count in the service department
  • Increasing the gross profit margin in the service department
  • Increasing the number of parts on the shelf that the service department needs each day

There are many more forms growth can take, of course, but these are pretty representative of the opportunities available to most dealerships we work with.

The reason I say that incremental growth, resulting from actions like those mentioned above are far more profitable than one might think, is because, for the most part, the personnel, semi-fixed, and fixed expenses are going to be nearly the same in our operating departments, whether or not we drive increased sales and gross.

If we can keep the selling expenses in the range of 30-35% of total all-in gross, when we incrementally add more gross, we can retain 65-70% of that increased income as net profit on the bottom line. If a dealership is doing really well, its total expenses will typically run 70% of gross profit, leaving a net profit metric of 30% net-to-gross. So growing our business, while being able to maintain our expenses at best practice levels, can drive more than double the incremental net-to-gross metric than would typically be the case.

There are several places we see this demonstrated during our NCM Institute classes. Our students are encouraged to develop and document at least two Guarantee of Action Plans (GOAs) each evening after class and then present them to the class the following morning. These GOAs describe and quantify their ideas. The GOA could be something like selling 10 more used vehicles per month by pricing them more competitively to the market. The quantification might look like this: 10 incremental used vehicles at $2,976 all-in gross, which would be $29,760 additional gross per month, or $357,120 annually.

The primary selling expenses (commissions to salespeople, F&I producers, and sales managers, advertising, floor plan interest, policy and delivery expense) will be maintained at no more than 35%, and assuming that no additional incremental expense is required, the department would retain 65% of the $357,120 or $232,128 in additional net profit. The equation I used looks like this: (10 x $2,976 x 12 x 65%)  If these 10 extra vehicles were not sold, the same 65% in expenses would still be incurred; but not any extra gross profit nor subsequent net profit.

When working with variable department managers, another action we suggest our students begin focusing on every day is to reduce the price-to-sale gap. That is the difference between the advertised Internet price of a specific vehicle and the actual retail transaction price at the time of sale. In the beginning, this can be a huge number, so we suggest starting at a target reduction of $200 per car.  As an example, for a dealership retailing 80 used cars per month, reducing its average price-to-sale gap by $200 per vehicle, and keeping its variable selling expenses at no more than 35%, would increase its net profit by $124,800. The equation I used looks like this:  (80 x $200 x 12 x 65%).

By the way, we work with a lot of variable managers, and, before we begin teaching them this best practice, they tell us that they believe their true average price-sale-gap is currently at least $700 per vehicle retailed… off Internet pricing! (Don’t get me started!) So the $200 per vehicle target reduction that we’re suggesting is extremely conservative.

As I said at the beginning, there are numerous opportunities for increasing sales, gross and reducing expenses in our dealerships these days. I hope my brief message validates for you the powerful effect that incremental growth, combined with a controlled expense structure, will have on your bottom line!

financial-analysis

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/07/how-profitable-is-incremental-growth/

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