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Tag Archive: Steve Hall

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: How can I get more out of my paint booth?

A student recently asked this question during our Collision Center Management class: How can I get more efficiency out of my paint booth?

Great question! Steve Hall explains, “You can never produce more vehicles out of a collision department than you can get through your paint booth system.” Steve explains his simple solution to increase paint booth cycle time and the number of vehicles you can get through collision in the video. The best part? No capital improvements needed!

Have another question for Steve or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below!

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Help! I Can’t Meet My Net-to-Gross Goals!

Many managers out there struggle with this issue, says NCM expert Steve Hall. You reach profitability but then encounter problems getting to this more refined metric!

Don’t give up! Steve outlines the conversation you need to have with your boss and the steps you should take to meet this goal.

Have another question for Steve or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below!

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Is Your Service Department Thriving or Just Surviving?

It’s easy to fall into survival mode at work. You come in, turn on the lights and just struggle through the day. But if you want to run an effective department, you have to do more than just make it through your must-dos.

NCM expert, Steve Hall, gives you the “survival” warning signs and outlines a plan to go from reacting to events to creating and following a solid game plan for success.

Have another for Steve or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below!

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: What Are the KPIs I Need for a Good Collision Center?

If your dealership is investing in a collision center, you need to the right numbers to accurately gauge its success. In this #AskNCM video, expert Steve Hall shares what your labor gross profit margin, production per total employee and other metrics should be to create a high-performing department.

Get more tips to improve your collision center’s profits. 

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: How can I grow my collision division when DRPs are locked up?

DRPs—Direct Repair Programs—can be a massive component of a collision center business. But, reminds NCM expert, Steve Hall, DRPs aren’t the only thing that can drive business! If you have customers, you have ample opportunity to grow this service.

Get Steve’s solutions to bring more collision work to your shop.

Improve your collision center’s profits with our upcoming class, Principles of Collision Center Management.

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Will more wholesale increase net profit in Parts?

Will addressing wholesale issues increase net profit in Parts? Yes, says NCM expert Steve Hall, but there’s an important step you must do first.What more insights from Steve Hall and other NCM experts? Join them for our intensive Mastery level classes in Service Management, Used Vehicle Management and General Sale Management. Have another question for #AskNCM – comment below!

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NCM Associates

Video: How to Repair Your Collision Center

Collision is a tough business—and it’s extremely difficult to make a profit.

Don’t despair, though: NCM expert, Steve Hall, has the solutions for your collision problem. Check it out:

Ready to work on your collision business? Discover Steve’s answers to you collision center problems! 

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Steve Hall

Successful Failing: Why Embracing Failure Leads to Greater Achievement

businessman with laptop

Our culture is built on success. Ironically, we can only achieve the highest levels of success by failing along the way.

Failure is the basis of knowledge.  Imagine you’re back in elementary school. Your teacher has just placed two apples on each end of her desk and asked, “If I added these two apples to the other two apples … ”—she physically moves them together— “… how many apples would you have?” She waits, then says, “Okay, class, now count them. One. Two. Three. Four.”

This is how most of us learned in school: repetition and visual learning. Kids will chant along, correcting their answer when they realize it’s wrong. Failure in these very early stages is important; it teaches persistence and focuses on the importance of learning over knowing. And, in time, we all eventually did learn that two plus two equals four!

The Success-Only Cycle vs. the Failure-Achievement Cycle

Sadly, over time, we abandon the elementary school approach and focus more on knowing than learning. Failure changes from a useful tool to punishment. By the time we enter the workplace, most of us have fully accepted that failure represents the result of an action, and we view it as nearly insurmountable.

Honestly, how useful is that philosophy? This Success-Only philosophy allows for only one option: You succeed, or you fail. This approach rewards knowing and only works if you already know how to do something. If you don’t know how to do the task already, well, you’re in trouble:

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The Failure-Achievement Cycle, however, focuses on failing fast—and then learning from your mistakes. No one is expected to perform flawlessly. Instead, failure is viewed as a feedback mechanism that allows you to improve your plan and try again to yield better results. Failure isn’t considered the opposite of success; instead, this approach views failure as a critical component of it:

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Successful Failing

Failing when trying something new or working towards solving a problem is admirable. This type of failure should be rewarded, provided that two key components were included in the effort:

  1. First, did you plan the activity, initiative or process to the best of your ability for the information that you had been provided at the time? Failure due to “just winging it” is not productive failure. Plan for success, work your plan and adjust as needed.
  2. Secondly, did you learn from your failure? Successful failure requires you to analyze what happened and to create a game plan for other possible solutions moving forward.

Failure can’t be a show stopper

Mistakes aren’t the end of the line. They merely delay achievement. When you fail successfully, you must make sure that the delay is as short as possible.

As a progressive manager, who is always trying to grow your department, you should actively demonstrate to your employees that failure is welcomed. Give this a try. Hold a “learning from our failures meeting.” During the session, share some of the errors you’ve made in your career and how it helped you solve a problem. Encourage your staff to do the same, requiring them to explain what they learned from the experience and how it helped them become better in their positions going forward.

Not only will your less experienced employees gain valuable knowledge from the more experienced ones, but it will reinforce to your staff that successful failure is an important part of your process.  Done in the right way, it creates a great learning experience. Keep everyone focused on how the person improved from the experience and how to avoid the same mistake themselves. (It can also be a fun team experience, especially when you discover how entertaining others’ past mistakes can be! Be sure to share some funny examples of your own!)

Failure is painful and, of course, we’d all rather avoid it. But when we apply successful failing, we learn how to bounce back quickly from failure and achieve even more in the long run.

What’s your failure philosophy? Do you embrace a Success-Only approach or have you already discovered the benefits of a Failure-Success cycle? Tell us below. 


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Steve Hall

Curing the Fixed Ops Hangover

Monday morning again

What a party it was! We showed up, had a great time, talked excessively, drank a bit too much, stayed out far too late and were glad that we did it.

Glad, that is, until the next morning when we woke up and had to face reality. Now, our head hurts, our body aches and we don’t want to go to work! The only reason that we actually get out of bed and go to the office is that we are afraid of the consequences if we don’t. We resign ourselves to the mantra, “Just make it through the day.”

Hangovers aren’t just post-party events—they happen in Fixed Ops, too.

The idea of “Just making it through the day,” can occur in any aspect of our lives. You’ll often see this attitude pop up in Fixed Ops departments after month end.

Just think about it. At the beginning of the month, does your service department get off to a sluggish start? I’ve typically found that work in process is low. The team is feeling the “hangover” effect of closing repair orders while looking for those last dollars to finish the month. Many dealerships have a light appointment schedule around this time, too, as they pushed customers into those final days.

Reacting to this environment, employees just want to take a day or two to catch their breath. As a manager, you can just feel the entire department is coasting. It’s as if they too, have also adopted the mantra, “Just make it through the day.”

What causes the Fixed Ops Hangover?

If you were to review the typical advisor’s monthly sales on a weekly basis, you would find that the sales aren’t spread out evenly. Rather, the advisor sales distribution curve usually looks like this in a four-week month: 15% the first week, 25% the second week, 25% the third week and 35% the last week of the month.

It’s a cycle that feeds on itself. And whether this uneven workload is caused by the month-end hangover effect or a combination of it along with the advisors not closing tickets until the end of the month, it is a major problem.

Stopping the Fixed Ops Hangover

So, how can a manager stop this monthly hangover? I recommend motivating your service advisors with a “fast start” spiff. This could be a monetary bonus or another reward to any advisor who hits a pre-set objective for the first seven calendar days of the month. The idea is to keep your department rocking from the very first day of the month, rather than losing the first couple of days while everyone relaxes after the close.

The spiff can be set at different levels for various types of advisors; you can set different goals for the main shop and express, rookies and veterans, as long as they must work to achieve it.

No matter what goals you set, make sure they are challenging enough that the “just make it through the day” attitude cannot pay off. This spiff can not only be used for advisors but can be incorporated with your technicians’ compensation, also. Be creative, and get out of the starting blocks strong—right from the very first day of the month!

Do your service advisors and staff suffer from the “Fixed Ops Hangover?” Learn how to break the boring cycle and other useful service tips at our Service Management Roadshow

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NCM Associates

#AskNCM: What are the benefits of express service?

Is express service worth it? Fixed ops expert Steve Hall sums it up in one word: Yes.

If you aren’t giving customers a reason to come back, you’re just handing them over to the aftermarket places. Not only does express improve retention, Steve explains, but it can give your shop other valuable benefits.

Find out why Steve Hall says you need an express service:

Do you offer express service? Tell us below how it has impacted your customer retention! Want to #AskNCM a question? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer it!

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