The roll-out of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) University courses is continuing apace with several dealerships signing up to take advantage of the specially-designed programs
Following the delivery of the first Service Department Operations Management Course held in March in Tasmania, focus switched to Brisbane and delivery of the second Service Department Operations Management course, this time held at the Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTAQ) offices at The Sir Jack Brabham Automotive Centre of Excellence.
The course, designed to show how dealerships can maximise customer retention, maximise profits and secure business back from independents, was delivered to staff from Oldmac Mazda Group, based in Queensland’s capital.
The intimate group of participants were as enthusiastic about the course and its detailed look at the workings of the service department – including analysis of financial statements, sales, expense, forecasting and pay plans – as their Tasmanian colleagues.
‘I really gained a lot from the course,’ said Ray Stewart, a 32-year veteran of the industry who has been a Service Manager with Oldmac Mazda for 14 years:
‘I’ve come back with at least half-a-dozen ideas about what I would like to change. For example, the benefits of upselling – of adding just 0.1 of an hour to an RO. It seems like a minor item but when you sit down and do the numbers, at the end of the year it is a lot of money!
And the course covered more than I expected – it’s one of the few courses I have done, and over the years I have done many, where I will go back through the workbook and keep going over it again and again – it’s really relevant.’
For Ray’s Service Manager colleague at Oldmac, Andrew Kempers, the course was just as positive.
‘It really opens your eyes to different ways to look at your business and get down to the nuts and bolts of everything,’ said Andrew. ‘With the training being over three days it allowed us to take the time to really stop and look at the business… that in itself is invaluable.
And a lot of the things we looked at – such as workshop capacity, staffing capacity, service advisor capacity – we now have the skills to look at in a different light. In fact, on each of the three days there was something new that I took away that I think will help us to improve our business.’
The third member of the group was Jennish Guandar, Financial Controller for Oldmac Mazda. Having Jennish participate in the course was something all three found very useful. ‘It was very interesting,’ she said.
‘There were a number of things I learned that showed a different way of looking at the figures. And to get the Service Managers’ point of view, as well as help them to understand their numbers . . . that was really good.’
Jennish went on to add that ‘it was very useful to use our own figures. Using them meant you could see what your actual results were and [we] could then compare and discuss why you might have a good or bad result. The opportunity was there to discuss it and really understand what the numbers mean.’
According to Andrew, the trio were keen to immediately take what they had learned back to their business.
‘We were talking in the car park as we left and have already planned a meeting to run future figures through what we have learned,’ he said. ‘Now we have this extra information, this extra knowledge, we’ll use it!’
The Service Department Operations Management course was specially tailored by industry experts from the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA), the NADA, and the course provider in Australia, the MTA Institute of Technology, and was delivered by NADA-accredited consultant Kim Haywood.
‘The course went really well,’ said Kim. ‘As a small group, it was a very conversational environment and from day one to day three something seemed to grab them – what we might call “light bulb” moments. For instance, we saw how small changes, as with adding to an RO, could make a big difference to the bottom line.
Most businesses do things very well, but the course allows them to focus and see things that can lift them up a notch – [it] shows how you can make incremental changes that can make a big difference to the business.’
The Service Department Operations Management course and the Sales Operation Management I and Sales Operation Management II courses are now available through the AADA.