I often am asked for a to-do list for general managers. For our purpose here, let's assume the general manager is also the operator of a dealership. This is not an all-inclusive list, but an outline that will help you organize and bring some structure to your month.
MEETINGS Departmental Financial Statement Analysis Monthly, the day after the financial statement is finalized and published, meet all departmental managers and the comptroller should to review the previous month's results.
Discuss methods to improve individual departmental results. This meeting is not only to help educate the department managers relative to their individual department, but to help them understand the other departments' strengths and opportunities. This interaction will go a long way toward achieving a team philosophy.
General Sales Meeting On the second workday of the month, conduct a general sales meeting during which the previous month's sales and gross results, CSI and market share are discussed.
You might want to recognize the top volume sales personnel and also the personnel generating the most gross. This is also a good time to reinforce the dealership's monthly sales volume and gross forecast and discuss the individual sales personnel requirements.
General Service Meeting Just as you held the general sales meeting noted above, you should also hold a service department meeting during which you recognize the production of the top technician and the top service advisor. Discuss the month's shop productivity and efficiency compared to the year-to-date average and the dealership goal.
Expense Meeting One day prior to this meeting, each department manager should be given a detailed expense report by account outlining the total departmental expense as well as a departmental expense trend report. During the meeting itself, any account showing or indicating an increase as a percentage of the departmental gross should be thoroughly analyzed and methods of reducing discussed.
Individual Departmental Meetings It is important to hold individual department manager meetings where inventories (aging, days supply and turn), departmental production, personnel productivity and results versus forecast are discussed. At this time, it is also prudent to compare the departmental performance to manufacturer guidelines, NCM Benchmarks, etc.
OTHER MEETINGS Payables Many general managers have department managers present when they are signing payable checks. This meeting serves a dual purpose; it not only creates awareness, but also facilitates discussion relative to the need for the payable and methods of reducing the expense.
Banks and Finance Institutions At least once a month, meet with someone from the banks and finance institutions to review the dealerships finance portfolio performance, the performance of the source relative to deals offered. Discuss any concerns. All finance source personnel should be given a tour of the used vehicle inventory. At the same time point out the dealership's reconditioning policy.
Manufacturer's Sales and Service Personnel:
Discuss and review the dealership's market share performance versus assignment, sales history and CSI. Allocations should be held as well as the dealership's warranty expense compared to group.
OTHER DUTIES Obviously with all of the internal meetings noted, a strict adherence to these minimum duties is easy to overlook, but a discipline to perform the following items daily, or at least every other day is mandatory:
* Open the mail.
* Check contracts-in-transit.
* Review heat sheet of delivered but not funded deals.
* Review previous days new and used vehicle sales results .
* Review the daily operating control and compare departmental performance to forecast.
* Monitor the status of all delivered vehicle deals for the month that have not been processed.
* Review individual sales personnel's previous day and month to date production.
* Review technician's previous day and month to date production.
* Walk the new and used vehicle inventory.
* Review wholesale used vehicle results.
* Review new and used vehicle aging.
* Visit with the comptroller to discuss the bank balance, cash management, the month's status, personnel require-ments and concerns, etc.
On a weekly basis, review the parts management report, the new and used vehicle aging, days supply, inventory turn and inventory needs.
Hopefully, these to-do items will assist you in becoming more organized, effective and efficient in your role as general manager.
Tony Noland is director of international operations for NCM Associates. He has 30 years of automotive retail experience.