A client emailed me that he had started using a tool to automate sending emails of commissions to the managers and sales people. He claimed, “This is an awesome tool!! It removes the tedious task of distributing commission calculations and ensures distribution is 100% accurate. I estimate it takes one and half minutes to email a commission calculation to an individual salesperson/manager. This equates to 47 salespersons X 4 times per month = 188. 25 Managers X 1 time per month = 25. Total commissions sent per month = 213 Time saved = 213 X 1.5 = 319 minutes which means 5 hours saved per month.”
I thought back to when I started in the car business and each office person worked a “desk.” When we got done with our daily work, we could read a book. Our managers encouraged that because they could look over the dozen of desks and easily find someone who wasn’t busy. This was long before the level of technology that we have today. Back then, you couldn’t send anyone home early or lay off office staff because they needed to be there to enable selling and servicing of cars. For example, I was the person who typed the GMAC contract (yes, by hand) and someone always had to occupy my desk. When I left for the day, the night F&I clerk came in to wait for a contract to type. But today, we have smaller office staffs because many of our tasks have been replaced by technology. We certainly cannot lay off a full office person because we saved 5 hours of month with new technology, but is there a way to turn those extra 5 hours into profit? Here are five ways to turn productivity into profit.
Eliminate overtime. Your DMS should have an overtime watch report that shows you who worked overtime this week. Find out how that happened and can the clerk with the extra five hours do some of the tasks of that person? In fact, is the person who currently distributes the sales commission forms working overtime? That might mean an immediate ROI – Return on your investment of technology.
BDC or Internet Training. If your clerk with the extra 5 hours is willing, you might have that person spend some time in your BDC learning how to make phone calls. The BDC department can always use some help calling customers and a fresh face would be welcomed.
Change from Desks to Tasks. The days of having all those designated desks are over. Instead, each clerk should be doing tasks that are related to their skill level instead of related to a “desk” like new car biller. Why should a highly skilled new car biller be making copy of invoices or filing? A task-based office can easily assign 5 hours of time to the clerk that has received the new technology.
Provide better Customer Service. There are always two places where we can do a better job; answering the phones and cashiering. Make both of these places a “dual” workstation and when an office clerk has extra time, have them “man” the extra station to get the phones answered quicker or customers service experience go faster.
Internal Audit. Did you know that 1/3 of the population are thieves? Another 1/3 will steal if the opportunity exists and if they feel justified. Let’s hope that you don’t have many of them working in your dealership, but often the mere appearance of things getting audited regularly can help you avoid finding out months or years after a thief has enjoyed your cash friendly business. By developing an internal audit process, any extra time that your office clerk has can be devoted to simple tests of your systems. For example, does your used car inventory amount reconcile to your sales and CRM inventory? Are you doing a spot check of on hand quantities in the parts department? Are your technicians being paid the exact “cost” amount on repair orders?
Not every office clerk can fit into all of these profit suggestions, but one of them should absorbed those extra five hours. Before you consider any technology that makes your staff more productive, make sure you have a way to turn that productivity into profit and have completed a ROI – Return on Investment for your new technology.
Author: Sandi Jerome
Sandi Jerome is the owner of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. Sandi founded DealerStar, a web-based DMS. She is a former CFO, System Administrator, Fixed Operations Manager, and Controller with over 30 years experience in the auto industry.