Increase Productivity By Setting Goals for Your Dealership
You can’t measure dealership success – or progress toward success – if you don’t have benchmarks. You need well-defined goals, known current status, and a clear plan for getting from here to there. You may sell trucks, or construction equipment, or perhaps both, but it’s your people who determine whether you reach your goals. Goal-setting helps you increase productivity as well as performance quality.
In a perfect world (the one where we don’t live), you could find industry standards that show aggregated productivity data for truck or construction equipment dealerships across the country. Even better you’d be able to uncover individual dealer productivity data, to compare your operation to specific competitors as well as industry averages.
While you can find general sales-related data and other statistics about your industry or your sector within the industry from trade associations and even the government. Unfortunately, there just isn’t as much information available as you might like. So think closer to home. Benchmarking is subjective anyway, because your dealership has unique goals and resources.
So make it all about you
If you do everything you can to increase productivity internally, you will be doing everything you can to surpass your competitors as well. You can measure and compare individual productivity, teams (work crews, departments, etc.), and overall dealership performance.
Ongoing measurement benefits your dealership in several ways:
- You can focus on boosting performance in your most business-critical areas.
- You can note and celebrate incremental achievements. Marking progress boosts morale and keeps everyone engaged in working toward the longer-term goal.
- You can use increase productivity (and motivation) by instigating a little friendly competition based on benchmarks.
- You can tweak your benchmarking objectives to match changing internal or external conditions, ensuring your benchmarks remain relevant and achievable.
It’s not so much the what, as the why. Measuring productivity shows where you need to improve – the real point of benchmarking. In order to improve, you need to uncover the reasons behind the gap. That tells you what you need to do to boost your efforts in that area.
But you can’t know what to improve without a clear understanding of your current status. Decide how you want to measure productivity and note where you stand with each of those key performance indicators. These are your starting points.
Benchmarking best practices
This process won’t work for you if you approach it haphazardly. The more systematic you are, and the more tangible your goals and objectives, the more effective your results will be. Following these steps will help you establish a tailored system that works well for your dealership:
- Create an improvement plan that identifies what you want to improve – and why. Prioritize, because you can’t improve everything at once. Each goal must be SMART (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed with a deadline). Productivity goals should directly align with overall business goals, and any incentives you offer should directly relate to your benchmarks.
- Create an action plan to implement each goal. How will you change processes or alter personal behaviors?
- Determine what tools or other support will be required. And don’t forget that communicating your plan and providing related training are critical to success. It takes both management support and willing employee participation to increase productivity.
- Determine how you will gather the data necessary to measure progress. Technology is your friend here. Integrated software applications make data collection and reporting faster, easier, and more accurate. And, after all, increasing productivity includes streamlining the time and effort required to execute your benchmarking process.
- Review progress frequently.
Learn from others
Some industries are far ahead of others when it comes to implementing processes and technologies that facilitate benchmarking and/or increase productivity and operational efficiency. So look at trends and best practices outside your own category. You can learn from, and adopt, some of those practices to improve goal-setting and benchmarking for your dealership.