Imagine if repairers suddenly were asked to return to school to take an advanced calculus class. Those with a particular penchant for math would thrive. Most would struggle and need to return first to algebra and trigonometry before taking on the far more sophisticated concepts and functions associated with calculus.
What does this have to do with collision repair? It goes back to understanding foundational principles.
Consultant Riley Fondriest uses this metaphor to describe how shop owners are challenged with utilizing complex business metrics. “With so much already on their plates, shops can struggle to be on top of the latest business practices guiding the industry,” says Fondriest. “What you end up with is the industry where people running shops know the terminology but simply don’t process it in a way that contributes significantly to their businesses.”
|(Photo courtesy of CCC) Seek expert help when managing your KPIs. Most paint vendors provide coursework and onsite training.|
“This is especially true with understanding and using KPIs,” he adds. “[For many shops] it’s like going through the motions to solve an algebraic equation while having little concept of why the solution is important and how it can be applied in the real world.”
This is where a return to basics approach is necessary. In place of simply treading the rough seas of information overload, shops struggling with transforming KPI data into business could benefit by taking a few steps back to rebuild their knowledge of their business numbers while taking in some training on how to use this knowledge effectively in the short and long term.
Whether your shop could falls into this category or you could simply use a refresher on building business with KPIs, refer to the following four rules to help move your operation to the head of the class.
Rule 1: Always get help. There’s a wide chasm between knowing what your KPIs are and understanding both which KPIs to focus on first (which can be different for each shop) and how to improve them. A wide range of books, articles and other resources can help you identify KPIs and determine what your numbers are. What matters even more is figuring out how to use them to transform your operation—which is the key here since utilizing KPIs is a transformative process. To do this right, most (probably all) shops need expert help.
“This is difficult work. If remaking your business with your KPIs was easy, everyone already would have done it,” says Fondriest.
Shops fortunately have access to all kinds of help. For many, the first stop is with a paint vendor. Every paint manufacturer offers help (much of it on-site) to assist shops with determining and using KPIs. Contacting your local shop association also can turn up help, as does speaking with your colleagues.
“One of the best things you can do is have discussions with another shop who made this journey,” says Fondriest. “Bring them into your shop to talk with your employees. It really brings to life what using your KPIs can do for you, and it’s an important part of setting expectations.”