Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hope OR Change...We Have to Make a Decision!

Last month, I talked about January 2012 being "A New Beginning" for Parts Managers, or what I referred to as "Net Zero" Time. This month, I want to talk about "Hope OR Change"...that's right!...Hope OR Change! I know that we are in an election year here in the United States and I'm not here to particularly endorse any candidate or party, but as I thought about it...Hope AND Change just don't go together.

Let me explain further, I was thinking last month about the new beginning and how much January really impacts the whole year ahead. As Parts Managers, we attain valuable new information on trends such as gross and true turns, first time off shelf fill rates, parts sales activity and so on.

There is no month like January to make changes or modifications to major parts inventory Set Ups & Controls. These changes we made in January will be noticeable on February 1, 2012 in our Inventory Management System (I.M.S.) Parts Monthly Analysis Report and our Sales, Gross and Net numbers realized when the first Financial is released somewhere around the 10th of February.

Here's where "Hope OR Change" comes into play. If the changes or modifications we made in January do not meet our expectations then what do we do? Do we "Hope" that these numbers will get better next month? Do we "Hope" that the changes and modifications that we made last month will be different?

Or, do we review the information, learn from what these changes or modifications made in January and "Change" the parameters with some more "tweaking" in the right direction. That's what it's all about!'s not just the physical act of running reports and reviewing them, it's what we DO with the information and move ahead to making more "Changes".

Having a successful plan in 2012 must involve three key ingredients which are; Evaluation, Planning and Execution. I've seen many successful Dealer Managers in all departments take the first two (Evaluation, Planning) very seriously, but they don't carry it through to the Execution part which is the most important. It's the most important because it requires the "Expected Results" our Dealers and GM's are looking for.

The Execution part also requires constant "Change" moving forward, not just the"Hope" that things will happen to achieve the desired result. Many of you have may have heard the the phrase: "There are only three types of people: "Those who "WATCH" what happens, Those who "WONDER" what happened and finally, Those who MAKE things happen"! I'm not sure who the author of this phrase is, but it's so true and everyone of us should ask ourselves which one of these three best fits who we are as managers.

The most successfully run Parts Departments are managed by people with these basic core principles. Making adjustments in our Set Ups & Controls is on going and never ending. I'm not talking about simple adjustments on inventory amounts or bin locations which occur on a daily basis. I'm referring to changes and modifications to Phase-In/Phase-Out Criteria, Days Supply, Pricing Escalations and Source Ranking, just to name a few.

 Although, I would recommend that any changes or modifications be done to one part or one source at a time in order to see if the results meet the expectation. Changes or modifications to a single part number, source or pricing base will reveal immediate results to review and most importantly, if the results don't meet expectation, it's much easier to go back to correct or make new modifications.

This is why "Hope AND Change" don't go together in my opinion. Of course, we can "Hope" the changes and modifications we made in January will lead us to the expected results at the end of month, but there again, we should know what the results will be as we monitor these changes throughout the month. If we don't see the expected results, we have to make a "Change" or modification.

Not only is this true about the changes and modifications we make as Parts Managers to our Set Ups & Controls, it is also true in how we manage all the aspects of our roles as department managers. Areas including personnel management, expense management and forecasting future growth, they should all follow this same philosophy; Evaluate, Plan & Execute.

If we all know that "Change" is inevitable, let's embrace it and expect it. Let it be part of "what we do" as managers to achieve our goals that lead to "desired results". Let's not just "Hope, Wonder & Watch" what happens, let's "Make" things happen by doing something with the information provided in our reporting systems.

Lastly, February is here...did the "Changes" or modifications lead to desired results? What did you do with information provided in in your January Parts Monthly Analysis Report? What worked and what didn't? These are just a few questions to ask yourself, then after this Evaluation?...Make your Plan and then, Execute your plan.

Don't put "Hope and Change" together...make a decision because "Change" will always lead you forward to desired results and if the proper changes are made, desired results will be achieved and expected, not just  "Hoped" for.

Dave Piecuch is the Vice President of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. and is the Head Coach for Smart PartsTM.  Dave can be reached at Cell 786-521-1720 or E-mail at Vist our Website at