Performance has long since been a measure of success in this Industry. That hasn’t changed. What has changed are the Key Performance Indicators and how they are measured. There’s no mistake about it—the industry is seeing a shift—a move toward a measured performance marketplace. Achieving sustainable improvement is entirely possible; in fact it can be relatively simple. It will however, require some extra planning to determine quantifiable easures on your part as a business owner. To be effective, establishing ways to measure performance in all areas is key, whether it is cycle time, labour efficiency or increased sales volume.
For purposes of this discussion we’ll look at three ways to improve performance
1) Standard operating procedure: It's time to take a hard look at what is happening on the shop floor, This doesn’t just mean focusing on the people but also looking at the process. Cycle time is a good place to start - the time required to complete a repair.
Loose work schedules, the "just get it done" deadline structures and the good old "it's done when it's done" are just not good enough any more. The main reason they don't work is because they're not addressing the systemic gaps in performance. To start, understand your current repair cycle time, how it’s defined from all angles and how to best measure improvements to achieve optimal results.
When someone or something causes a lag and the shop falls behind on a job, you want to know why so it doesn’t happen again. Was it an equipment problem, an employee problem, or an organizational problem? The answer to that question, especially if it keeps popping up over and over again, is extremely valuable. Institute standard procedures for the entire production staff with checks, balances and sign-offs, and you'll be making gains in no time.
2. Branding and Marketing: Your brand and marketing is the pipeline for customer acquisition and retention. There's lots of competition out there so how do you stand out from the crowd? Define your brand based on the “why” behind it. This determines what makes you unique and defines your brand promise. Your name, logo and tagline as well as your marketing stem from here. The next step is to have a marketing plan, which leverages your brand, extends the message and reaches your customers where they work, live and play in the most cost effective manner. Establish your marketing goals so you essentially have a road map that can be measured for its effectiveness. Tactics like having mascot, or avatar are viable only if the represent your brand properly and consistently in everything that is visible to the customer – your signage, your website, your social media, flyers, newsletters and more. Make sure everyone on your team understands and represents your brand correctly at all times.
3. Add value first: Business Development is essential to thriving or surviving in your business. However, if your team is not completely focused on adding value, then you simply will not have sustainable business results.
The people who work for you may have great ideas on how to improve your business but never say anything because they are afraid to speak up or there is no forum. Set up a regular time to bring these ideas to the table. Invite everyone to participate and reinforce that there are no bad ideas. It’s also a great way to build and reinforce culture.
This approach makes employees feel they are heard and valued which may encourage them to take a bigger hand in the company's future. When doing these exercises, challenge your people to think about the customers needs first. You may get off to a slow start, but after several collaborative sessions you will have an abundance of new ways to add value to the customer. After all, there is no KPI more important than customer loyalty.
Adopting performance measures will help your business advance, stabilize, and make money. Your business will not only survive in the changing marketplace, it will thrive. That means less career stress, and the quality of your life will improve. And best of all, doing these things is… simple.