Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eight Things Albert Would Do In This New Economy

In two weeks we will meet in Chicago at the NAPB and spend a lot of time together reviewing data and thinking. It is a 20-year-old annual ritual that we all go through that is quite unlike any other experience in our day-to-day lives. Nobody’s trying to sell stuff, age-old laws of presentation are thrown out the window, and we spend hours listening, talking, and thinking. It is an annual review of all the data we can legally share and that is relevant to our industry. It is a ton of information. Some OEMs send supply chain folks, others send sales and marketing. It is difficult to nail down the precise DNA of the 250 participants in this ritual. We spend hour-upon-hour in session time and try to emerge enlightened. We ask, what are the three things we need to do in the next 12 months? OK, it is Wednesday at lunch and there are not three things, but rather eight. Let’s see if you come to the same conclusion as Albert.
  1. Get the message of OEM quality out everywhere – web, print, boxes, merchandising
  2. Don’t dawdle with your B2B strategies – use B2B2C as a Trojan horse for your mechanical parts wholesale strategy
  3. Increase parts warranties for parts in high cost repairs; no need to cover labor
  4. Refurbish all those old parts marketing programs (e.g., Mopar’s “Lifestyles”) to support RIM compliance with an attitude
  5. Focus your customer retention efforts on the service advisor (SA) and leverage “My Guy” concepts; train SAs in best practices and merchandise to parts managers
  6. Accelerate development of digital owners’ center with simplified “key” service functionality
  7. Invest heavily in digital applications and technology – this is your customers’ future; think COUPONS & MOBILE
  8. Test every new investment against mile-high standards for product quality, availability, and uptime
Bottom line: Supply chain, sales, marketing, finance, service operations, pricing, and all those other traditional silos we have in aftersales really are all connected … and not in any imaginable way are there silos anymore.

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