Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 NASB – Spring Meeting Recap and Looking Ahead

We recently looked at how the North America Service Benchmark (NASB) data has evolved over the last five years. But the data is only half the story. NASB member OEMs meet twice a year for an interactive discussion of two core service-related topics that the participants choose. At our most recent Spring Meeting in Phoenix last month, “interactive” was an understatement. Watching participants exchange information, filling their notebooks with ideas for what they want to do next – that’s the greatest possible joy for a facilitator at one of these sessions.

NASB got its start back in 2008 when 11 automotive brands (with only two luxury brands) met for a one-day conference in Dallas. Today, NASB has grown to 17 automotive brands, with seven luxury brands, and they set the agenda for two face-to-face meetings a year.

The March meeting was all about how to manage Service Capacity – the tools, the metrics, how and which data we collect (and should collect), and how we can change dealer behavior. Some insights included:
  • OEMs agree that there is a need to accurately measure and forecast service capacity.
    • If you’re not getting down to the dealer level, you are missing pockets of under-capacity.
  • Customer retention is driven by service capacity.
    • Lack of service capacity can drive customers to the aftermarket prematurely.
    • There’s almost a need to get down to the individual customer level.
  • It can be difficult to persuade dealers to invest.
    • Business cases and forecasts tailored to specific dealers are critical to getting buy-in for investment.
    • Incentive plans can be effective, but beware of dependence.
  • Smaller OEMs and luxury brands can be impacted by service capacity constraints very quickly.
Some best practices include:
  • Higher frequency data collection captures variation in service capacity.
  • OEMs have experienced success with engaging their service field forces.
  • Web-based tools are the future.
We also talked in-depth about Express Service as a tool OEMs and dealers can use to manage service capacity and retain customers. Some insights included:
  • The “expressable” market is likely to stay constant in the near term. Most OEMs either have an Express Service program in place or are planning to launch one in the near future to compete with the IAM.
  • Since the last time we discussed this topic, most OEMs got more sophisticated around their reporting structures and are also able to report many success stories: Express Service dealers are outperforming Non-Express Service dealers on most dimensions that are being tracked.
  • Challenges are mostly related to sustainment and training – multiple OEMs have started tackling these issues.
  • Other highlights included OEM case studies on Express Service Reporting Dashboard and Sustainment Initiatives, Express Service staffing models of the future, and initiatives to improve service capacity.
If you did not attend the meeting, you might want to ask yourself some questions that were key discussion points for attendees:
  • Do you regularly share service capacity data with your dealers?
  • Have you created business cases for service capacity investment for all dealers?
  • How do you use your dealer operating standards to reinforce service capacity requirements?
  • Are you incorporating retention and other operational data at a dealer level to allow for capacity forecasting at differentiated retention levels?
  • What initiatives do you have in place to engage your Express Service Dealers?
  • How are you handling the career expectations of your Express Service team members? Link to Technician Survey Results
Needless to say, a single day never seems to be enough.

So what’s next? At the fall meeting, we will be discussing Second Owner Retention and we’ll come up with industry standards for Express Service Metrics. We are already looking forward to another great, in-depth discussion!

On a related note, we are excited to announce a Focus Day on the Connected Dealership and Service Lane Technology, which will address key topics such as telematics, service scheduling, RO write-up, service marketing, parts planning, and integrated service lane technologies which have been top-of-mind for OEMs, dealers, and 3rd party technology providers. In 2012, Carlisle conducted a consumer-facing technology roundtable at NASB. Last year, we took a deep dive into the topic and published the Market Assessment of Extended Service Technologies Report [LINK]. Our goal for the focus day will be to update and expand on this report:
Bottom Line: NASB’s mission is to promote continuous improvement in Service Operations. Our participants live and breathe this mission, and continuously push themselves to serve their customers and dealers even better. If you’d like to learn more about our upcoming meetings or Focus Days, please contact Karin Kliger at or 978.318.0500 ext. 103.

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