When our kids were younger, we set specific evening hour curfews for them, an objective we wanted them to meet. They knew consequence awaited if they chose not to comply.
In my early career, I was introduced to the motivation practice “MBO,” or Management by Objectives — clearly defined objectives or tasks I was to execute within specified times, against which my manager rated my performance.
At the core of MBO is accountability — did I achieve the objectives I was assigned and did I do so within the time or calendar days set for my due date?
When it comes to used vehicle reconditioning, we’ve learned that if a reconditioning department isn’t getting vehicles from inspection to the frontline in a reasonable span of days, say three to seven, it’s probably because staff is not being held accountable for meeting measurable and trackable objectives — productivity, cycle time, cost, etc.
Businessdictionary.com defines “accountability” as “the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”
If managers overseeing recon are to produce best results, they must have clearly defined details of recon processes, steps and objectives, as well as who is assigned to each step and the completion timeframe. There is no reliable way to monitor the department’s efficiency without this.
Inc. magazine, citing the American Psychology Association, notes that when people abide to setting specific and challenging goals, they perform at higher levels 90 percent of the time.
According to dealers who use reconditioning software, when managers set specific objectives for the recon staff, productivity improves, desired outcomes are achieved, and employees are happier
While no cookie-cutter plan works for every dealership, we know that when recon puts in place and holds staff accountable to recon best practices, recon cycle time drops. The best get cars from their first-touch step to the front line in three days. Others, just as successful and driven, find that five or seven days is their best, given events, processes, decisions and logistics recon does not control.
Without this accountability in place, dealership reconditioning output will continue to lope along at 10 to 15 days or more. Slow recon erodes retail gross. It causes gross-eating vehicle holding cost depreciation to accumulate. It limits inventory turn.
From inspection to front-line sale-ready, each process in the reconditioning function is more efficient and faster when each step has an individual’s name attached to it. This person is responsible for executing that step as you have defined it, within allotted time, and according to the specified and measurable outcome.
Accountability in recon is personal. It is personal to everyone who touches vehicles through the process, from staff onboarding vehicles into recon to the person who moves cars from the photo booth to the sales line.
Management is responsible for setting, monitoring and measuring pace and outcomes against objectives, and it, too, is accountable. If your recon struggles to get inventory to the front line quickly, maybe you aren’t managing by objectives.