Jobbers across Canada today are faced with the challenge of re-inventing themselves. If they don’t, the likelihood of their survival is truly questionable.
I admit that is a pretty bold statement, but many jobbers perceive that as long as they are competitively priced on their parts, they will win the game.
Price-only jobbers will end up with a job–and it won’t be a very good one at that, certainly not when one considers the effort and aggravation they will have to go through, coupled with high-maintenance receivables and lots of stress throughout their store. I don’t think it was the intent of jobber management to buy themselves a job when they first opened their store.
If it remains your goal, then this article will not fit your business model.
However, having presented at two AIA conferences, one in Charlottetown and one in Red Deer, I sense the jobbers who took the time to attend and participate, want to understand their business and our industry issues better and determine how they should proceed to secure their future bottom line. I congratulate these attendees. I am confident that with focus and determination they can take the information they picked up, do the math with the formulas provided, and start the process to enhance their profitability.
Consider that with parts margins continuously “heading south,” the company’s future net profit will have to be earned.
The fact is there are too many jobbers in Canada for the number of progressive service shops that will be the players within the marketplace three to five years from now. In order to enjoy and grow a profitable jobber business, management must position their company to capture first call business from the top shops within their individual marketplace, and be able to command proper margins and receive full monthly payment. This is not easy.
It will take knowledge, discipline, and true understanding and dedication to deliver value by the entire jobber staff, in order to execute and lead your marketplace with the new business model.
The best automotive service provider shops, the shops that will survive and prosper, are shops whose management saw the light and now fully understand what has to be done to grow a profitable, dynamic business. They have already started this process and in many cases are well on their way.
The best jobbers must play catch-up to these shops. That requires a review of some of the detail within the jobber’s business to make sure the ” Ts” are crossed and the “Is” are dotted. Consider this short jobber checklist:
Do we fully understand our customer’s business and how it must operate to maximize his shop’s business profitability?
Is this documented in our store where everyone easily has access to this information?
Is it constantly updated?
Have jobber management, all field people, and the key counterpeople been fully trained on shop business management?
Do we have a process in place to update our jobber staff on shop business management issues?
Do we fully understand service providers’ needs and the challenges their sector of our industry face?
Do we truly understand our individual customer’s vision of their business?
Is this documented in our customer’s files?
Do we have a business process in place to review this file on a regular basis with them?
Do we have daily business practices that enhance our client’s business relationship with our store?
Is this process documented?
Is this process reviewed twice a year?
Do we define the value that our jobber store brings to each individual shop’s business?
Is it documented?
Is it reviewed twice a year with a sit-down meeting with our customers?
Do we have a process to constantly seek out ways to bring additional value to our customer’s business?
Is this process documented?
Is our jobber store up to date with the latest computer technology that enhances efficient operation between our jobber store and our customer’s business?
Do we actively encourage and support our customers to embrace ongoing technology development within their shop?
Do we fully understand our customer’s business software?
Are we capable of assisting our customers with computer hardware and software training?
Can we assist our customers with their individual business issues?
Have we earned our client’s trust?
Is our jobber business well-known within the marketplace for working to enhance shop profitability?
Do we actively promote this message?
Do we have business processes in place to ensure our client is never let down by our jobber store?
Is this process documented?
Are all jobber staff empowered to make decisions on 95% of the issues when asked by our customers?
Do our customers know that our people are empowered?
You were warned it was not easy. When your entrepreneurship is embraced, these processes commence the change required to enhance shop relationships, and totally raise the bar not only in how business is done, but also allow the shop to clearly see and experience the value your store brings to their business for the price that you charge.
These processes and the resulting change in your business culture will take, on average, two to three years to implement. Yes, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. However, as stated at the beginning of this article, the execution of the details will determine your place within the marketplace as well as the automotive aftermarket history books.
Don’t plan to become a statistic, as unfortunately, so many jobbers will be. (Yes, another bold statement.)
Plan to be the leader within your marketplace. I’m confident the process and successful implementation will put the excitement, and satisfaction, back into your business.