While oft-mentioned in this space, it bears repeating: Complacency can be a business-breaker. Think your restrooms are “clean enough?” Ask your customers—especially your female patrons—if they're satisfied. What about your showroom? Cluttered? Not customer-friendly? Is your answer, again, “it's OK.” Detach yourself, for a moment, from your dealership/shop owner mindset and look through the eyes of those who walk into your place. Are they perplexed by the information you're presenting? Is it legible? Is it logical? Is your showroom easy to maneuver, or dis-orderly and confusing? Are your personnel helpful—or just going through the motions? It's essential to take a jaundiced view of your operations. Being lackadaisical or too lenient in your evaluations will only hurt your operation's profits and drive longtime and potential customers into the arms of competitors who put a better foot forward. Now let's venture to your service bays. Cluttered and dirty, with technicians searching for tools? Greasy, disorganized and unkempt looking? As Dan Marinucci, Tire Business auto service columnist, has hammered on many times, organization and cleanliness does not hamper proficiency and efficiency—it bolsters it and, of course, the bottom line. On a tangential platform, Dan writes in this week's issue about measuring technician efficiency and the importance of monitoring it to improve profitability in a shop's service department. Savvy service managers monitor technicians closely and then make necessary adjustments. Why? It's not to come off like the National Security Agency (NSA), spying on your workers' every move. Rather, it's to maximize a service department's income, which doesn't hurt a tech's paycheck, either. All that monitoring doesn't belie the fact that today's—and tomorrow's—vehicles are more complex and require the best and brightest working on them, rather than a “good enough” mechanic one step up from shadetree stature. In this issue's automotive service section, Bill Moss, owner of EuroService Automotive in Warrenton, Va., talks about just how much car models have changed over the years and what—and who—it will take to service them. “We used to look for people that were good with their hands and we still do,” he said. “But we also look for people that are problem-solvers and good abstract thinkers, people who score highly on abstract testing, that work well with concepts in addition to reality.” It may sound a bit like Mr. Moss—who also is mechanical division director on the Automotive Service Association's board of directors—is looking for a math scholar. But the question remains: Is he describing someone you employ? If not, why not? Maybe his point, boiled down to utter simplicity, is that being “just good enough” won't cut it anymore.
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