October '20

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48 • RV PRO • October 2020 rv-pro.com when I was a dealer and service advisor. That profit improvement plan identifies additional profit opportuni- ties in the dealership's service and parts operation. We have dedicated RV trainers that train in RV stores and we have automotive trainers that work in automo- bile dealerships. My director of RV training is a gentleman named Rod Davis, who has worked with me since 1992 as my RV service manager. My director on the automotive side, Bill Horgan, is the first employee I ever hired. They are very, very experienced. RV PRO: How do you analyze a dealer's operations? Reed: We first do a finan- cial statement analysis that measures the dealer's current performance as compared to our performance guides. An example would be the perfor- mance in the profit margin on labor, the profit margin on parts, and technician produc- tivity, which we define as how many hours technicians bill on repair orders each week, compared to how many clock hours they work. If they work 40-hour weeks and only bill 20 hours to customers or manufacturers, then they're 50 percent productive. We also look at RECT to see how long it takes to move RVs through the repair process. We look at staffing levels and job descriptions and evaluate pay plans. We are firm believers that dealers should base compensation of employees in parts and service on individual performance and departmental perfor- mance. Proper pay plans motivate employees to per- form at higher levels. We also look at hours of operation and work sched- ules. Most RV stores operate eight- or nine-hour days. We've been successful in switching dealers to 10-hour days and going to a four-10 schedule. If dealers go to a four-10 schedule, they can pick up about a 45 percent increase in service time. Going to four-10s can reduce their appointment backlogs. We look at their parts inventor y and their ordering process for special order parts, which is always a concern for RV stores. We evaluate the people we train by administering a person- ality profile test to identify the character traits of advi- sors and the management team. This helps us see if the position each employee holds suits them. R V P R O : A f t e r t h e analysis, how do you decide the appropriate training program for the dealership? Reed: We first consider the overall size of the operation; the number of technicians and the number of repair orders written each month. That gives us a good indication as to what training program is best suited for that store. If we have 25 or 30 people to work with, we may spend four or five days a month in that dealership. Whereas in a store with only three employees, we may only spend two days a month. We offer two types of training programs. One is the norm in the industry, where the dealer pays a fixed rate for the days we are in the store. Our other program, which accounts for about 70 percent of our dealers, is a performance program, where we get compensated on a percentage of their overall gross profit improvement in service and parts. Simply defined: If we don't improve their profitability, we don't get paid. RV PRO: Why is it essen- tial to teach RV customers to maintain their RVs? Reed: The average RV ow n e r i s n o t a f u l l - t i m e handyman who knows how to repair everything on that motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer. There are many things that require mainte- nance. A lot of it is minor Reed offers training for RV dealership personnel at his office outside of Columbus, Ohio, and in the field. "We identify opportunities for improvement, like consultants do, but then we come onsite and work in your dealership for 14 months. We spend a minimum of three days a month in your dealership," he says.

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