Service Managers: Get the Most Out of Your Fixed Ops Team

Larry Edwards

Excerpted from Larry's Ramblings by Larry Edwards

Don’t waste your time trying to help an employee who doesn’t want to be helped.  People who resist being helped with behavioral and skills development needs will drain the life out of you.  They’re adults; making their own decisions

As a manager you have one primary responsibility “provide the business owner(s) with a return on the assets they have assigned to you”.  These assets can be broken down into three distinct categories:

  1. Human assets: the employees in your department
  2. Physical assets: building, tools, equipment, software, etc.
  3. Customers assets: your dealer, over time, has developed a distinct “BRAND” for their dealership.  This brand delivers buying customers and customers who are here because of the dealership’s brand but have not yet made a decision to purchase

Managers have a responsibility to manage each and every asset assigned to them.  They must ensure that each asset under their control is providing a decent return on the investment the dealer has made to acquire these assets.  Managers fail (get fired) when they place a greater value on one asset assigned to them than they place on the other assets assigned to them. [Let’s take a look at some samples]


We implement our Service Sales Process that requires the advisor to do a walk-around with every customer.  The manager approved implementing this process; we assisted the manager with training and implementation.  Thirty days later, we do a follow-up visit and observe that the advisors are not doing the walk around.  When we ask the manager why the advisors are not doing the walk around, the answer is “I just cannot get them to do it!”  Well, if the manager cannot get his/her assets to “work properly” then they have a responsibility to replace the asset.


The number one problem we encounter when consulting with parts departments is not posting lost sales.  Dealership Parts Inventory Software is developed utilizing the demand based principal of determining parts inventory.  In order for the software to work, it must be told the “actual” demand (request) for parts.  The software takes demand for an individual part and applies a mathematical formula that calculates the number of demands that must be received for an individual part, over a period of time, specified by the Parts Manager.


The single largest problem we encounter when consulting with collision is Dealers, General Managers, and/or Fixed Operations Managers who do not know how to manage this department.  When these individuals encounter a situation they do not know much about, they usually fall back on something they know a lot about: Controlling Expenses!  They do not know how many and what type of staffing they need; they aren’t sure how much a metal technician or a painter should be earning; and most of their experience with paint and materials was obtained when they negotiated that $100,000.00 up-front fee from their paint supplier.  Oh and by the way, they failed to give the collision department credit for the $100,000.00 paint pre-bate.

Larry Edwards, president of Edwards & Associates Consulting, can be reached at Read the full article here.