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New fixed ops training detailed at reception

November 18, 2010

"Ask yourself one question: How many cars did Pep Boys sell last year? That’s our market," said Kevin Cunningham of NCM Associates, "and we want to get it back."


Cunningham spoke at a July 25 reception to unveil the structure and pricing of a new CATA training program for service directors and managers. Service Management Bootcamps, which lead to Service Manager 20 Groups, debut in August at the CATA.


Terry D’Arcy, immediate past chairman of the CATA and an impetus for the new service department instruction, said the association has allocated about $1 million to the training program.


"We’re always looking for good ways to invest back into the dealer body, to help us do what we do," D’Arcy said. "This is not for dealers, but for the people in the trenches.


"If your dentist hasn’t had a tune-up in a while, he probably wouldn’t be a very good dentist. We like to refer to this as an MBA in service manage-



A four-day Bootcamp, meeting Tuesday through Friday in one week, is followed by enrollment in a Service Managers 20 Group that would meet three times a year for three years.


The Bootcamp lead instructor is Lloyd Schiller, who in 1983 formed Dealer Service Corporation. DSC now is an NCM Associates company.


Schiller said Bootcamp attendees who registered through other state or metro dealer associations reported net profit increases up to $20,000 a month after the training, and their CSI scores increased to top factory award status. Technician efficiency also jumped as much as 50 percent.


Enrollment through other dealer associations typically costs $2,800 for the Bootcamp, plus $250 a month over the three-year 20 Group. Special CATA prices are $1,000 for the Bootcamp and $160 a month for 20 Group tuition.


In addition, for service directors and managers who complete the 20 Groups, the CATA will rebate to their dealers 50 percent of the first year’s tuition, 75 percent of the second year’s tuition, and 100 percent of the final year’s tuition.


A traditional 20 Group agenda includes comparing dealership financial statements with similar-sized, same-make dealerships from different markets. TheCATA’s 20 Groups will deliberately include representatives from various makes.


Also, the attendees will not share their financial information with counterparts, but instead will compare that data against manufacturer-specific averages and benchmarks.


"You won’t be sharing (financial) information with your competition. I think it’s important to know that upfront," said Cunningham.


"Proof of the success of the program," Cunningham said, "is when your service directors bring change to your dealership."


The Bootcamp agenda covers topics such as becoming a more effective manager, analyzing and improving key performance areas, understanding the keys to increased service department efficiency and profitability, service marketing and merchandising, and an analysis of repair orders.


Among Bootcamp topics:


  • Creating direct performance-based pay plans
  • Implementing quick service teams
  • Implementing hours-loading scheduling & dispatching for maximum efficiency 

Each 20 Group would operate autonomously and create its own bylaws and discussion topics, and even have a chat room on an NCM Web site.


The first Bootcamps at the CATA are Aug. 22-25, Sept. 19-22, and Nov. 7-10. The subsequent 20 Groups commence about 60 days after each Bootcamp. For more information about the CATA’s program and to register, call Jim Butcher at the CATA at 630-424-6020.