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Many aspire to a life of continuous improvement, but few take the time to truly evaluate and practice what that actually means. A commitment to continuous improvement, however, has a name—Kaizen. Kaizen is the Japanese word for “change for better,” and is often used in life and business as a small-step work improvement that can lead to meaningful, systemic, and positive change. 

To put it simply, a shop that practices Kaizen may enjoy bijinesu no seikō—true business success.

“Be better every day in all that you do,” says Bill Adams, owner of Adams Autoworx (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Californian kaizen convert. “Improve your processes and be the best corporate citizen you can be in 360 degrees.” 

Practicing kaizen is just one aspect of what makes Adams Autoworx successful. Another aspect, according to Adams, has been implementing Kukui’s Success Platform into his life and business.

“Kukui helps us kaizen,” he says, “as we’re always improving. We can define what we want Kukui to do for us and we keep moving forward.”

Yabai, Adams might tell you. Cool. 


Not Just Clients—Community

With an annual revenue of $3.1 million, over 7,300 square feet and 13 total staff, Adams is happy to delegate and let his team drive the business. Letting go of the saibu (details) isn’t easy for any owner, but Adams leans on Kukui to inform him about what’s happening in the shop and to reach the customers who value his business the most while letting his people work.

 “Our clients want a relationship-based service model, a high-touch and high-communication business. That’s our avatar, and Kukui helps us find, reach and keep them.”

Adams has been with Kukui for almost ten years and it has helped revolutionize not only how he does business, but how he thinks about business. “Kukui helps you define who you are, what you do, and how to attract your avatar,” he says, “and nothing is worse than having the wrong customer, for them AND for the shop. They won’t be a long-term customer and you won’t be their shop. That’s not who we want to serve.” 

Adams describes the Success Platform as phenomenal; it merged seamlessly with his CRM system and now automatically reaches out to customers and ensures a steady trickle of new and return clients through his doors. Adams strives for the industry benchmark of 20 percent new clients per year, and he credits the software and marketing outreach to almost 100 new customers per month. Once dialed in, the CRM does the heavy lifting for him. 

“Kukui writes a note for every one of my clients and makes reviews a two-click process,” he says, “it’s super easy.”

Customers can also make appointments via the website and/or via automatic reminder if they opt in for digital communication. “I bet half of our clients use the scheduling software to create their appointments,” he says, “and half of our customers are now virtual. It’s all driven through Kukui. We don’t see them because we don’t need to, and they enjoy the streamlined and personalized business model.”

Totemo kakkoī! Super cool.


More than a Website—A Culture

Kaizen is something Kukui can get behind. “We are a tech company,” says Rick Sage, director of marketing at Kukui, “and we stay on top of technology as it changes. The ability to evolve our product and meet the needs as the world changes around us is tantamount to our clients’ success.”

To meet the needs as the world changes. Now more than ever, that kaizen-style of assessment, change and implementation is paramount to shops like Adams Autoworx. 

“Kukui’s Success Platform has everything you need to advantage your shop,” Adams says. “They have the blueprint for success and they’re not reinventing the wheel—they’re simply putting you in control.” 

Adams loves the Kukui Dashboard because he can keep his shop’s daily, weekly, monthly and annual numbers in front of his staff each and every day. He can pull what he describes as the four big levers—car count, ARO, tech efficiency and productivity—and manage them easily, shifting cars and ROs as needed to keep everyone happy, busy and profitable. As a self-described data geek, he can spend hours in the reports and drill down to truly understand how his shop works the way it does (and how he can continuously improve it).

“We wanted to raise ARO because we maxed out our space; I don’t want to add more cars, but I do want to add the right cars. Kukui allows us to do that by marketing to the right clients, allowing us to stay customer focused instead of digging through work orders. They mine the data that makes our jobs easier.”

Kukui allowed Adams to identify, market to and profit from a robust Subaru clientele in Castro Valley. “That’s their culture—they love their Subarus, and we love taking care of them.” Kukui helped Adams craft a successful Google Adwords campaign targeting Subaru drivers and the results were soon evident as they came to the shop. 

“Kukui helped us find our clients’ culture and it has become a part of ours,” he says, “and it’s a privilege and a pleasure to be able to help our community.”

Arigato, he may say at the end of another good day in the shop. Thank you. 


Kaizen Worldwide

Kaizen has long been practiced in healthcare, psychotherapy, government, banking and life coaching. Today, many companies hold kaizen events over the course of a week to address bottlenecks, and someone who makes a large contribution to a successful kaizen implementation may be awarded the title of Zenkai

What might a kaizen blitz look like in your shop? And who will rise to Zenkai? 

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