Running a Shop Operations

What Drives You?

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A shop leader sets the tone for the business. How he or she is perceived by staff and customers can be the difference between success and failure. It’s a simple and often-recited concept, but when you talk to different shop owners and managers across the country as often as we do, it’s so true that it’s worth repeating—just in case any of you don’t think your actions matter that much.

Leaders of well-run shops have infectious qualities: passion, vision and the confidence to reach their goals. They embrace a mindset, a purpose, that serves as the driver of everything they do. Forget about the minutiae of everyday operations—you can be an incredibly organized person, develop the best systems and processes in the world, be a great manager, and still fail if you can’t provide the “why” (that’s not to say that those managerial qualities aren’t also important).

The three shop operators in this month’s feature, “14 Operational Secrets of the Most Efficient Shops,” on page 34 are great examples of successful leaders. All three were selected for the story based on shop performance data from a survey we conducted last year, and though these guys are all process-oriented, they share the aforementioned qualities, notably a greater purpose for doing what they do. That purpose clearly trickles down to their teams and ensures everything operates the way it does.

For example, David Stringfield of Auto Masters Fleet Services Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., embraces the mantra that the vehicles his shop repairs are more than transportation; they are the livelihoods of the people behind the wheel. The sense of urgency created by that understanding drives everything in his business.

Bill Long of Auto Care Clinic in Front Royal, Va., is driven by the philosophy that time is everything in auto care, that customers are paying for his staff’s time, so maximizing every second is vital. That philosophy drives innovation and improvement.

Consider your own auto care philosophies—why are you in this industry? What motivates you? Have you shared your business purpose with your staff, or is your team simply going through the motions each day?

Define your purpose, put it at the core of your business, and there’s no limit to what you can achieve. 

Jake Weyer, editor 

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