Is it time for a fixed ops refresh? Here are 3 areas to focus on – John Fairchild

We’ve heard from many car dealers around the country who continue to face challenges like managing inventory and retaining staff. Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome John Fairchild, high performance fixed ops coach and President of Fairchild Automotive Solutions, to discuss what’s impacting fixed ops today and how your dealership can bring in more revenue.

Many fixed-ops departments lose focus on the execution of their processes and the coaching of their team members. The first thing fixed-ops managers should do to correct this lack of focus is to develop a playbook or a service department guide for the retail process. Many dealerships still manage to operate without one. However, it is crucial to get a sound definition of every function from pre-write up to active delivery. Once a game plan has been established in writing, drill down further on what each individual process does.

Fixed-ops department must also do through walkarounds and build rapport with customers. Is it reasonable to expect a service advisor to hit 10 out of 10 walkarounds every day? That depends on the resources and time available. At the very least, strive for incremental improvement every day.

Recruiting auto technicians, service managers, and even BDC members is challenging, given the current labor market. Fairchild says fixed ops directors should always be looking for rising talent. If you try to poach a technician from your competitor down the street, chances are the tech will leverage your offer letter to get a raise at their current store, explains Fairchild. So, make sure your first offer is your best offer.

Fairchild adds that the industry needs to reevaluate the career path for these employees. Outside of compensation, auto techs are looking for: flexible scheduling, a fun atmosphere, active work, recognition, and rapport with management. There are elements that can set your dealership apart.

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