Make It Visible.

Make It Visible.

We have written often about Goals and Objectives and Management Measures and Key Performance Indicators. And rightly so. It also ties into my management philosophy of Understanding, Acceptance and Commitment. We MUST have clarity, everyone has to Understand what it is we are trying to do, everyone has to ACCEPT that what we are trying to do and that leads to everyone being committed to getting it done. I call that UAK, from my friend Malcolm Phares, who felt it was more memorable that way.

I want to address now the reporting of the progress towards meeting or surpassing the goals, objectives, management measure and key performance indicators.

Some time ago I was on a board of a manufacturing company. They did fusion welding on cylinder heads and line boring and rebuilding of various components as well as resurfacing camshafts and crankshafts. It was a good business. The owner wanted me to see what we could do about improving throughput. We went about the project in the usual manner and had UAK. But what really made a difference was in how we presented the results of everyone’s efforts. We put up graphic and table results every day in the employee break room.

We had a quick team meeting in which we explained what we were going to do and how we were going to collect the data and how we were going to present it to them. I was a little surprised at the level of interest in this reporting approach. There was very little interest.

The first few days, we started at the beginning of a month, there was rather disappointing interest. It started picking up toward the end of the first week. By the time the second week was finished the employees had figured out how their efforts could influence the results. They started trying out different methods to achieve the results, some that worked and some that did not work. But they quickly figured out how to have the maximum results in how they approach their work.

No one told them what to do, they figured it out themselves. I have always said that the employees doing the job know how to do their job better than anyone else. It has always been rather easy for me to explain to employees what is needed and you will be surprised at what comes out of it. This is standard best practice management isn’t it? That sure happened in this example.
By the end of the first month the improved results were very obvious to everyone. No additional spending, no changed written procedures, and no-one standing above every employee pushing them. Just management and supervision helping the employees out when they wanted assistance.

By the end of the first quarter under this program the throughput nearly doubled, open work orders were down by more than 50% and as you can imagine profit increased. The customers had improved results as well. Lower invoices as the times to do the work went down and the invoices were produced within a day of the jobs being completed.
I believe it was simply the reporting of the results. Made the results visible, explain how you get the information and how you produce the results and then just let it go.

If you already are doing this you know what I am talking about. If you don’t what have you got to lose? Try it out you will be surprised by the results.

The Time is NOW.


American Express coined the phrase “Membership has its privileges.”  This is entirely true.  Most of us have professional memberships to various organizations: the Associated Equipment Distributors, the National Trailer Distributor’s Association, the National Groundwater Association, the National Trailer Equipment Association, just to name a few.

We are inviting you to become members of our own group, Learning Without Scars, because we want to recognize individuals and businesses that want to participate in their personal and professional growth.  We discussed doing this by means of special promotions and loyalty programs, amongst many difference alternatives.


We settled on the membership approach.

By joining Learning Without Scars at the nominal cost of $35,00 per year, we have found that we can offer more to you for less.

All members receive a price reduction of 30% on all LWS learning products.  That means that all webinars, self study programs, and classroom programs will be offered at a 30% price reduction to our members.  For those of you who know me, please note that this is NOT a discount!  I still hate discounts.

So, what are you waiting for?  Spend $35.00 and start saving.

The time is now…

A thank you for the AED

Today I had the opportunity to read December’s issue of CED magazine.  This is the last month I will be a contributing writer to the magazine, and I am touched and thankful for the tribute the Associated Equipment Distributors wrote in their magazine.  We have had a wonderful professional relationship over these many years, and I wish you the best in your new endeavors.


December 2014_AED Article


The time is now…


Financial Fitness

Financial Fitness

This is a business model based simulator that we have developed over the past forty five years working with more than one thousand dealerships, of all major brands and most secondary brands, worldwide.

We provide the basic input forms on our website on the internet and you provide your information. We will hold all of this input information confidential. We will analyze your information against our management measures and standards that we have developed over our consulting career.

We are using six levels of performance in the reporting for each of the management measures. The range of measure covers five departments; sales, rentals, parts, service and administration. We review each department in four sections; revenue, finance, operations and assets. We will have a range of management measures from three per group to over six. There will be a range of nearly two hundred measures to select from in the Financial Fitness Model.

We will use six levels of performance in the reporting for each of the management measures. The lowest is represented by a “Red Cross” which is a “triage” level. Then comes the “Red Light” which means stop this now. Next is the road “Caution” sign. Standard Performance is represented by a “Green Light.”  High performance is represented by a “Gold Star.” Performance that is too high is represented by a “Frown Face.

We will take your input and provide you a sample of the Fitness Model with a selection of measures. This will be complimentary. Then we will provide a series of four choices of our service. Basic, a selection of three to five measures for each department – 15 to 25 measures for each  store. Standard which will be three measures for each section within each department – 60 different measures. To the Special and ultimate levels which will be dealer selected. The Ultimate will have a minimum of 100 measures for each dealer location.

We are currently working on the creation of a series of TIPS (Typical Improvement Options). The TIPS are those steps we have used in our consulting work. The use of TIPS would reduce the need for on site consulting work which will save you money. There will be three to five TIPS for each measures. Each TIP will have a “How To” document provided which will outline the steps and actions to take on this measure to improve the results.

If the TIPS option is not sufficient for the dealer then we are developing a network of “ACES” (Associated Contact Experts). These ACES will be made available on a consulting basis to assist the dealer in making the necessary improvements in their operations.

We are very pleased with the development of this new option for dealers. Our goal continues to be that we help everyone move to a best practices level of performance.

The time is now

Facts are awfully stubborn things

This is a most interesting time, isn’t it? I listened to Jimmy Rogers on CNBC the other night. He was pointing out there is an election this year in the United States, there is one in France. Germany has an election next year. In fact there are 40 governments that will face elections this year. There will be a lot of money spent by the politicians. Yes, they spend our money to get themselves reelected. Sorry to be so cynical.

But 2012 is going to be a good year – one way or another. If we have to show unemployment going down well let’s not look so closely at the shrinking size of the work force;  If the deficits get too large let’s blame it on the recession or the conflicting arguments between one view of the economist Keynes and the rigors of the Austrian school followed by the later Milton Friedman. Politicians will be in the feel good best this political season

The total unit sales in the United States are still less than 50% of what they were at their peak. The customer fleets and rental houses are almost at the complement of units now. So where is the boom going to be coming from in the US? It sure won’t be housing will it? And as long as housing operated with depressed prices the pent up work force movement will not be released.

The only answer is that the market is what the market is and get over it. Get one with it and make the best of it. The happiest people normally DON’T HAVE the best of everything but they do MAKE THE BEST of everything. The time is now.