Parts Ponderings v1.0

This is the first of a weekly commentary on the operational, sales and customer service aspects of a parts business in the equipment business.

I want to start with the most important people in your business, your heroes; these are the men and women who serve your customers every day.  They struggle with the tools we provide them from the business systems to the telephone systems in a department that is like the equipment we sell today with little or no differentiation from the other dealers in the market with whom you compete. We have all become a “oneness.”

We have taken to heart the drive of TQM or CQI from the 80’s and we have improved the processes ad nauseum. To the point that now we are process junkies and not particularly interested in changing anything for fear it will all fall apart.

What is the joy of working in that environment? How can we continue to attract and retain the talented people that we need to do the work? This will become a very large problem in the not too distant future.

I have just completed two wonderful books on this very subject. One is by Gary Hamel called What Matters Now and the other is by Clayton Christenden called How Will You Measure Your Life. Interested people should read them both.

I am interested in how we can make our work magical as in Apple. How we can provide customers with experiences that they want to experience more of in their work? But that is a trick question isn’t it? It isn’t up to us if we truly think about it. It6 is about those wonderful men and women doing the job now. They know what is needed if only we would free them from the shackles of the processes in which we have them locked. But that is too scary for the moment. Not a wise thing to put off. We need to start making people want to come work for us above everyone else. We want an interview to be an event like at Southwest Airlines where it is like a casting call. Yes we can do that too. Think about your parts store and them go visit an apples store and note the differences. That is where we need to be. The time is now.