Roles, Responsibilities, & Expectations – Parts & Service Management

It is more than job descriptions and standards of performance

Management gurus and management theory changes like the wind. From Peter Townsend to Peter Drucker to Porras and Collins and Lencioni and many more. It is much more than a cottage Industry it is a full blown educational and consultative foundation. We have gone through multiple iterations of significant things we MUST do.

We must have job descriptions and then we have to have standards of performance for each job function. That was a starting point way back when. Then we got into vision and mission statements and other buzz words. Or how about Total Quality Movement and Continuous Quality Improvement. Now let’s not forget Six Sigma and all of us needing to become “black belts.” Oh and now we have “Lean Management.” In the midst of this we have the Balanced Scorecard and Activity Based Management. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of benefits to each of these various “movements.” It is not just a series of passing fads. After all I grew up with Industrial Engineering. At the AED we have the Product Support series. The Handbook. The Opportunities Handbook and the Best Practices Handbook. It is a cookie cutter solution to all of our problems that we are looking for in all of these theories and from each of these guru’s. Would that it were that simple.

But let’s take a breath here and get back to some basics. There is a terrific new book out there from the Chairman of Koch Industries, called the largest private company in the world. In it one of the subjects broached is roles, responsibilities and expectations. I think that this is an extremely important book and it contains a series of good pieces of advice to contemplate.

The roles of the individuals in the parts department and the service department and the product support sales department. What are those roles? What do the employees think those roles are? How about their responsibilities? I believe this is important. Do each of the employees have a clear understanding of that which they are expected to be doing within the company? No, not their job descriptions what is their role? Or have they got to the place that they know what the process is and they repeat it as often as is necessary. This is the curse of our American business structure. We teach you how to do the job and then expect you to do it over and over again until you get really good at it. The Asians with Kaizen have a much better approach; Do the job better each and every day. Do the employees invest their intellectual capital in improving their jobs? Or do they find out how to do the job and then just keep on keeping on? This is a symptom I find in a lot of dealerships. People are doing what they are told to do and working in the business. They are not working ON the business. Do you understand the distinction there?

I believe that the employee who is doing the job knows how to do the job better than anyone else. Particularly better than the boss. So with the arrival of summer I thought it would be good to have each of us read this book on holiday. And then to ask how we can improve our daily lives by doing our jobs more effectively, more with the customer in mind, and more with making ourselves live fulfilling lives. Don’t forget In Search of Dignity by R.C. Sproul either. He reminds us that everyone wants to feel they have made a difference in their lives.

That brings us finally to expectations. What are the expectations that the employee has for their job? What are the expectations that the company has for each employee? This is much more than job descriptions and standards of performance. It becomes almost a “what do you want to be when you grow up” question. Those of you that are still reading might think this is too soft a subject but expectations are hard things. The struggle to attract and retain talented employees is all about expectations. Keeping employees happy keeps customers happy and makes money for the owners. This is not easy stuff.

So there is your vacation reading. The Science of Success by Charles Koch of Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas. A great read and it is full of excellent points for your consideration and implementation.

Happy reading.

The Time is NOW…