A Cycling Story

Let’s rewind to 2003, a pivotal year for the British Cycling team, a team then synonymous with average results. They were neither remarkable nor dismal; they existed in the middle ground of competitive cycling.

Enter Sir Dave Brailsford, a renowned figure in the cycling world. Brailsford brought with him the concept of “aggregation of marginal gains” – the belief that when small, incremental improvements culminate in any process, it can lead to significant enhancements. This philosophy catapulted the British Cycling team to unprecedented heights of success, including multiple gold medals and Dave becoming knighted for his achievements. Now, imagine applying this mindset to Powersports, Marine, Trailer, and RV dealerships. Let’s explore how focusing on the smallest details can create significant shifts in your business performance.

Understanding the Marginal Gains Approach

Brailsford’s approach was simple yet revolutionary: improve every aspect of a cyclist’s performance by just 1%. This included everything from the most obvious factors like training and equipment to even more granular details such as the type of pillow an athlete used when sleeping. But how does this apply to dealerships?

Micro Changes, Macro Impact

Imagine analyzing every element of your dealership’s operation, no matter how small. For instance, how long does it take your employees to walk from point A to point B? Is there an annoying set of boxes between the Service Bay and the Parts shelves that Billy, the Parts Manager, has to step around every time he walks by? Can this be reduced by rearranging the workspace for efficiency? These tiny tweaks, when aggregated, can lead to substantial time savings and increased productivity.

Brailsford’s List: A Source of Inspiration

To give you an idea, here are a few changes Brailsford implemented:

  • Optimized the cyclist’s seating position for aerodynamics.
  • Used indoor washing machines for cleaner cycling kits (less skin irritation).
  • Applied alcohol to tires for better grip.
  • Tested which bike paint was the most aerodynamic.

These adjustments might seem minor, but collectively, they all came together to give Gold-Medal results.

Call to Action

Streamline Your Space:

  • Start by reevaluating your showroom layout. Is the movement between the inventory, the service area, and the cash counter as seamless as it could be?

Customer Interaction is Key:

  • Take a page out of the Chick-fil-A customer service book. Their staff’s eagerness to greet customers might seem comical, but it creates a memorable, positive experience. How quickly and enthusiastically are your customers being greeted?

Look at the Little Things:

  • It’s not just about slashing lead times or improving service (RECT or Repair Event Cycle Time) efficiency; it’s about those tiny, seemingly insignificant processes. Is there a quicker way to complete paperwork? Can the coffee machine be placed closer to the waiting area for a better customer experience? Are you utilizing your DMS’ shortcut and hotkey functionality?

Feedback Loop:

  • Create a system for regular feedback from employees and customers. Often, the most impactful insights come from the trenches. 

Embracing Marginal Gains

Adopting Sir Dave Brailsford’s philosophy in the recreation industry is about acknowledging that while the big wins are important, it’s often the small, incremental improvements that lead to lasting success. Start scrutinizing the micro aspects of your operations and watch as they collectively elevate your dealership to new heights of efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Remember, in the “aggregation of marginal gains,” no change is too small to ignore.

Chris Kulaga

Chris Kulaga

Product Manager

    In my role as Product Manager at Lightspeed, I am focused on understanding the product roadmap needs of our Marine dealerships. I have been a Lightspeed team member for more than five years and have held various roles within the company. As someone who takes pride in my expertise on the Lightspeed solution, I find it rewarding to help customers achieve their business goals. Before joining the tech sector, I served in the Air Force where I honed my leadership and technical skills. Today, I apply these skills to my role at Lightspeed, where I am responsible for defining the product vision, strategy, and roadmap. I currently reside in Tri-Cities, Washington with my wife, two pets, and a kitchen where I love to cook. When I'm not working, I enjoy lifting weights and exploring new places. I am also passionate about all things Marine and love learning more about it whenever I can.

Lightspeed is the #1 Dealer Management Solution used within the Recreation industry for a good reason. We provide a completely integrated solution for dealers, OEMs and their customers. Our goal is to help you operate your business more efficiently and profitably so you can spend more time doing what you love.

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