Reporting and Accountability

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How do you hold your managers accountable? There’s the top-down approach where the owner comes up with an annual budget and tells the managers what they need to accomplish each month. There’s also the bottom-up method where each manager builds a budget for his/her department, then the owner rolls these up into a company budget. This is usually the preferred option for most dealerships. In a best-case scenario, department managers have discussions with each of their employees to determine how much each of them can individually contribute. When all employees are involved in the process and believe in the goals, the likelihood of hitting those goals increases exponentially.

While LightspeedEVO includes a Company DOC (Daily Operating Control) report, this report only provides details for each department’s performance. It doesn’t provide the microdetails that a manager can use to identify the individual strengths and weaknesses of employees in each department. It’s also important to recognize that each dealership will focus on a unique set of metrics. While one Parts department might focus on the gross margin, another dealership might find that line items per invoice is a metric that moves the needle.

The data each dealership needs to hold employees accountable is readily available. You just need to learn a few new skills to access that information. Lightspeed reporting is one of the most powerful features of the system. Custom Reports in Lightspeed can be used to analyze almost anything that your employees do each day. Although the system contains many standard reports, the flexibility of EVO means that most dealers will need to tweak these reports to obtain specific data for their dealership.

During your next managers’ meeting, identify the most important metrics that you want to measure in each department. Once you know what these are, build the reports in Lightspeed and then verify that the data is accurate. I’ve found that almost every dealership has one employee who understands how the reporting system works. Have this person build the reports. If you don’t have that employee, then reach out to the Lightspeed support team to let them know what you need.

Once the reports have been built for each department, it’s time to start analyzing the data. Have each department manager run their daily reports and analyze the prior day’s performance. If employees aren’t performing at the anticipated level, then managers should begin asking the important questions. Years ago, when I worked for a corporation, my CEO told me that only looking at reports once a month is like doing an autopsy. In that scenario, there isn’t much you can do with the problems you identify. When you’re proactive and look at daily results, it’s easier to make course corrections.

If you want to step it up a notch, add weekly managers’ meetings to your schedule. At each meeting, managers need to present how they’re performing against the budgets they submitted. If they’re off target, then have them explain what they are doing to get back on track. If a department is doing extremely well, then identify what they’re doing right and be sure to replicate those efforts going forward.

The country’s top dealerships operate like high-performance engines. And like high performance engines, all the departments need to pull their own weight for the dealership to operate at its full potential. If you involve your managers in the process and hold them accountable to the results, you’ll be amazed at what they can achieve.

Mark Sheffield

Mark Sheffield is a United States Army veteran and former Dealer Principal who currently facilitates multiple 20 Groups for Spader Business Management. When he’s not assisting with dealership performance, he can be found at the rifle range or digging holes with his backhoe. Contact him at MSheffield@Spader.com or read more articles on his blog.