Retail expert says dealerships are fertile grounds for the morale-killing, business-destroying silo mentality. He offers four recommendations for righting the ship.
As I opened my garage door one morning to get the newspaper, a neighbor accosted me with, “Hey Tom, don’t you work with those conniving automobile dealers?”
Motivating that comment was an unpleasant experience the neighbor’s wife had at a dealership. Apparently, her salesperson had arranged a service appointment to get a part and for a warranty repair. When she arrived at the service drive, her assigned advisor informed her that the part was never ordered and she would have to come back another time.
Upon returning home, my neighbor’s wife called the dealership to express her dissatisfaction. The salesperson told her that the service advisor probably didn’t note the appointment on his calendar, and that the parts department was “notorious for screwing things up.”
The blame game my neighbor encountered is typical in a dealership that is being strangled by departmental silos. Employees, each thinking their department is the chosen one in the dealership, routinely mock and ridicule the efforts of their coworkers in other departments. In effect, they become saboteurs that destroy the business mission of the organization.
Breaking from Tradition
The traditional automobile dealership structure is fertile ground for silos. Sales, service, parts, F&I, Internet, and accounting all perceive themselves as being quintessential to the dealership’s success. Without their particular department being viewed as the most important and the center of attention, how could any of the others even think of surviving?
When departmental silos strangle the growth and development of a dealership, the signs are blatantly obvious:
- There is no defined vision, mission, values, or expected behaviors.
- Managers don’t understand what leadership means.
- Process improvement isn’t a part of the dealership’s culture.
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F&I and Showroom