Nearly 70 members of AASP/NJ recently gathered at Ultimate Collision in Edison, N.J., to get an informative, useful and “eye-opening” look at how to strategically improve their businesses.
Jerry McNee, owner of Ultimate Collision and president of AASP/NJ, and John Niechwiadowicz of QLC, Inc., presented “Open Your Eyes…And You Will Become a Game Changer.” Using real-life, day-to-day examples, McNee and Niechwiadowicz spurred a healthy, interactive discussion on everything from identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) to practicing effective communication and leadership and how to best manage challenges.
“We are not talking about problems,” said Niechwiadowicz. “We are talking about solutions. There is a lot of opportunity out there. How do you know where the opportunity exists?
“KPIs identify what your strengths are. There is only so much time in one day to work on something, so when you do work on something, it better have the best possible return.”
McNee stressed the importance of KPIs. “If you are not putting in, you are not getting anything out. As a leader, you must know and understand your KPIs because you have to be able to gauge your performance against them.”
The audience was asked to identify their KPI factors in an anonymous poll, and the results were used as part of the discussion to help them see the importance of each major factor: total sales, total labor sales, total P&M sales, average RO (severity), paint hours per RO, technician efficiency, cycle time, touch time and sales per repaired panel.
The discussion on KPIs sparked a conversation about insurance companies and proper repair techniques. McNee told his fellow AASP/NJ members to stand up to insurers.
“You have to stand up to the insurance company and tell them what you need,” McNee said. “If everyone started pushing in the same direction, this stuff would start falling into line.”
Added Niechwiadowicz, “Have you ever had the pleasant surprise of putting something on a ticket and it gets paid? It doesn’t hurt to try.”
Niechwiadowicz pointed out that hours spent researching OEM repair guidelines to fix a vehicle should be counted as a billable expense, something many shop owners don’t take into consideration when writing an estimate and supplement.
Both McNee and Niechwiadowicz referenced the John Eagle case, emphasizing the risk of what can happen if a vehicle is not fixed properly.
“In addition, building a good work culture and leadership team are also crucial factors shop owners must embrace,” said McNee. “You want to be a game changer; you have to have a positive attitude. Accept personal responsibility. Sometimes we are all running 100 miles per hour. You have to slow down and smell the roses and pay attention to what is going on around you. If you don’t know what is wrong, how do you know what to fix?”