Last year, when we purchased the Chevrolet store, I had no idea of the additional work and strain involved in overseeing two stores. For years, my managers and I have been able to analyze historical data to be able to predict and adjust each year for continued growth at our main store. However, when we purchased the Chevy store, I did not want any of the past data of the store. I had spent some time before the takeover going through their books and how they did business and I knew that we would want to start from scratch. So, basically, for the first year we had the store, I guessed on my forecasts and the growth. Now that we have had the store for a year, I am able to look back and see the gradual growth we have been able to accomplish.
Going over all of the data I have for the new store, I realized that we had out performed the abilities of my manager for the Chevy store. Once I realized this, I started to add additional personnel to help support him with the job and continue our growth. However, he has not been able to figure out how to delegate the day to day tasks or how to plan the workload of the day. In the past few months, we have caught him turning away customer pay work in order to keep up with our internal workload. He has done this even when technicians are not busy. He is aware that the owners and I track all of the internal work we have through several programs, but unless I am physically at the store, there is no way I am able to see that we are turning away walk in customer pay work.
We are now in the process of acquiring a third dealership—also located in Oklahoma—close to our Chevy store. Fortunately, this one is another Ford store, something with which I am very familiar. When we took over that Chevy store, it took me several months to figure out all of the General Motors requirements and reporting. In a few days, my parts manager and I will head to Oklahoma to inventory the on-hand parts of our new store for the purchase agreement to be completed. With the addition of another store, I know that I will have to spend a lot more time in Oklahoma to set up all of the processes we have in place at both of the other store.
While I am in Oklahoma, I will let the service manager of the Chevy store go. I have already hired his replacement and my new manager spent the last week in Leavenworth with my managers and myself learning our process and our expectations. Normally, before I let anyone go, I would check to see if we had a different position he could do. However, since we have spent the last year trying to build up our business in Oklahoma and now, knowing that he has turned away work, I feel that he betrayed my trust and I would be unable to trust him again.
Now, even though I have a year’s worth of data for the Chevy store, I still have problems forecasting the store. I do not know exactly how much work we have had entering the store that has been turned away. For now, I have to believing that the marketing we have done for the Chevy store has worked and for now, I will just keep doing what I have been doing. Hopefully, my new manager will follow the process and allow us to continue to grow and never send work away.