It can be a challenge for any company to maintain consistency, and not just for goods and services — the people who deliver or provide them should be held to the same high standards to guarantee business success. When you’re a multinational organization that produces four brands of vehicles, it can be downright tricky.
Chrysler LLC (formerly DaimlerChrysler) tackled this issue and leveraged the resulting data to promote strategic education efforts that have led or are leading to additional success.
Specifically, the company sought to track, manage and positively affect its Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the summer of 2004, Mark Place, senior consultant at Latitude Consulting Group, started to do his initial analysis for Chrysler.
“What Chrysler needed was a way to evaluate dealers in a sort of easily digestible way, both for the dealership owners and managers, as well as for the corporate and field personnel who might be interacting with the dealership,” Place said.
Patrick Kittle, director of Chrysler’s Five Star program, which seeks to highlight high-performing dealerships, said the company worked closely with Latitude Consulting to develop a dealer score card. The score card helps Chrysler assess its dealers’ performance against a set of key performance indicators such as net profits,
minimum sales responsibility and customer satisfaction scores.
Combined with Latitude’s learning management system, the dealer score card has provided a great deal of business data that Chrysler has used to better develop learning and development opportunities for its associates.
“Chrysler is interested in improving all its dealers,” Place said. “The score card is one tool to help optimize the entire dealer network.”
This is in no small part due to the depth and breadth of what the score card measures, Kittle said.
“It provides corporate office, field personnel and our dealer body with performance measurements along 37 different metrics, based on a 1,000-point system, spanning business activity from sales and marketing to customer service, vehicle finance and repair,” he said.
Further, the dealer score card has helped Chrysler hone in on areas of need among its dealership personnel members.
“The combination of knowledge-transfer and performance-tracking solutions allows Chrysler to assess dealer progress toward key performance metrics and targets specific development opportunities,” Kittle said.
Accordingly, Chrysler has taken the real-world findings from the score card to create programs at the Chrysler Academy (formerly the DaimlerChrysler Academy).
“In dealer development or training, the old adage applies: ‘If you can’t measure it, you cannot manage it’ — information is vital to making business decisions in today’s marketplace,” Kittle said. “For the Chrysler Academy, which is responsible for all dealer training, using financial and sales performance is a way of life.
“Training no longer simply tallies how many people attended a class or what score they received on a final exam. Rather, training has evolved — now, the most important metric is, ‘What change occurred in the business process back in the store as a result of training, and how has that change affected the bottom-line performance of the dealership?’”
Kittle said Chrysler might consider implementing a similar sort of dealer score card for its international markets, and if it chooses to do so, it would have the option of extending learning and certification courses to dealers, as well as gauge dealer performance and identify critical factors that affect overall dealership performance.
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