Not too long ago, Geoff Riordan, the President and Owner of AAMSCO Identification Products, Inc. asked some members of his staff how they thought the dealership was doing. It had been some time since the company had undergone a Dealership Analysis Program with Prosperity Plus, so Riordan was simply curious to see what his key people were thinking.
The answer he got back surprised him.
"They looked right at me and said 'we see a big difference in you. You have a more positive, calmer approach in how you manage the business.' I think a lot of the credit has to go with Prosperity Plus," Riordan says. "It's had a calming effect on me and the entire organization."
Now don't think for a minute Riordan or his team was disorganized or unproductive. A former newspaper journalist himself, Riordan is used to multi-tasking against multiple deadlines. So moving information, work, orders and products through a company was familiar territory. Yet, things can always be improved upon and that's what AAMSCO's team has realized in more ways than one, from the Dealership Analysis Program on out to the followup consulting it has received from Prosperity Plus Management Consulting, Inc.
By definition, the Dealership Analysis Program itself is a program Prosperity Plus developed to help executives like Riordan assess their business from an exterior viewpoint. It's a diagnostic consulting program that identifies the areas of an operation that may be slowing or preventing the achievement of certain goals or purposes. Businesses that go through the program often discover it's not a matter of ripping routines apart, but rather fine-tuning specific practices, or dropping in a new, highly workable method that's been known to work elsewhere.
In AAMSCO's case, the Dealership Analysis Program was an eye opener. It drilled into the company's overall goals, install base, key business statistics, profitability, cash flow, productivity, marketing plans, staff attitudes and more. At first, Riordan was a little apprehensive about starting the program, not because it would mean bringing an "outside resource" into the fold. No, it was actually the level of detail and complexity the program appeared to go after.
"Early on I had some anxiety before the conference calls," he admits. "I kept feeling the attention was going to be on all the things we were doing wrong. I soon realized I was worrying about nothing. The consulting approach has always been on simply doing things better."
What exactly did Prosperity Plus do for AAMSCO to ease the anxiety and improve the scene? For Riordan, the answer is twofold. "The consulting group really understands the industry and knows exactly how to give you the smaller pieces of the puzzle in a way that keeps the whole picture from being overwhelming," Riordan says. "You realize the depth of what you're getting into after the picture comes into view."
The second part of that question lies within the pieces of the puzzle itself. Shortly after the analysis was completed AAMSCO adopted a sales points system that creates a disciplined weekly tracking mechanism for sales reps based on activities and results.
Again, we go back to Riordan for his input. "At first there was some kicking and screaming from the sales reps, which, in turn would cause me to clench my fist and slam a few doors, but now that we've put this points system in, we've got everyone really on board with this. It's been fantastic. They're doing their weekly battle plans. We're looking at what it'll take to close each deal more carefully. And we're spending less time chasing things that won't materialize without the proper actions, and the reps are getting rewarded based on what they produce."
Upon closer inspection, the statistics reveal an even more remarkable result. Fourth quarter gross sales for 2010 were 49% higher than they were for the same three-month period in 2009. "I can attribute a lot of this increase to the timing of the sales team utilizing the points program," Riordan says. "We introduced them to this program in the second quarter of 2010 and by the fourth quarter we starting seeing the end result."
So you see the Dealership Analysis itself is the beginning. The recommendations that come out of it - such as the points program AAMSCO's using - are what drive improvements. In the first phase you learn and discover. The second phase is the application, and that's what AAMSCO's going through now as it implements other tools including Management by Statistics, Organizing Board, Hat Packs and other tools.
Occasionally there are new pieces of tech to learn. For example, when the executive team is tempted to look at a new product to market, they run the idea through the 12 Maxims of Programming before committing resources to the endeavor. Written up as a policy letter in the 1959 by L. Ron Hubbard, author of one of the largest bodies of management technology in existence, the Maxims of Programming reference is a step-by-step guideline managers can use to assess the worthiness of a new project and determine its potential to either cause distraction or success to any organization.
"I really have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Hubbard for developing these tools," Riordan says. "We have certainly gained a great deal from the information and the policies he's written over the years. Knowing how far we've come in just the short time we've worked with Prosperity Plus and with this management system, I really am looking forward to what we're going to accomplish in the future."