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Entries in Business (30)

Wednesday
Jul302014

Leadership

This morning we have The Colonel sharing a coffee, and his thoughts with us.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you look refreshed as usual.

A: Thank You, and just back from a road trip.

Q: What is going on with leadership. As you know there is constant talk about leadership.

A: There is lots of talk about leadership, and when the proverbial s#%t hits the fan, there is a lot of ducking.

Q: What is going on with leadership at dealerships.

A: Great question, what leadership?

Q: Are you implying that dealers owned by "groups" are lacking leadership?

A: It goes beyond that.

Q: Care to be specific?

A: Dealers are in the people business through cars (vehicles). Its that simple, and that complex.

Q: It should be easy to be in the people business with social media, various platforms, and so on.

A: It probably is not easy, its confusing, and misleading. Dealers have all sorts of "techno apps" that often do not flow well together while augmenting the confusion.

Q: Are dealers missing the essence of being in the people business for a lack of leadership?

A: Precisely, its getting lost in the trees, and  missing the forest.

Q: There has to be some leadership, some sense of direction?

A: Absolutely, there is some, but is it enough for 2014?

Q: You point is vague.

A: Good observation, it can be interpreted as vague, and perhaps its the vagueness that is perplexing too many individuals. You need more leadership now, than 10 years ago.

Q: Its more challenging to keep folks aligned and focused on achieving results, closing deals as an example.

A: Precisely, in 2014 the focus must be laser sharp.

Q: Some dealers have exceptional leadership, which seems "old school".

A: Absolutely, it seesm old school because human nature is "old school".

Q: With all the technology one would think...

A: There lies the competitive advantage...

Q: Let the techno apps do all the grunt work, freeing the humans to lead humans.

A: Its quite an advantage for the folks that grasp the "forest".

 

 

Friday
Apr042014

Vroom Room

Good Morning!

DeuceIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment.

Is Spring finally in the air?

A statement by Peter Drucker...

The educated person will therefore have to be prepared to live and work simultaneously in two cultures--that of the "intellectual," who focuses on words and ideas, and that of the "manager," who focuses on people and work.

A statement by Phillip Roth...

The young especially live according to beliefs that are thought up for them by the society's most unthinking people and by the businesses least impeded by innocent ends. Ingeniously as their parents and teachers may attempt to protect the young from being drawn, to their detriment, into the moronic amusement park that is now universal, the preponderance of the power is not with them.

We urge you to reflect on these 2 statements, especially if you are in the auto business. While taking a monent to connect a few dots that capture your attention.

It will be informative and fascinating to see how the GM ignition switch investigation, debacle develops in the coming weeks. The opening round this week was perhaps as expected with the anticipated posturing from all concerned. At some point additional transparency will be shed on "modifying a part, not changing the part number" mystery.

Talking of GM, the product is dramatically better that the sales numbers indicate in Canada. It remains a mystery (you think) as to why GM is not selling more. One gets the feeling that GM refuses to double down, start selling, start winning. Go figure, and yes we could keep on going...

Canadian Sales:

A good March comparable to previous years, and a strong first quarter. As expected some manufacturers gained sales, while others faltered, fair to say that most throttle up in March to arrive at a satisfactory first quarter. Its been a "rugged winter" while keeping in mind that most folks use the Internet which is not affected by climatic conditions.

Our usual old race cars from the Goodwood Members Meeting.

 

 

 

Monday
Mar312014

A Data Conversation - 1

Lets continue our conversation with The Colonel.

Q- Colonel we heard that you were on the leading edge of the Internet a couple of decades ago.

A- Guys what does the Internet have to do with data? Yes...in hindsight I was too far ahead, and perhaps I'm still waiting for folks to catch up.

Q- Lets come back to the challenge, what do you mean?

A- When machines do a bunch of grunt work, they save time, and accelerate time. The Internet enabled machines to connect, while opening other possibilities. Broadband enabled the connections to become increasingly visual. The human brain must remain ahead of all this...

Q- Similar to a Moore's Law for the brain?

A- Great analogy guys...exactly that...the brain has to step it up to deal with the onslaught of data, and the modeling of data.

Q- It seems increasingly easy to get lost in the "data trees" and miss the "data forest".

A- Another great analogy...many folks get suffocated in the data details, losing the essence of the data.

Q- What happens when the data is erroneous, or fraught with lapses.

A- Most folks shy away from that discussion or use the "garbage in-garbage out" analogy. Its easy to fool people with "data" that is presented in a "slick fashion" where the presentation supercedes the quality of the data. 

Q- There are many folks in all sorts of fields talking a good line, about data, Internet, and so on.

A- Yes there are...the reason we have been saying that "you have to be your own editor" for several years now. You can safely say that around any industry there is a level of "pedestrian knowledge" with limited authority that becomes mainstream.

Q- Pedestrian Knowledge what is that?

A- Its a level of knowledge, data, that is easy to understand, it has a wide band of appeal, is repeatable, is transportable, and probably makes money for some folks.

Q- Similar to the idea that everyone knows something about cars, knows something about social media, can access simple metrics and weave a tale around them, can access simple content and use it for their "gain".

A- Precisely...

Q- Lets bring this a little closer to the car business, managing data with spreadsheets, and presenting data with Powerpoints.

A- There is an entire layer of management that for the past 20 years has used spreadsheets and powerpoints to save money, expand markets, and get themselves in serious "deep yogurt". Often selling a tale of BS using both. 

Q- How about dealers, and customers.

A- The Internet empowered the customer and it started 20 years ago. The Internet continues to disintermediate the dealer and it too started 20 years ago. The manufacturers have driven down costs, have passed along costs this vector also started close to 20 years ago. The dealer is caught in the middle, and being distracted by a myriad of forces.

Q- Is it fair to say the dealer has vast amounts of internal and external data?

A- Absolutely, vast amounts of internal data to grasp, comprehend, execute. Now the dealer must deal with a wave of "digital natives" as customers with their own distinct approach, needs, expectations, requirements.

 

 

Wednesday
Mar262014

Data Transformation

A fascinating presentation at TED...on what we know as "big data"

 

Monday
Mar032014

Acceleration of Cycle Times

While "browsing around" acceleration of cycle times caught our attention. One of those moments that just catches you...

What on earth does cycle times have to do with the auto business? Sounds like a term that is applicable to a robot in a manufacturing context.

In a racing environment a lap time can also be interpreted as a cycle time to name just one.

If you have been in the auto business for some time, you have certainly concluded that controlling variables always provides an advantage. 

At some point you also concluded that doing "something" faster provides an advantage.

Obvious that the business is powered by people, enabled by technology.

We all know that the customer is empowered, is compressing time, and cycles.

You know the old saying "Time is either your friend or your enemy". Turning time into your friend is becoming a formidable challenge.

Here is a deal:

While many folks are still fooling around, and keeping very busy with the Internet, Social Media, Mobile, SEO, and so on. Get out of the ditch, aim farther and accelerate the cycle time of your business. Agreed...its stretch that requires additional effort and focus.

It will remove waste, and provide competitive benefits.

An Analogy:

Reflect on the complexities, engineering, technology of a race car. The end result is to have a faster lap time than the competition. Think of the variables in your business, the technology, the critical human element. The end result is to have a faster cycle time in "creating customers" than your competition.

Another Analogy:

Think of sales consultants in a showroom as the pit crew that jumps over the wall with an intimate knowledge of what they need to do, and the cycle time they have, while always seeking to accelerate the cycle time.