Brad Bossen
For those under the age of about 45yrs the terms Fixed and Variable probably don't make any sense. These are accounting terms given to the departments on the financial statement. Because of their seemingly "fixed" pricing and operating costs the back of the store fell into the Fixed Operations category. The "variable" tendencies of selling prices, sales income, inventory, etc. placed the sales departments in Variable Income. So much for the history lesson. My point today is to raise the question of our unintended lack of expectation for Fixed Operations! Every department, every employee… every attitude, should be variable, period. We each need to look at the core of our departments with a new variable attitude. Nothing is sacred any longer. It's always easier to come up with new ideas than to force those that are old and ineffective. Identify and "sell" your strengths, i.e. location, family owned, free loaners, low overhead, close to public transportation, free shuttle or huge inventory. Management…place your focus and your time on the few employees that are critical to your business instead of trying to "fix" the insignificant many! Good ideas come from many ideas. Service and/or Parts managers should attend weekly sales meetings. Have them give your sales staff little info nuggets on vehicle warranty, accessory installation, nitrogen inflation, services offered, turnaround time for accessory installs, maintenance scheduling, the name and direct line of the 'performance' guy/gal in Parts, free vehicle inspections, VIP customer cards, special order parts policies, Saturday hours of the fixed departments, etc. Prepare to be surprised how little your sales staff know about these topics. Conversely, it would be a great management nugget for the Service and Parts managers to know what models are selling, (maybe the fixed departments could "create" a unique model to help push a slow mover), sales promotions for the weekend, recurring comments/questions from sales customers, used car inventory, lot damage issues, etc. TEAM Management!

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