Prioritizing performance initiatives for fixed ops

With all of the responsibilities facing fixed ops management today, starting a new analytics initiative may seem daunting. We may be tempted to push performance monitoring and analytics initiatives to one side, arguing that we need to adress more pressing operational issues first. Rest assured, performance monitoring and analytics is every bit as "operational" in today's service market as day-to-day execution.

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Gaining access to operational data is every bit as much a question of mapping out and prioritizing between service processes for the highest expected return on analytics as it is about technical details of what database driver or API-endpoint to use when extracting the data itself.

Mapping business processes for analytics

In our previous post Start monitoring service department performance we discussed the problem of not having a performance monitoring process in place for service departments. As fixed operations director one of your responsibilities is monitoring performance. We found that fixed ops management has access to potentially actionable data in their DMS and related systems. In addition, we concluded that the missing ingredient may not be information, instead we found that the issue is actionable knowledge, in the form of metrics and other reporting elements and visuals arranged for at-a-glance monitoring in the form of an information dashboard.

An information dashboard contains a very condensed view of departmental performance. The next question we need to ask: What data do we need in order to gauge performance?

Business process matrix

The first step in filling the gaps in the performance monitoring process is to have a discussion within fixed ops and perhaps top-level dealership management about the service process. A rough sketch of the service process from the customer's perspective may help:

While perhaps not a realistic view of the entire service sales process, the idea is to start thinking in terms of analytical dimensions. In which ways can we inspect engagements and actions along this service process and it's constituent sub-processes? The matrix below might give some guidance:

dimensional_matrix

This matrix requires a bit of explanation. On the rows you have the business processes you want to monitor and on the columns you have all analytical dimensions you want to inspect those processes on.

In this fictional example you could analyze the service request process (acquisition) along the date, vehicle, walk-in/customer, rooftop and receptionist dimensions. Analyzing processes by themselves is great, but the real value comes from analyzing processes along shared (conformed) dimensions.

A major preoccupation in perfomarmance monitoring applications should be the customer analytic. Reading down on the column we can see that the customer dimension is available, with some reservations, along all of our fixed ops sub-processes. This means that you can monitor performance along the customer service journey from first engagement to last service. 

With so many opportuntities for analysis, where should you start? How do you map analytical initiatives to business value?

Analytics initiatives and the prioritization grid

In this simple example you may get away with doing everything all at once. That is, you can build all selected service sales sub-process into your performance monitoring dashboard in one go. Oftentimes, and this is true when you include other functional areas of your dealership such as marketing and sales into your analytics effort, this will not be case.  In these cases, you would use something called a prioritization grid to rank among competing initiatives.

You might need to facilitate a strategy session where you would include all relevant parties that have a stake in performance monitoring, eg. any fixed ops management, the parts director, perhaps the BDC director and the dealer principal. Depending on the scope of the project and the nature of included processes you may well include marketing and sales directors (this blog post tries to keep things as simple as possible, in a real-world scenario you want to include all relevant stakeholders as performance monitoring initiatives are cross-functional in nature).

Depending on what terminology you use, since people with different backgrounds and employment histories use somewhat different words to denote the same things, you might come up with something like this (I draw on Ralph Kimball's data warehousing work here):

prioritization_grid

The X axis represents the level of effort each business process will take to implement. The Y axis represents the level of business impact tha the included processes will have in a performance monitoring context. The easier the process is to extract, model and report the further it will be off to the right of the chart. Harder to implement performance monitoring processes will be to the left.

In a world without budgetary and time constraints you really don't need to order business processes in this way. However, for those of us living in the real world, this type of planning can really help and will add a layer of much needed project sponsorhip to the performance monitoring initiative.

The next blog in this series will give An Example of Fixed Ops Performance Monitoring .

Concluding remarks

I realize that this short blog post is not as exhaustive as it could be and that you will probably have a more detailed and nuanced view of your own performance monitoring. Nevertheless, do keep the following fundamental planning tools in mind when starting or revamping your departmental performance monitoring initiatives:

  • All performance monitoring starts with a firm understanding of the underlying processes and terminology involved in the analysis
  • The value chain in a dealership will oftentimes involve many cross-functional processes and process-owners. To keep things simple, I have occluded many vital business processes, you would need to add all relevant stakeholders and accompanying process as well as map them out to in the business process matrix for optimal business impact
  • In a world without resource constraints all performance monitoring initiatives will be taken simultaneously. For those of us living in the real world, trade-offs will need to take place in order to identify those opportunities with the highest level of feasibility and value to the dealer
Henrik

ExampleCar.com provides Business Intelligence solutions to automotive dealers. Our aim is to "show not tell" how Dealer Principals and Fixed Ops Directors can access and action analytics in their operations. We integrate first and third party data for marketing operations and process improvements. Contact us by phone: +1-(518)-401-0225 / +358 40 532 6009 or shoot us an email: info@examplecar.com

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