Leveraging data and technology to drive efficiency and productivity into service shop operations will be the focus of three educational sessions at the upcoming Service Opportunities Learning Day (SOLD) during virtual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Introduced in 2013 as an independently run, service-centric training event and compendium to the parts-heavy agendas of HDAW, SOLD was brought under the HDAW umbrella last year when the event transitioned its venue.
Historically held at the beginning of the aftermarket’s biggest week, this year’s SOLD agenda was shifted to Tuesday when HDAW was forced to adopt a virtual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s safe to say the pandemic will receive some attention next Tuesday, this year’s SOLD speakers say the presentations they’re creating for the service community won’t just focus on how to combat the pandemic, but also how to implement technology, data analytics and business strategies that will remain useful for many years to come.
COVID-19 is a remarkable challenge for all businesses, but it’s still ultimately (hopefully?) a temporary problem. However, other issues such as how to maximize technician productivity, capitalize on marketing resources and assemble cohesive long-term business plans are challenges service shops have faced for decades, and will continue to battle well after the pandemic subsides.
From Mad Men to Moneyball: How to win at shop management
Presented by Fullbay Founder and CEO Jacob Findlay, this session will address the impact of workforce efficiency on service shop productivity and will dive into the available resources service providers can use to better track and analyze their business.
While technician efficiency has been a topic at SOLD before, previous sessions have focused on how efficiency is calculated and how small shifts in efficiency impact a business’s bottom line. Findlay hopes to expand on that, showcasing business management solutions available today that offer service shops real-time productivity metrics, which can be leveraged to create smart, achievable goals to grow one’s business.
In an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive, Findlay says service providers unable or unwilling to capitalize on internal data in today’s market may be putting their future in jeopardy.
“You can’t just find a few techs and make sure there’s cash in the bank and have a successful shop anymore,” he says. “You run the risk of the guy across the street adopting these metrics and stealing your techs and your customers.”
Findlay says his session will detail the vast number of metrics available to service providers through shop management software, and how shops can choose which metrics they should prioritize to hit specific goals.
“Your time and energy is a scarce resource,” he says. “You need to decide which metrics you should focus on that will have the biggest impact on your business.”
Online marketing tools to grow your business
Finding the right tools to prioritize also will be a focus for Brianna Anderson, owner of BEAST Analytics, in her SOLD session. Anderson has been tasked with educating service shops about the wide array of digital marketing resources available for small businesses, and how to determine which tools are most likely to lead to business growth.
Anderson says for any business today, “there are so many places where you can be online, but there are only certain places where you absolutely have to be.” She says next week’s session will focus predominately on the latter, and how small businesses can build an online presence that maximizes their exposure while minimizing their expenses.
“I want to help people to understand how to be found,” she says.
In addition to listing these essential online locales, Anderson also plans to touch on how businesses can use website analytics to determine audience engagement across their online platforms and develop complementary marketing initiatives.
She says far too often businesses throw time and resources into creating an online presence without having any strategy for how to leverage that online presence once it is created.
Anderson admits that’s a lot to cover in a short period of time, but she says just understanding the fundamentals of online marketing can go a long way for small businesses like service shops. “If you can do the foundational things perfectly, [then] you’re 80 percent of the way there,” she says.
Operations, Training & Leadership: An introduction to EOS, entrepreneurial operating system
Next week’s SOLD agenda also features Ian Tonks of Traction Trainer. Tonks is a certified implementer of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a comprehensive set of concepts and practical tools to help entrepreneurs achieve business success.
Tonks says he was recruited to speak at SOLD after helping to implement EOS for an industry supplier and is excited to offer a synopsis of the method to the service shop industry. He says EOS was carefully designed to help “entrepreneurs get more out of their business,” and says he believes next week’s event will offer clear takeaways for any business owner who attends — even if they never pursue a larger EOS implementation in their operation.
Tonks says the value of EOS comes from its simplicity and universality. The EOS model is built on six core tenets that exist in any business: vision, data, process, traction, issues and people. Tonks says when implementing EOS within a company, he works with entrepreneurs to identify how those tenets impact an operation and how they can be used to amplify success.
He plans to offer a high-level assessment of how service shop owners can do that during Tuesday’s presentation, touching on how crystalizing one’s business vision, gaining traction and accountability from one’s workforce and building helpful functions to use operationally spur business growth.
SOLD attendees will learn “there are simple tools that can enable you to make valuable changes to your business,” he says.
This is the third of four TPS articles previewing HDAW 2021. The first two articles is below. The third article in the series will be posted next Monday.
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