Our second annual conference will be held Nov. 12-13 in Orlando. We’ll focus on generating ideas that you can implement right away while casting an eye on issues shaping the service department of tomorrow.
FOJ Forum II
EVs as a Dealership Service Opportunity
Background: Nate Chenenko founded and leads the mobility practice of Carlisle & Co., an auto industry consulting firm in Concord, Mass.
Forum focus: It’s widely believed that electrified vehicles will need less service, threatening dealer and automaker profits. But Carlisle’s research suggests that any negative impact may be mitigated because EV owners prefer franchised dealerships for service over independent shops or chain repair stores, given the high-quality promise that dealers can make.
A Conversation With Dick Chitty
Background: Dick Chitty was vice president of parts, service and customer satisfaction for Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, from its launch in 1989 to 1995. He turned early recalls of the flagship LS400 into events that enhanced the brand.
Forum focus: Chitty is credited with creating the philosophy that helped make Lexus the industry benchmark for service excellence and customer satisfaction. One of his guiding principles: “People will help support what they create.” He will share his philosophy on setting a direction and allowing individual service departments to chart their path toward that goal.
Trends in Service: Industry Data vs. YOUR Perceptions
Background: Mark Colosimo has spent 18 years at Urban Science, of Detroit. The data and consulting firm takes a scientific approach to help companies worldwide identify where they should allocate resources in order to increase market share and profitability.
Forum focus: Colosimo will lead a live survey of FOJ Forum attendees and compare their views with Urban Science data. The interactive session will shed light on issues that directly and indirectly affect the fixed ops space.
Train Your Technicians to Write Service Estimates
Background: Mark Hargreaves has been service manager of Gator Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Melbourne, Fla., since December. For nearly two decades, he was fixed operations manager of Hendrick Automotive Group.
Forum focus: Why should technicians write service estimates? Because that puts the person who knows the vehicle best in charge of selling service. At the same time, it leads to a better-informed customer with more options.
The ‘Best’ Way to Customer Pay
Background: Before he joined the Universal dealerships in Orlando in 2016, Tom Kane was fixed operations director of AutoNation Toyota Fort Myers (Fla.), running the largest service facility of any dealership affiliated with Southeast Toyota Distributors. From 1998 to 2007, he held several positions at AutoNation.
Forum focus: Today’s consumers want choices. They’re used to “good-better-best” offerings in all sorts of retail environments. Kane will explain why such a strategy works in dealership service departments, too.
On the Front Lines of Safety
Background: Jason Levine heads the Center for Auto Safety, an independent nonprofit group that since 1970 has advocated for vehicle safety, quality and fuel economy. He took over from the late Clarence Ditlow in 2017.
Forum focus: Much of the “performance” discussion in fixed ops is focused on repair orders, unfilled capacity and other measurements. But there’s an often-overlooked dynamic: safety. Levine will discuss the critical public service role that service department employees play in completing recalls, addressing maintenance issues and responding to technical service bulletins. It’s time, he says, to elevate the conversation about the value of a well-maintained vehicle.
The Future of Service in the Era of Shared Mobility
Background: Anthony Rodio joined YourMechanic, now in its eighth year, in 2016. Since then, he has broadened the reach of its mobile mechanics, who are summoned online, to more than 3,000 cities while expanding into fleet services. He has led a number of Silicon Valley startups and has also worked for Microsoft, Amazon, Home Depot and Procter & Gamble.
Forum focus: As the public moves from personal ownership to shared mobility, consumers and the companies that enable flexible ownership models require a more agile approach to auto care. Rodio — whose company urges customers to “skip the repair shop” — will share insights from serving some of today’s largest flex ownership companies in the industry.
Bringing a Championship Mentality to Fixed Ops
Background: Cecil Sims has worked in fixed operations at Mercedes-Benz dealerships for nearly three decades. He has also managed an auto parts store and a parts department at a Volvo dealership. He joined ?Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham in 2016.
Forum focus: When college football coach Nick Saban became part-owner of Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham, he said he wanted to maintain the same level of excellence with his dealership customers as he has with his University of Alabama teams. Sims will discuss how that mindset applies to parts and service.
What Serving Disney Customers Taught Me About Auto Service
Background: Alan Starling is a past president and Florida director of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Starling Automotive Group operates four dealerships in Florida and one in South Carolina.
Forum focus: When Disney World opened nearly five decades ago in Orlando, it redefined customer service for an entire community. Starling will discuss how his experience serving Disney employees, executives and customers has shaped how he manages the dealership service experience.
How a Service BDC Rescued Our Shops
Background: When Sarah Vantine joined Scott Clark Auto Group in 2015, the service departments at the company’s three Charlotte, N.C., dealerships were struggling with customer defections.
Forum focus: Vantine will share her experience and insights in starting from scratch the BDC for her company’s Honda, Nissan and Toyota stores. Before, service advisers were overrun, phones went unanswered and customers walked away. Now, two of every three service customers have appointments.
Focus on the Hours, Not the Dollars
Background: For the past year, Tully Williams has directed service and parts operations for the Niello group of Sacramento, Calif., which sells mostly luxury brands. Before that, he was fixed operations director for the Del Grande Dealer Group, where he was an early adopter of online scheduling tools and related service software.
Forum focus: Williams, a self-described fixed ops junkie, will discuss the switch in perspective that transformed his career. He contends that any service manager seeking to boost margins will benefit from hearing his story.
These three coaches have more than a century of fixed ops experience. But will they be a match for the Fixed Ops Journal Forum audience?
In this “Coaches, Cornered” session, attendees will have a chance to put the experts on the spot with their most pressing questions during a lively, interactive discussion.
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