PMM Editor’s Viewpoint May 2019.
It’s hard to think of many instances where the old adage ‘you have to spend money to make money’ doesn’t hold water. To get a business off the ground, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s going to cost you. But this wisdom isn’t exclusive to starting a business; it also applies to sustaining and growing one. And yet, utter the word ‘investment’ to many a garage owner and it’s met with a shudder.
In order to fully embrace the power of investment, a shift from a short-sighted strategy to a more long-term outlook is required. You need to look beyond the immediate pain of opening your wallet and consider the potential payoff, which should far outweigh the initial outlay.
In order to run an effective garage, there are many things that you need to invest in, like property, IT, tools and equipment, but it’s arguable that the primary focus of investment should always be people. That doesn’t just mean investing in new staff; it also applies to safeguarding the future of your business by investing in your existing workforce.
“The skills shortage has placed a premium on highly skilled technicians, so if you’re not offering yours the professional development and scope for progression that they desire, you can count on the fact that someone else will.”
On page 30 of this issue, Gavin White, the Managing Director of Autotech Recruit, contextualises the recruitment market in which garages operate, and argues the case for instilling the values of ‘lifelong learning’ in your workforce. According to the company’s research, 90% of technicians seeking employment through Autotech Recruit cite a lack of progression as the overriding factor for them wanting to leave their employer. With training and career development ranking so highly on technicians’ wish lists, can you afford to ignore them?
If there’s one aspect of investment in people that epitomises the need for a long-term approach, it’s apprenticeships. Taking on a young person that may initially be a burden and cost to the business is often viewed as a leap of faith. However, a recent study by the IMI has shown that apprentices typically generate an ROI of between 150 and 300%, and usually generate profit within 12 to 24 months. Furthermore, ‘home-grown’ technicians invariably outperform market- recruited technicians, reducing long-term recruitment and training costs.
Without the right people in your business, its capacity to succeed and grow is inhibited – any switched on leader knows that. But it’s keeping the right people and developing them that you should be concerned with. The skills shortage has placed a premium on highly skilled technicians, so if you’re not offering yours the professional development and scope for progression that they desire, you can count on the fact that someone else will.
Until technology develops to the point where robots can repair cars, your people are the most valuable asset to your business. Invest in them.
Have a great month and enjoy the issue.