Hazleton Automall Stops by the Smart Compliance Podcast (Interview)
“We have so many people breathing down our necks ” says Iris Grupski, the CFO from Hazelton Automall. “We have DMV. That’s all over and above the federal guidelines and laws that are out there. Then the manufacturer that makes sure that your technicians are master trained. You can streamline all those trainings within Compli.” Iris stopped by and chatted with us about dealing with the scrutiny, keeping up on regulations and how Compli has helped them maintain a compliance rate above 90%.
Listen in on the interview with Iris we recorded for our Smart Compliance Podcast.
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We’ve got a transcript of the conversation below:
Iris, let’s start by talking about what it is that you do.
Iris: Well, my name is Iris Grupski. I’m the CFO for eight large car dealerships in the United States. Four of them being brand new stores in Hazleton, PA, Pennsylvania. Two being in New Jersey, a Cadillac store and a Honda store. Our Honda store is one of the largest stores in the country.
Iris: We have had a Nissan store in Dearborn, Michigan, for two years and we just opened another one in Macomb, Michigan. The Dearborn store has been a launch Nissan point, because it beats out every single domestic store out there.
Iris: And we have been written up with Automotive News, because we have done what nobody else has been able to do to pierce the domestic veil out there, because it’s such a … Ford, GM country, per se.
Iris: We’re very proud of that, we’re very proud of that.
Well, that’s a lot of places and miles to manage. This is an industry that has a pretty tight regulatory environment, correct?
Iris: Yes. That’s why we love Compli, because … I really do. I find it … It’s a peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about people not training or doing what they’re supposed to be doing, all of the … Just the federal legal forms alone. You have to be so particular as to what you get from each employee before they even start. Then throughout the whole year to make sure that they’re trained and to make sure that they take … Nowadays, with harassment, with just compliance alone, it is such a … There’s such a big variety of forms or trainings that have to be done, and especially now in our industry, because we’re governed by the banking industry, as well as the sale’s industry. We have so many people breathing down our necks.
We have DMV, Department of Motor Vehicle breathing down our neck. That’s all over and above the federal guidelines and laws that are out there. Then the manufacturer that makes sure that your technicians are master trained. You can streamline all those trainings within Compli, because you can not only download from your law forms, you can also download or create your own forms and your own training guidelines that you need. It’s such a unique tool. I find anybody that doesn’t have it is a fool, because you just can’t stay on top of it all.
You’ve been doing this a while. What did you do before you found Compli?
Iris: Well, we did it by hand, right? We had all these folders. We had these thick folders and you got to keep all of this, especially when it comes to payroll. Certain forms have to be kept a lifetime. As long as the owners are alive, those forms have to be kept.
Iris: God forbid … Oh, yeah. It’s very strict. I mean, most forms are three years, and then you have seven years, and then you have another thing in the automotive industry, certain forms have to be kept for 10 years after the expiration of a deal with a customer, right?
Iris: If I have a finance contract, or a lease contract that is three years, or five years, or seven years, I have to keep documents for 10 years after it expires, after that deal expires. Now let’s say, a customer comes back seven years later and says, “You know what? Your technician didn’t do the right thing.” If I have Compli and I can go back to you and say, “Guys, can you pull out … This guys been gone for five years, but can you pull this up for me?” I can pull it up-
It’s all right there.
Iris: Manually … Yeah, it’s all right there. Manually, I probably shredded that thing by now. It’s just, Compli’s an absolutely invaluable tool to have. Like I said, as long as I’m going to be the CFO here, I am going to make sure that we have Compli until the day I retire. That’s for sure.
What about the team at Compli? I would imagine a lot of things kind of change and evolve over time. What’s your experience been like working with them?
Iris: Oh, they are absolutely fantastic. If I call them and I say, “What about this, or can you guide me with this?” Nobody just tells me what I want to hear. If they understand what I’m saying and they can guide me, they will. If they don’t, they tell me, “Okay. Let me find out exactly what you need and how we can help you and then I’ll call you back.” Give me a case. I have a case open right now and I like the fact that he said, “You know what? This is not how it’s supposed to be, but let me find out and I’ll get back to you. Here’s your case number.” I know nobody pulls the wool over my eyes. Everything is on the up and up and I really like the team. I mean, I like the fact that you can always get somebody on the phone right away. That’s another key thing to me. I don’t have to leave messages and wait for somebody to call me back.
Okay, very good. Well, what about, in the situation that you have, all these different locations and rooftops to keep all these people and programs going, how has Compli helped you kind of create order and keep track of things at all those different locations?
Iris: We have a very strict compliance guideline, right? Everybody has to be at 100% before they even start working for us. That means we set them up. After an employee passes everything, and before he starts his first day, they get set up with their ID and they have to finish everything at home. All their training is done. Then I like the fact that Compli sends out emails every Monday morning, so everybody knows, every manager of each employee knows, and every GM knows of every manager, if there’s somebody out there that hasn’t finished something. The reporting tools within Compli, the executive reporting tools are absolutely phenomenal because I can see within … I have a lot of stores. I go into this reporting, executive reporting tool, and I can see all of my employees right there and then and if anybody didn’t do what they were supposed to do.
It’s all right there?
Iris: It’s all right there. It’s a very simple step. On my home tab all the way to the right, I have a tab called, “Reports.” I click on that. I say, “Executive dashboard.” I click on that. With that, everything comes up. I mean, every single one of our employees.
Iris: It’s just, it’s phenomenal. You can actually then drill down as to, “Okay. What did they not do? How important is it?” If it was a form that … Okay, dress code. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s not that important. I’m not going to break somebody’s shoes over a dress code. If it’s, “Okay. He did not do the harassment video,” and that is very important to me, and I’m going to call him, and I’m going to make sure his manager knows, and it gets done, and I can check on it, and it doesn’t matter where I am. I can be in Michigan, or I can be in New Jersey, doesn’t matter. I will find out everybody, what’s going on.
It sounds like Compli definitely helps you sleep a little better at night.
Iris: It does. Right now, my level of compliance is at 94%. I think that’s pretty good. You’re always going to have … I think this is one of the reasons why everybody, even at Compli, realizes how much I love this, because I work this tool. I know how my employees take their job serious too, and I honestly only have a few people that are in the yellow. I have nobody … I think there’s also an orange tool and then a red tool. Obviously, you realize some people are taking their job more serious than others, but when you see that most of your employees, 93% of your employees are in the green.
Meaning, that they did every one of their training. Yes, I will not be afraid that if, let’s say, OSHA walks into one of my buildings and says, “Well, did they do the MS sheets? Did they do that training?” Or if somebody walks in and does a testing of if my cash reporting 8300 forms are done, I know just going by on here, “Okay. I have no issues.” I think it is a very important tool for any executive manager. Any time you have more than a handful of employees, a handful of employees you can manage manually-
Iris: But when you start having dealerships all over the place, or stores all over the place, or you’re not in the store every single day and you have 30, 40, 50 employees, I think this is the best money spent.
Excellent. Well Iris, thank you so much for sharing your stories with us, we really appreciate it.
Iris: You’re welcome.