The automotive industry has long prized efficiency. Starting all the way back with Henry Ford’s assembly line in 1913, the people and companies who create, test and sell automotive vehicles tend to love processes that waste as little (time, money, headaches) as possible, and are fundamentally easy to learn, implement and improve.
In fact, the world of project management—essentially, the art of doing things well, quickly and consistently—often draws direct inspiration from the automotive industry.
Take kanban, for instance. Kanban (Japanese for “signboard”), the method at the heart of “lean” and “agile” project management movements, derives its name from a process first seen in Toyota’s production system. Here’s how it works: Whenever the number of parts in a worker’s bin falls below a certain line, that worker sends a signal to whoever provides the parts earlier in the supply chain, and receives a fresh bin. As a result, everyone always has exactly what they need—no more, no less—exactly when they need it.
Sounds simple, right? Maybe even familiar? That’s because, in all likelihood, your organization is already using kanban (or a technique like it) to manage initiatives such as marketing content development or the sales pipeline. The beauty of a repeatable process like kanban is that it normalizes things that would seem otherwise unpredictable or overwhelmingly huge by breaking them into manageable, predictable pieces.
High-performing organizations apply this kind of thinking to what may be the most unpredictable and overwhelmingly huge process of all: workforce compliance. Our research shows that dealerships that automate their compliance programs are, on average, more productive and successful—because they’re better prepared for litigation or an audit.
Our research shows that dealerships that automate their compliance programs are, on average, more productive and successful—because they’re better prepared for litigation or an audit.
And legal disputes and enforcement actions are far from the only unpredictable elements that come to bear on a dealership’s compliance program. A dealer has to ensure that…
- all staff are trained and up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations
- all vehicle history disclosures are accurate and complete
- no inventory is currently subject to an open recall
- all forms and customer agreements are legally sound
- no financing partners are out of compliance with Fair Lending regulations
…and a whole lot more. Factor in multiple rooftops, extraordinary rates of employee turnover and the sometimes-volatile customer interactions that can happen at any dealership, and the idea of a repeatable process seems thousands of miles away.
But take a step back from the messiness of spreadsheets and emails for a moment, and consider what your compliance management system has in common with the Toyota factory floor. (Don’t worry: You don’t have to be a Toyota dealer to participate in this exercise.)
- Different people managing different operations? Check.
- Lots of moving parts? Check.
- Supervisors/regulators ensuring everything is functional and up to code? Check.
- A responsibility for customers’ safety and happiness? Check and check.
If Toyota’s factory workers can put together automobiles consisting of 30,000 parts at a rate fast enough to meet the demand for millions of vehicles every year, your dealership can meet its compliance obligations by following the same philosophy. Again, the key is ensuring the right people get exactly what they need, exactly when they need it.
At Compli, we believe compliance is a repeatable process. Our compliance management solution automatically delivers manageable, bite-sized compliance activities to your employees based on each employee’s role at your organization.