Who is in your neighbourhood?
Updated: Jul 20
Why tracking trends and market conditions outside of the industry can be important.
We all spend some significant time (and energy) to ensure that we are aware of trends in our industry, and so we should. However, are we spending enough time ensuring that we are aware of the local conditions (outside of our industry) that also impact the dealership?
Local and regional differences can have an important impact on the dealership. This is true in areas that we may not think about. In addition to the obvious trends and market data that related to customers, knowing what is happening in the local context can also help us increase our knowledge and understand the impact in relation to Health and Safety, Employment Standards, Talent Acquisition, Retention, Compensation, Labour Relations and much more.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Are you aware of the financial penalties that have been levied in your area in the last 3 months for infractions such as safety violations?
Can you identify a new focus area for Ministry field visits?
Is there a "new player" in town that is offering employment and able to attract talent well?
Has there been an increase in unionization in your area?
Can you recall the last time ANY industry in your community had a regulatory blitz?
If you are not able to answer any of these, then you may want to consider increasing your awareness of the climate in your area.
The impact can be meaningful. Here are just a few examples of why:
Knowing the trends in financial penalties can assist you in developing focus areas for your safety program. If you were aware that penalties for certain infractions had doubled in your community, that may prompt you to reassess both your compliance and the diligence of staff. This is also a data point that can indicate future blitzes, problem areas for the region, or focus points for the community that can also relate to your corporate citizenship. It is also a great opener for managerial discussion so that the dealership reduces complacency. Lastly, in smaller communities, if the infraction was significant, it could also be having an emotional impact on someone in your dealership.
Field visits are a fact of life. Most people dread them, but you don't need to. If you were able to predict some likely areas of discussion for the visit, it would certainly go a long way to increasing the comfort level of having the field visit done. It also has some of the similar benefits as knowing the penalties.It increases your focus and preparation to be operating as a best practice instead of just skimming by with minimal compliance. It can also be a predictor of potential culture shifts and what is at the centre of attention, not just for the Ministry, but the population as a whole.
Knowing who is on the playing field can have a dynamic impact on business overall. This one data point can touch your operations in relation to retention. talent acquisition, competitive compensation, safety focus, customer behaviour and even (in some cases) access to vendors and supplies. This may sound slightly dramatic but for those of you who have been in business long enough, think back to the days when Walmart first came to town. Try to remember the impact and the uncertainty that brought to the business community. A more recent example is the availability of PPE and cleaning supplies. Bigger businesses with bigger orders can often be a vendor's bigger priority when supplies are tight. Don't forget about the little guy either- a small new contender who can treat people like family, can also sneak up and have an impact on both staff and customer behaviour too.
Explanations like this can apply to all the questions posed, and many more.
To keep yourself informed, here are a few suggestions:
Be sure you are subscribed to your local government email list for announcements and media releases.
Join the local chamber, business groups or forums and talk to the business leaders in your area outside of the automotive industry.
Go visit the new player in town, especially if it is a small business. Supporting the new local coffee shop may reap its own returns. In addition to any information that you learn, referrals, in-kind business and possible partnerships on events and awareness campaigns may be small but positive outcomes.
Track your own data insights and analytics for changes that may require a deeper dive.
Watch and listen. Pay attention to your physical surroundings. For example, is there a new large commercial build down the road? Did you see billboards that someone is mass hiring nearby?
If you are unclear on how data insights outside of the industry relate to your business, we can help. If you would also like more information on using data insights to make stronger strategic decisions, we'd love to chat!
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.