So I land up in a dealership that is in the middle of a recruitment drive. I join in to help the team there. 2 ads in ABP and 165 people show up for the recruitment process. Kind of reminded me of campus interviews about a year or so back and what I find myself in again in not the very distant future again.
Job market at the ground level also is not in a great shape. You get to meet people of all ages, experiences and backgrounds in the process of screening applications. Not everyone as shaped for an interview process, not everyone who knows what to say what not to say, a few terribly nervous, a few as cool as ever. Different people with different ways to tackle questions asked. End of the day, all aiming for a job, all in need of a job. Few wishing to shift, few looking for their first break, few know what they are doing, even fewer pretending to know what they did.
One things for sure, its not an easy job to evaluate people. The experience sure helps me look a little bit more kindly at the HR departments that have to go through the process of recruitment as a part of their job, month after month, year after year.
A host of good candidates, some young, some very young and a few a little bit too old. A good round of initial screening raises hopes for deployment of quality manpower. All a part of a long term effort to improve the quality of sales force that can sell more vehicles. Heading out of a year that can be best described as turbulent and moving into one that has high aspirations set in an industry that is suffering from some severe supply chain effects duly cascaded cut throat race for billing figures and market share. Product launches, high decibel ads, BTL activities, Brand image, sponsorships and yet nothing that can be a single handedly show you the way for a successful product handling.
Moving ahead in a shaky environment where things have been booming in and out for quite some time now, it is a difficult task to handle channel partners. At the company you have various parameters to look at to review and plan a month:- MS, Industry, Brand movements, Volume, Activation results. At dealerships its just one: absolute volume, this multiplied by margin per vehicle to get the net profit.
It is difficult to push greater sales in a conversation with the dealer, if the volume doesn’t match expectations. So much so on the day you are speaking. These are times you go back to basics. Implement process parameters, standardize systems, benchmark methods and draw out an action plan. Not all actions have a direct impact on volume. But these are what we call hygiene factors, necessary but not sufficient conditions for establishing a better environment to work things out.
Of course all these are imperfect tools. No certain way to determine or justify that what worked exceedingly well in a particular region will work in other regions as well. But it is the nearest approach at mimicking something that works and hope to mimic the results as well. Install best practices, map processes and fix the system to yield results. However this is all in conjunction with problem identification and root cause analysis. Best practices are basically a blanket cover. Implement everything that you see and hope some of it will address your problem areas. Unless you know which are your problem areas you are measuring very different results and tuning down the efficiency in tune with a blanket process.
Manpower recruitment to fill slots proved to be useful in benchmark dealerships, is one such approach. Lets hope we hit a few significant problem areas this time and not blame the results to blanket approaches.