Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016 - (Page 20)

Mark Smith, center, says he felt his BMW technicians' skepticism when he met with them for the first time. He's walked his talk by spending $674,000 on equipment in 18 months. COVER STORY DIANA LOTT Putting the back shop front and center ■ Sewell protege Mark Smith wants to change how the industry treats fixed operations Dave Versical I magine shining as a Nordstrom employee for decades and then steering your own fashion retailer. Mark Smith, 51, can relate. He co-founded the Principle Auto dealership group in mid2014, coming to San Antonio with a reputation as one of the savvier fixed operations minds in the business. He had spent 25 years at Sewell Automotive Cos. of Dallas, where he started as a Cadillac service adviser and eventually became COO. Carl Sewell, Smith's longtime boss and mentor, ran a company with a Nordstrom-like reputation for customer service. When Sewell published a book called Customers for Life, that image spread beyond the auto industry. PAGE 20 FEBRUARY 2016 Smith and co-owner Abigail Kampmann have started small: three import-brand stores, which came from her family's business. They chose "Principle" as their name to trumpet integrity. They plan to expand - not just in size, but in the mark they make on auto retailing. If Smith has his way, the back shop will be front and center. "I really want to change the industry, and it's going to come mainly from the fixed side," says Smith, who is COO. There are, he says, hard, practical reasons: "If you are not heavy into fixed operations by the next downturn - unless you got tons of cash in the bank - just figure out who you're going to sell to." And softer ones: "We have an industry that treats SEE SMITH, PAGE 21 Smith: "We have an industry that treats technicians like second-class citizens, and it drives me nuts."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016

Editor’s Letter: Welcome to Fixed Ops Journal
Service Counter: Tracking fixed-ops numbers
Legal Lane: Court cases that affect you
Mobile mechanics: Do shop-free technicians threaten your business?
Mark Smith: A fixed-ops-focused dealer aims to change the industry
Adding capacity: Sales spur FCA, Subaru dealerships’ fixed-ops growth
Richard Truett: Toolmaker targets new techs
Designed for service: A look at a Minnesota dealership’s makeover
Weekend work: Service extends to Saturday, even Sunday
Tech exodus: How outdated policies worsen the tech shortage
Before Xtime: The origins of widely used scheduling software
Older parts: Toyota, Ford respond to older cars on the road
5 minutes with: Ford’s Toney, Toyota’s Laukes
Shop Talk: One question, multiple service directors
Fixed in Time: A look at service of yesteryear

Fixed Ops Journal – February 2016