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.
Putting the back shop
front and center
■ Sewell protege Mark Smith
wants to change how the
industry treats fixed operations
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.
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
have an industry
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Tech exodus: How outdated policies worsen the tech shortage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