Digital issues of National Oil & Lube News, the trade magazine for the preventive maintenance industry
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56 NOLN | www.noln.net For More Information Contact: Walsh, Long & Company 25 S. Washington Street Naperville, IL 60540 (630) 527-9933 email@example.com rhinotufftanks.com Make room for the things that matter... •Stackable •Organized •Efficient RTT-6280 VIEWPOINT Making It Happen Back to Basics by Kit Sullivan A few years ago I returned to the "bell-to- bell" daily grind of operating a lube shop as my partner and I began our latest ad- venture in the wonderful world of quick lube craziness. Prior to this new chapter in my life, I served as the corporate director of Train- ing for a very large multi-unit chain for about seven years. My time there was wonderful, and the exceptional and con- sistently high level of managerial skill, tal- ent and positive attitude utilized on a dai- ly basis by all of the supervisory staff was truly an amazing achievement, consider- ing what unfortunately and all-too-com- monly passes for management in far too many lube shops within our industry. While I was instrumental in developing and implementing training programs that would increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the hundreds of employ- ees there, I also reaped the benefits of be- ing an employee of such a large and well- run organization, and as such I learned a tremendous number of new skills and thought processes — the kind of thing that you can only get from exposure to the kind of detailed minutiae that most corpo- rations excel at. My years there certainly kept me busy and active within the lube industry, but not in the way that I had been used to beforehand. Most days were spent con- ducting classroom training, developing new training procedures and materials, researching new technical aspects of our business, etc.; every now and then I would be able to actually spend some time in a store working with employees, customers and managers. e one thing I missed the most was being able to spend a lot of time talking to customers and ensuring that the famous "Kit Sullivan Experience" was being served up full-force to each and ev- ery customer. (Well, maybe one day it will be famous!) As the new chapter unfolded and the prospect of actually being "boots on the floor" every day loomed closer and closer, I was terrifically excited about actually be- ing able to recreate the great times (not to mention the great success) I had as a store manager all those years ago. And to be as open as I can, I was a little scared, too. Did I still have what it takes to get the job done? I am certainly older, slower and, unfortunately, fatter than I was in my prime, but would those things really hurt me? Could I still keep up the pace with the youngsters in my shops like I used to? Are the customers the same to- day as they were before? ese thoughts and many like them plagued me daily up until the very day I opened for business and greeted my first new customer in more than seven years. Of course, it is not in my nature to let those around me know this, so my out- ward appearance then was what it has al- ways been: supreme and unshakeable con- fidence in customer service. I am happy to say that it all came rush- ing back to me full-force within the first two minutes of the first customer, and I am now convinced that today's custom- ers are even easier to please than those of years ago. I don't know exactly why I feel that way, but I do. So, you might be asking yourself: "What does this have to do with 'back to basics'?" I'm glad you asked.