Dealership Certification Helps Control Business Costs

By Thom Dammrich

Happy New Year! If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made a laundry list of New Years Resolutions for 2009—some of which you’ll stick to, and others that will fall by the wayside almost as soon as they were realized. One resolution you shouldn’t lose sight of, however, is the drive to make your business the best it can be during these challenging economic times. It’s no secret that 2009 is already shaping up to be a tough year for the marine industry. But here’s something you may not know: One of the best ways to help reduce operating costs at your dealership is to enroll in the Marine Industry Dealership Certification program.

There’s a multitude of ways Dealership Certification can help keep business costs down while simultaneously improving day-to-day efficiencies to help you improve your bottom line. Here’s a few of the main highlights:

Actively pulling in customer requirements. The process is not passive. A dealerships’ flaws become immediately visible through the program’s structure. The result: An organization that is constantly getting better, which, in turn, reduces re-work, returns, and repeatable mistakes.

Providing a continuous test of your business. Certification provides an ongoing test of your own sales and service processes against customer requirements. It actively determines value added vs. non-value added features via customer feedback, thereby streamlining processes. This streamlining translates to lower operating costs, and the benefits go right to a dealers’ bottom line.

Providing responsiveness and flexibility. By improving the responsiveness and flexibility of your organization based upon customer feedback, Dealership Certification automatically leads to more efficiency, which reduces unnecessary costs. It’s the best way to measure improvement against customer requirements, which, of course, leads to lower operating costs.

Providing acceleration and velocity in constantly improving operations. The program actively and quickly finds and repairs short-comings and improves quality through waste elimination.

Creating a culture of excellence.” The program is designed to find redundancies, unclear handoffs, unnecessary decision points, delays, waste, bottlenecks, defects, and re-work. It builds a new culture internally that’s owned by your employees via a process of self discovery. Even adjustments as simple as improved traffic flow through showrooms to the service department have resulted from Dealership Certification program suggestions.

Creating more effective use of fewer employees. Dealership Certification results in better operational efficiency, which makes everyone more productive. New employee communication links with Certification also bring better cost saving ideas to the surface. These benefits can help fine-tune the correct number of employees needed to run your business, and highlight those positions you can do without, creating a more efficient overall operation. Dealers often end up with less people getting more work done after going through the Certification process.

These are just some of the ways Dealership Certification can help get your business on the fast track to success in 2009. And to make it even easier to get Certified than ever before, the Marine Industry Dealership Certification program is implementing a series of online Launch Workshops beginning this month to reduce program costs for participants and make it more convenient for dealerships to earn the “Marine Industry Certified” designation. The new web-based workshops provide exactly what the dealers themselves told us they wanted: A quality program that keeps dealers’ costs as low as possible.

Upcoming web-based Launch Workshops are scheduled for the following dates:

  • January 20-21
  • February 24-25
  • March 17-18
  • April 7-8
  • April 21-22
  • May 12-13

For additional information about the 2009 online Marine Industry Dealership Certification Launch Workshops and what they entail, download a workshop registration form at or call (800) 975-7894.

Since the Marine Industry Dealership Certification program was officially launched in November 2005, 435 dealerships have achieved “Marine Industry Certification.” The full list of Marine Industry Certified dealerships is available on both and The “Find a Certified Dealer” area of is now one of the sites’ Top 10 most visited pages.

For additional information about the Marine Industry Dealership Certification program or specific details regarding how to enroll, contact Terry Leitz at (312) 946-6500;

Thom Dammrich is president of Grow Boating Inc. and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

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