Performance Excellence and Organizational Change
Performance Excellence Profile: Park Place Lexus1
At its two locations in Piano and Grapevine, Texas, Park Place Lexus (PPL) sells and services new and pre-owned Lexus vehicles, and sells Lexus parts to the wholesale and retail markets. PPL is part of the family of Park Place Dealerships (PPD), which includes eight dealerships with 12 franchises. In 1994, PPL began benchmarking business practices outside of the automobile industry, with the intent of emulating the best business practices it could find and bringing innovation to the industry. Four years later, the company conducted its first internal assessment using the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence to identify areas for improvement, and adopted the brand "Experts in Excellence" as a sign of its dedication to quality. Today, PPL ranks among the country's top Lexus dealers. With its mission, "To provide an extraordinary automotive purchase and ownership experience" as a foundation, the dealership's "House of Quality" graphically depicts the organization's direction and represents its culture. The four Core Convictions—integrity, outstanding client experience, commitment, and winning —provide the structure of the house. Known as "The Big Hairy Audacious Goal," the organization's vision, "Be the unparalleled retail automotive group in the United States," forms the roof of the house. The dealership uses many means to identify ways to improve, including an annual strategic planning process and self-assessment using the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence. A quarterly meeting, called "Driving Excellence," is used by dealership leaders to assess progress to goals and performance levels. Improvement activities are planned, executed, tracked, and standardized using action plans that result from the strategic planning process or through PPL's problem-solving process known as DRIVE—Define the problem, Recognize the cause, Identify the solution, Verify the actions, and Evaluate the results. PPL's Listening and Learning process provides a systematic way to identify client needs and then deliver the best service possible. PPL acquires information about its clients from a variety of sources, including client comments and concerns, follow-up interactions after sales, customer surveys, and focus groups. This information is used to develop detailed profiles of clients, identify key customer needs and preferences, refine its service offerings, establish corporate and Member performance goals, and target marketing and improvement opportunities. A database that includes all interactions with clients is available through an extensive IT network to all Members who deal directly with customers, from sales consultants and finance managers to service and parts department Members. Leaving nothing to chance, PPL has established performance standards for almost every activity that requires contact with clients, including requiring phones to be answered within three rings and e-mail to be responded to within 24 hours. It has determined the key requirements of clients for both its sales and service departments. For example, clients require that sales consultants be courteous, knowledgeable, respect the clients' time, and honor commitments. For service, requirements include fixing the car right the first time and providing an accurate time estimate for repairs or service. In a highly competitive job market, PPL has a stringent hiring process that includes aptitude and personality tests to ensure that the organization has the right people for the right job. Once hired, Members follow their training plan that includes classroom training, on-the-job training, and coaching and mentoring aimed at helping them be successful. In addition, Members who deal with clients receive Client Delight training. The company also conducts specialized training related to health, safety, and wellness; quality improvement and...
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