Archive for May, 2012

Fixed Ops Marketing: Social Media is Word of Mouth Digitized

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Social media expert Kathi Kruse (twitter: @kathikruse) presented recently a webinar on Marketing for Fixed Ops where she explained that “Social Media is Word of Mouth Digitized”. That stuck with me. She discussed how Gen X and Gen Y are talking about your dealership on social media, but they’re ignoring your coupons and ads – and your service department.



Listen to this 2 minute 56 minute YouTube video I extracted from the webinar when Kathi explains how “Social Media is Word of Mouth Digitized”, and where Kathi provides a few examples how to market Fixed Ops on Facebook. If you want to hear more ideas, you can watch the full ondemand webinar at

Do you have good examples how to market Fixed Ops?


Monday, May 21st, 2012

KPA’s latest project,, is a library of knowledge for anyone who works in the automotive industry. The website is home to over 250 recorded webinars created by industry experts in Environment & Safety, Human Resources Management, and Internet Marketing.

The webinar series began three years ago with the philosophy that compliance does not have to be complicated. The first webinars were developed so that our wage and hour attorneys to talk directly to HR specialists at dealerships about regulations as they were being drafted into law. The effort was so successful that our clients overwhelming asked for more webinars, not only in HR Management, but also in Environment & Safety compliance, and this year it was expanded to include internet marketing. KPA’s webinars are now popular in all 50 states, and they are often cited as resources in industry publications from NADA and beyond the automotive industry.

Live webinars are available for free through on most Wednesdays and Thursday.

Read the full press release here.

Study: Safety Inspections Don’t Hurt Profits

Friday, May 18th, 2012

While some businesses complain that workplace regulations damage competitive strategies and destroy jobs, a new study suggests that government enforcement of workplace health and safety rules can save lives without sapping a company’s bottom line.

A new study published in the journal Science followed 409 California work sites that were randomly inspected by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health from 1996-2006. It found that inspected firms saved an average of about $355,000 (an average of 9.4%) in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over the following four years.

“These inspections ironically appear to be creating value for the firms that they are visiting in terms of reduced workers’ comp costs and frequency of injuries,’’ said Michael Toffel, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the study.

Read the full article published by By Sam Hananel at the Associated Press here:

Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits –

No Such Thing as a Free Intern

Friday, May 11th, 2012

A recent article in the New York Times reminds employers that if they do not want to pay their interns, the internships must resemble vocational education, the interns must work under close supervision, their work cannot be used as a substitute for regular employees and their work cannot be of immediate benefit to the employer.

This advice comes amid a number of high profile lawsuits filed by former interns, and national attention on employment practices because of the weal labor market. A rule of thumb to insulate employers against legal action is to pay interns at least minimum wage, and make sure that the job description and pay structure properly classifies the intern.

If you are planning to recruit some summer interns this year, you should check out the Department of Labor’s Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act Fact Sheet as a good starting point to make sure your program is in line with the law.




How to Prevent Most Injuries at Your Dealership

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Radiation burns from Acetylene torches, lacerations from the parts grinder,  a blast of compressed air on the eye -these are just a few reasons why the right PPE and simple safety procedures are so important at dealerships. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 3.3 million Americans suffer from serious occupational injuries every year, but at least 60 percent of these injuries can be avoided by adopting a “safety culture” that emphasizes planning and doing in the safest way possible.

Make sure that your program is based on simple, sound, and proven ideas that are in compliance with existing laws and regulations.  Ultimately, it’s good for the entire company, and results in decreased incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduced costs (including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums) and enhances overall business operations.

Dealer Fined for Fluorescent Tube Disposall – Are You Properly Managing Your Universal Wastes?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The Situation
Recently, a dealership was heavily fined for improper disposal of fluorescent lamps. With the best of intentions, a porter came in on the weekend and took 150 of the dealership’s used fluorescent lamps to a public roundup at a community college. He was not aware that regulations in his area prohibited small and large quantity generators (a common classification for dealerships) from taking universal waste to public events, which are intended for households only. He was greeted by a representative from the county’s hazardous waste division and given a citation on the spot for illegal disposal of hazardous waste. He was then informed that the agency would come to the dealership to perform a full hazardous waste compliance inspection. Regardless of the dealership’s good intentions for disposal, ultimately they were heavily fined for violating regulations.

Lessons Learned

Universal wastes commonly found at dealerships include fluorescent and HID light bulbs, electronic devices, mercury containing equipment, non-empty aerosol cans, and small alkaline batteries. These items are regulated because they contain mercury, lead, cadmium, copper and other substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment.While most dealerships are recycling these wastes, they are unclear about the additional labeling, storage, disposal, and recordkeeping requirements that can expose the dealership to liability.

State and local laws vary between jurisdictions, but a general rule of thumb is to maintain accurate labeling practices in correct storage containers. Labels should include descriptions of the waste products as well as generation dates. Most state regulations don’t permit wastes to accumulate for more than a year, so don’t let stuff pile up in the back room. Remember that containers need to be compatible with their contents. Keep accurate records. Make sure that your subcontractors are accurate in their reporting, and that your records are also up to date.


Get more details about this topic in the May KPA Newsletter on Monday (click here to subscribe).


NADA Workforce Study Deadline Extension

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

NADA has extended the deadline to participate in the workforce study to May 15, 2012. All members who take the survey will receive at no charge the Basic Report comparing their individual dealership to the regional and national industry as well as the Driven Management Guide summary report. The report will provide dealers with solid data to make competitive compensation and benefits decisions and enhance the dealership’s recruitment efforts.

There is no cost to participate in the study. All information will remain secure and anonymous.

The NADA University staff will work with dealership chains to provide an aggregate pull of their payroll data, instead of submitting data separately for individual dealerships.

If you have any questions, contact NADA University’s customer service at (800) 557-6232. Visit to participate.

May Tip of the Month: 3 Steps to Prevent Workplace Violence

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Compliance Tip of the MonthWorkplace violence is a risk that can be managed. It should be a priority for all HR managers because homicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the workplace for all workers, and it is the #1 cause of death for women in the workplace (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Are your employees safe? Take these three steps to ensure a safe work environment.

3 Steps to Prevent Workplace Violence

1.    Assess risk

  • External factors- crime rate around work location, hours of operation, working with public, etc.
  • Internal factors- intense workloads, restructuring, ignoring warning signs etc.

2.    Plan of action

  • Workplace security measures to manage identified risks
  • Zero Tolerance and Violence Prevention Policies communicated and acknowledge by all employees

3.    Educate workforce to recognize, report and prevent occurrences of violence
Learn how to make the three steps work for you in this free recorded webinar:
How to Prevent Violence in the Workplace