Archive for September, 2012

Best Safety Compliance Service

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

What makes KPA different? Our clients and our commitment to them. We always appreciate client feedback, and we are pleased to share this video from Wollam Chevrolet in Ohio about their experience with our Environment and Safety services.

How is your dealership handling safety compliance?

What Exactly Is a “Safety Culture”?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In order to be profitable, an auto dealership needs to implement effective safety procedures. This is why KPA encourages clients to maintain a “safety culture.” But what is that, really?

Safety culture = groups that prioritize safety through consistent beliefs and patterns of behavior

Elements of Safety Culture Include Communication Behavior Training

An effective safety culture features good communication, consistent activity and training. How does your dealership create a safety culture?

Now I realize that sounds a bit abstract. Here’s a different way to explain it: If you just have a “safety first” banner hanging on the wall, occasional meetings on safety and reactionary lectures when something goes wrong, you don’t have a safety culture. A true safety culture exists when all of a dealership’s employees work as a team to

  • Maintain awareness of safety and health issues
  • Quickly report any incidents
  • Anticipate risks in order to prevent accidents before they occur

How do I know I have a “safety culture” in my dealership?

That’s a good question that will save you a lot of money over the long haul. Here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll find in a dealership with a strong safety culture:

  • Safety is top-of-mind for everyone
  • Employees at all levels in the dealership feel responsible for safety
  • There’s open communication about safety issues
  • Safety is valued – employees and management believe it supports profitability and morale
  • Efforts to maintain safety are organized and consistent
  • Effective programs ensure that everyone “walks the talk”

To learn how to do this, you might also want to check out my recent webinar, “How to Develop a Positive Safety Culture.” Also, remember to call your KPA Environment and Safety engineer if you have questions. If you’re not a client, call 866-356-1735 to find out how we can help.

Safety Compliance Issues and Compressed Gas Cylinders

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Oxygen and acetylene compressed gas cylinders are on hand in most service bays, and they are also leading sources of safety compliance issues at dealerships. Here’s an opportunity to check your notes with expert advice from a safety compliance auditor. Watch this quick video to find out if your dealership is in compliance and following best practices in the industry.

Marketing Cars & Hiring Applicants – More Similar Than You Think!

Monday, September 17th, 2012
Word-of-mouth networking connects people

Social media helps you find great employees, just like it helps you promote your dealership.

Ever wondered how to improve the quality of your applicants? The very same social media activities that attract customers can be used to attract applicants you really want to hire — not just those that wander in hoping for a job.

Here’s how you can use social networking to recruit great people:

  1.  Maintain a page on your website that shows off your company culture in a compelling way.
  2.  Create a separate web page for each job posting.
  3.  Make some short, engaging videos about the staff at your store.

Without these tools, you can’t leverage one of HR’s most important resources – the person who handles social media at your dealership. Once you have these tools in place, your social media expert (who may become your new best friend) can help you with the following:

  1. Tweet job openings and post them on your Facebook page.
  2. Encourage employees to post open positions on their personal Facebook accounts.

Often, the applicants you want the most are “passive applicants” – those who are not actively searching for a job, but might be persuaded to work for you. So leverage social media to bring your open positions to their attention. Basically, it’s a digital version of “word of mouth marketing.”

While we are on the subject of employees helping you recruit, remember to offer a bonus to any employee who refers a successful new hire. (The new employee must complete 90 days on the job.)

By the way, using your employees to recruit via social media can raise a lot of questions about social media policies and HR-related regulations. If you’d like to talk about that, email me at kcarlson@kpaonline.com.

September Update on How to Handle Airbag Disposal

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Hazardous Waste SignAuto dealers find the disposal of undeployed airbags to be a significant challenge, because they can be considered “reactive hazardous waste” if they are not recycled. For many years, dealers have opted to deploy the airbags and then send them to disposal sites like traditional landfills or incinerators. However, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently cited a dealer for doing so.

So what’s the best approach for disposing of undeployed airbags? Till now, dealers’ options have included:

  1. Recycling the undeployed airbag.
  2. Disposing the undeployed airbags as hazardous waste.
  3. Deploying the airbags and then sending them to disposal.

Since the EPA recently cited a dealer for “treatment of hazardous waste without a permit” for deploying airbags, disposal of such items has become more problematic. Every dealer needs to weigh a variety of pros and cons, such as long-term liabilities and shipping costs.

Bottom line: If you’re not sure about the best approach for disposing undeployed airbags in your state, or if you’re using option 3 above, it’s time to reconsider your approach.

KPA Environment & Safety clients can contact their engineer for more information. Or, you can review the airbag page on our website.

How Old Are Your Labor Law Posters?

Monday, September 10th, 2012
KPA OSHA Store CO Labor Law Posters

Keep your labor law postings current with KPA’s new Employment and Labor Poster Store.

Have you ever paused in your break room and tried to read the labor law posters hanging on the wall? Perhaps you chuckled when you noticed the ancient soup stains, the faded letters … and the copyright date of 2002.

Maybe labor laws have changed since then?

HR professionals are pretty busy. Updating the state and federal labor law posters is one of the many compliance tasks they need to get done as quickly as possible.

This is why KPA has launched an easy-to-use online store with state and federal posters for the entire U.S. You can:

  • Buy posters in English, Spanish or bilingual (English and Spanish) formats.
  • Subscribe to annual updates (optional). When revisions happen, updated poster information will be sent to you via email, or replacement posters will be automatically shipped to your site.
  • Receive a separate NLRA poster with the standard state and federal poster combination.
  • Sign up for store coupons and promotions.

While a 10-year-old poster covered with Joey’s goulash accident may seem a tad funny when you’re sipping your morning coffee, it can trigger a hefty fine from the Department of Labor. Businesses are required to feature federal and state labor law postings in common areas frequented by employees and applicants.

We hope you’ll enjoy our new Employment and Labor Poster Store. If you have any questions, call one of our labor law poster experts at 1 (888) 369-9013.

KPA Wins AWA Peak Performance Award & JD Rucker Wins Lighthouse Award

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
AWA Automotive Website Awards

On Sept. 5, 2012, KPA won the Peak Performance AWA award and JD Rucker won a Lighthouse award.

We are delighted to announce that two new AWA awards have been added to our Internet Marketing team’s list of achievements this year:

  1. Peak Performance Website - Acknowledges effective search marketing architecture and a strong feature set. According to PCG, Peak Performance winners are members of an elite group of platforms that will enable auto dealers to create a competitive advantage in their local markets.
  2. Lighthouse – Given to JD Rucker, TK Carsites’ Director of New Media. This award acknowledges an individual who excels in his service to the automotive community through thought leadership, encouragement and engagement.

The Automotive Website Awards (AWA) are given after rigorous testing and review by PCG, a consulting firm that recommends products and services to help dealers increase their profits.

This year, 41 awards were presented to companies and individuals that represent innovative solutions for car dealers in the areas of website design, mobile technology, social media, proactive chat, merchandising tools, CRM, reputation management, advertising, customer service and industry thought leadership.

For more information, please see our press release.

4 Things to Consider When Showing Your Inventory on a Smartphone

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
KPA Mobile Websites inventory listings page

The inventory listing page on KPA Mobile Websites places click-to-call beside each vehicle.

The hours right before a prospective customer buys a car are critical. Typically, they’re using the Internet to shop local dealer inventory, comparing prices and features of their favorite models. More and more, they’re using smartphones to do that research. Which leads us to an important question:

What kind of experience do your customers have when they view your inventory on a smartphone?

  1. How many clicks does it take to see your new or used listings?
  2. Can they see a “click-to-call” option on each car’s detail page?
  3. Can they easily see large pictures of each vehicle?
  4. Can they get directions to your dealership without leaving your mobile website?

These are just four of the important questions you should ask when reviewing the effectiveness of your inventory listings on smartphones. We’ve got other ideas too, which you can check out on this description of KPA’s new Mobile Websites.

I’m really excited about mobile and the opportunities it gives dealers to literally put their inventory at the fingertips of customers who are ready to buy. If you want to talk about mobile, and the features you’d like, give me a call at (949) 440-1150.

September Tip of the Month: Don’t Forget – Equal Opportunity Reports (EEO-1) Are Due Sept. 30

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Compliance Tip of the MonthThis month, we’d like to remind our colleagues in Human Resources about a very important deadline: Submit Form EEO -1 to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2012.

What’s EEO-1? This report tracks your dealership’s workforce by gender, ethnicity and job groupings. You must submit it if you have 100 or more employees, including both full-time and part-time.  Companies with  fewer than 100 employees must also file if the company is owned by, or corporately affiliated with, another company and the entire enterprise employs a total of 100 or more employees

Why is this report important? It’s the law. Avoid the hassles and expense of dealing with “show cause letters” or a court order (and the perception that you have something to hide in terms of possible workforce discrimination). Federal contractors who do not file  an EEO-1 report will face complete debarment from accepting future government contracts.

How do I gather the data? Pull the information from any pay period between July and September, 2012. KPA’s HR Management Software clients can easily collect the data and create the report using our system, then upload it to the EEOC website.  KPA clients, call us at  866-539-4718 if you have any questions.

For more information on the EE0-1 Report, visit the EEOC website.