Training to enhance business performance Tania Barlow, MD Sewells SA







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: December 5, 2011
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Sewells South Africa, a leading specialist training and consulting company, has a broad spectrum of training, development and performance consulting initiatives purpose-designed to enhance the business performance and asset value of automotive retail operations, says Tania Barlow, MD of this global group’s local operation.

Tania Barlow

‘Kyle Dickie, our Group MD, says the multi-faceted dealer development model that was initially developed and employed by Sewells Group South Africa over the past 29 years, is enjoying great success with motor dealers in Australia, New Zealand, India, China and a number of areas across the Pacific Rim.

‘He says the implementation of the Sewells learning management system in South Africa over the past five years, and subsequently within the Group, has found to be particularly suitable for the South African dealers and the dealers in the emerging high-volume markets in which we now operate.’

The philosophy of this holistic training and development model is entrenched in the Group on three pillars which the South African operation applies dynamically with its partners in its course offerings and business consulting programmes.

The pillars are:

  • The business management and performance consulting area and the Sewells MRA© model and implementation thereof, are proving to have a profound impact on Sewells’ business partners in the industry.
  • Training is not something given alone to any individual or just a few people in a business; it must be institutionalised through the entire dealership to get proper balancing of the critically important processes and enhance the staff and managerial competence to the benefit of the whole operation.
  • The Sewells core values – integrity, entrepreneurship, committed partnerships, continuous improvement and innovation - – remain integral to what is being offered and enthusiastically taken up by South African businesses.

We are effectively providing improvement to the participating dealers’ financial returns and also creating an appreciation for process stability which in turn brings recognition of the value of the people component in those businesses.

Emphasising the broad-spectrum approach, Tania summarises the present offerings from Sewells South Africa thus:

Training & development

  • Learnerships (Sewells is a registered FET college)
  • Career path-based programmes for sales, service and parts
  • Departmental leadership programmes for sales, parts and service managers
  • Advanced Dealer Management Programme (ADM) for top executives in dealerships
  • Strategic business training
  • Product knowledge and product launch training
  • FIBMA (F & I training)
  • Dealer academies and outsourced services
  • Training and development project management
  • Learner management system and a comprehensive on-line training offer

Business Management

  • Performance management
  • Accounting consulting and a comprehensive accounting guide
  • Performance groups
  • Development groups
  • Health checks (as well as security, risk and fraud consulting)
  • Business management outsourcing
  • BDM (business development model)
  • Dealer profit improvement
  • Financial mentoring and coaching services
  • Dealer feasibility studies
  • MRA Model
  • E-SOS on-line services and reporting

Scrutinising other sectors
Sewells Group South Africa is scrutinising with great interest other sectors of the automotive aftermarket where the company can apply its highly successful training, development and performance model to improve business results.

Commenting on the latest development, Tania Barlow, managing director of Sewells Group SA says: ‘For a long time we have proudly observed the growth in stature and capability of South African motor dealers, and have walked with them through the process of their improvement.  Naturally we would be interested in other businesses in the aftermarket that can benefit from what we’ve learnt and been able to apply here and in many countries.

‘On the business consultancy side, one of the key elements of success amongst our business partners in automotive retail has been the performance group culture where like businesses share their best-practice strategies and challenges on a regular basis. We are keen to identify other sectors in the aftermarket where we can perhaps add value to performance going forward,’ Tania said.