Association’s ambitious three-year goals create road map to steer CADA into the future
In just two days of frank conversations, your board representatives agreed on priorities and crafted a three-year strategic plan for the
Harrison Coerver, of Association Management Consultants, facilitated the two-day session. He has long-standing knowledge of CADA, having conducted similar strategic planning sessions in 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Coerver kicked off the Strategic Planning process with a survey of our 24 board members. The results provided a solid framework for our discussions and got us all thinking in the same direction.
It’s worth noting that some board members said they believed the entire membership should have completed the survey. In fact, increasing dealer involvement and participation was identified by 21 percent of the respondents as an issue important to address during the planning process.
With that in mind, I hope you’ll agree – once you learn the priorities your board set – that your views were well represented, especially in light of the challenges we face in our industry and the need to focus our resources where they will have maximum impact.
Are these sessions worthwhile?
The survey asked whether CADA effectively implemented the two priority objectives from 2014: Public policy and member communication. On a scale of 1 (not at all effective) to 5 (very effective) Public Policy rated 4.5, based on our legislative successes, participation in legislative grassroots meetings, legislators’ knowledge of our issues and proactive approach. Member communication rated 4.3 based on regional dealer neetings, timely/ relevant content, and use of multiple communication channels.
Survey says: CADA can still improve
CADA’s overall performance as an association scored 4.8 out of 5.0. Coerver observed that CADA’s score is higher than any he’s seen from more than 1,300 strategic planning processes he’s worked on over the years:
- Half the responses noted CADA’s legislative advocacy and lobbying, and a third mentioned our superb staff.
- Top strengths included legislative advocacy/lobbying efforts, knowledge of dealer issues, dealer involvement and education.
- Top areas needing improvement include increasing dealer participation/ involvement, engaging the next generation,overly relying on a core group and raising CADA awareness among dealer management.
- The range of programs and activities offered by CADA was rated overwhelmingly as About Right (92 percent).
Futurecasting: Making Assumptions
To arrive at strategic objectives, the group agreed on some basic assumptions about the future direction of the industry in Colorado, the political/regulatory environment, CADA’s membership and the organization as a whole.These assumptions are based on current knowledge and can be grouped into the following general categories:
- More people with fewer dollars to spend
- More technology in the sales process:On-line shopping, social media, disruptive third-party lead generators and transaction efficiencies
- More pressure on dealers: Lower grosses, higher cost of money, industry consolidation, non-franchised used car dealer proliferation and land values
- Opportunities: Big wave of leases ending, innovative dealers capitalizing on mobility on demand and growing service/parts business
- Leftward shift in Colorado politics, with more consumer activism
- Greater pressure on industry, including the franchise model, which will require more education of new legislators
- More personal transportation regulation through taxation and/or policies (e.g., electronic vehicles (EVs), driver-less vehicles)
CADA Membership and Organization
More consolidation will occur, meaning fewer dealer principals and more GMs who will skew younger and more digitally savvy.
CADA’s level of engagement will continue and the organization will keep growing, with greater member involvement/buy-in.
CADA will continue as a strong advocate and source of industry action in the face of new legislative and regulatory policy challenges.
CADA needs to have a succession plan for Tim Jackson.
The Strategic Issues
Five overarching issues were identified and discussed based on the above-noted assumptions:
1. Advocacy — We need to continue as a coalition to maintain a strong legislative offense and defense, and build on the momentum we’ve achieved in the legislature. The retail warranty reimbursement issue will be addressed, and while we have had great turnout at the legislative grassroots meetings, we need even more participation.
Member communication – We must find new/better ways to reach dealers who aren’t participating now, including expanding our reach into dealer management.
Dealer engagement and participation – Dealers need to be emotionally involved and understand “What’s in it for me?” Targeting smaller groups of dealers to work in each area could be effective. Dealer participation is critical for Legislative
grassroots, CADA-sponsored Clear the Air Foundation and CADA-endorsed programs, such as group benefits, workers’ compensation and endorsed providers.
Dealership workforce/technicians – Scholarship support for technicians continues ($50,000 in 2017) through the Clear the Air Foundation. CADA efforts might include connecting new techs with dealer service managers and investing in community college automotive programs. We also may want to pay attention to other position challenges (e.g., business managers, title clerks and warranty administrators).
Future of Car Ownership – Peering into the great unknown… One recent study about mobility on demand forecasts that by 2030, 95 percent of VMTs will be in shared autonomous vehicles. We know that many auto manufacturers, Apple and Google are investing time and money on the trend. Ride and car sharing already exist and governments at all levels are beginning to grapple with the public policy implications.
CADA three-year objectives
In summarizing the 2017 Strategic Planning Process, Harrison Coerver defined Objective as ‘a temporary, but careful estimate regarding a future result that cannot be projected with accuracy, but which can — and should — be achieved through CADA’s efforts and commitment of resources.
Objectives should be derived from a careful analysis of future development and potentials, with relatively less reliance placed on historical data and the projection of past experience.”
Participants were asked to rank their top three objectives, in order of importance, for CADA’s next three years. From those rankings, we arrived at a plan of action and determined how to measure performance.
Advocacy – Build on our momentum
- Pass Part A of Franchise Act, retail reimbursement for warranty parts and labor.
- Build a coalition among multiple constituencies affected by transportation developments expected from mobility on demand.
- Educate decision makers and the public about consequences/threats of mobility on demand and EV developments through more legislative grassroots meetings; research and publish a white paper that spotlights the effects of these developments.
Dealer Image – Expand CADA’s efforts to improve consumers’ perception of dealers
- Get reliable data on consumer attitudes regarding new car franchisees, versus other dealers/third parties who are capitalizing on negative image.
- Develop action plan based on research that builds on current positive activities, including Clear the Air Foundation, Charity Preview Party and public service announcements through the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Comcast Spotlights.
Workforce – Develop CADA mechanisms or programs that connect dealers with dealership employee candidates
- Increase awareness of career opportunities at dealerships through local grassroots efforts with schools and counselors.
- Create or organize job fairs and similar events to match candidates with dealerships.
- Ensure dealer feedback on efforts to track effectiveness.
Manufacturer Overreach – Protect dealer autonomy from erosion by manufacturer practices and mandates
- Level the playing field to ensure that all manufacturers are subject to the same rules/regulations as their dealers by researching how other states have dealt with these issues and aligning our efforts with them.
- Enact legislation that eliminates discriminatory pricing by manufacturers.
- Enact legislation preventing dealers from waiving rights under the law.
Now the work begins
This is a tall order, yet I’m optimistic about its chance of success. It’s going to require an ongoing commitment of the board – especially at the district director level – and our staff.
The good news is our already-strong advocacy successes provide a good foundation to build on going forward.
We asked participants for follow-up comments about how they viewed the plan we formulated. One comment really stood out: “… I believe CADA is so strong, we really need to think outside the box. And we’ll need more resources.”
Of course, resources mean dollars. More than that, how we deliver on this ambitious agenda over the next three years depends on our willingness to engage and work together to GET IT DONE!
Ed Dobbs, Chair
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association