Staff News May 2021

Mike WickinsGood afternoon all and welcome to this month’s staff update.

With April heralding the arrival of showrooms reopening, it’s fantastic to see customers returning to our workplaces and – dare I say it – a degree of normality returning to our lives. More recently, with the further easing of lockdown measures on Monday, it does finally feel as though the end is in sight. We do of course need to remain vigilant, as often when one’s guard is dropped we open ourselves up to a problem, but it’s been the resolve of the Company (or more importantly the people within the Company) that has shone. We come out of this dark period stronger and fitter than we’ve ever been and, I hope, in a position to capitalise on the strength of the economy as it bounces back.

But it’s fair to say the effects of the pandemic will be long lived and in certain parts of our business, we have to wait a little longer before normality returns. For example in our service environment, due to the country slamming into Covid last April, the inevitable delay on service visits from April 2020 to later in the year has resulted in us having a tough April 2021 and early May (with things only starting to pick up now). Indeed, despite being in lockdown for Q1 2021, our retail service visits in April were still 60% down on the Q1 average – despite the easing of restrictions. The result was that collectively, our service environments came in 60% of our Budgeted Profit, helped by the strong performance from our LCV team, invariably what will now happen will be a double bounce as we head into summer, with June and July shaping up very well on MBPC Service Bookings. Thankfully a strong used car performance (and the resultant internal prep work) also helped stem this shortfall but to date, there is a bit of catching up to be done following the lockdown in Q1 and now this April gap. Our parts performance thankfully has been less affected as a strong trade performance at all sites has helped bridge the gap. Indeed, with the continued expansion of trade custom, over the first four months of 2021 our total parts sales are 30% up on 2020 (despite the lockdown) and 14.3% on the first trimester of 2019 too. A great result!

In the retail sales arena, the easing of restrictions has undoubtedly helped our sales efforts and in the month we witnessed strong performances across all of our four retail sites. Due to the current strength of the used car market, getting stock is proving a challenge and consequently, margins remain strong. Our new car performance has also been very good with some exceptional results (with Plymouth leading the way in terms of market share) and in common with used cars, supply may tighten as we head into the summer due to production restrains on the back of (a lack of) semiconductors – a problem that will affect all manufacturers. Over at Site 5, the strength of used market (plus a focus on the acquisition of stock via the trade team) resulted in the Part Exchange Centre having a record month selling 121 cars so very well done to everyone there. New cars however continue to be more of a challenge – and in common with previous months the teams there are trying very hard to create opportunities to gain traction in the marketplace. That remains far from easy but I don’t underestimate the efforts being made.

And so by way of a wrap-up, I’ll close this staff update how I opened; by paying homage to the Company’s most important asset – that of its people. Any business can perform well in the good times but it’s operating to our maximum in the tough times that set businesses apart. As a management team, we do try to navigate sometimes tricky waters as best we can and therefore I’m delighted that the results of the recent Best Companies survey show that we’ve moved from a business that was accredited as ‘One to Watch’ in October 2019 to 2-Star in April 2021 (the rankings are unaccredited; One To Watch; 1-Star; 2-Star and-3 Star). Thank you for your feedback and whilst I am delighted with the result, I’m clear that there remains much for us still to do if we are to ultimately get all sites to a 3-star World Class status. We will be sharing the results with the managers next week for us all then to be able to continue our journey of increasing our engagement levels across the organisation.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing you all on site very soon

All the best

Mike

Best Companies B-Heard Survey Results

Following our recent Best Companies B-Heard survey, we are incredibly pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Best Companies 2 Star accreditation rating.

This is a fantastic accolade and represents an ‘Outstanding’ level of employee engagement across our business. The Management team will be reviewing a summary of the results at the upcoming Core Objectives Meeting on 27th May, after which we will discuss site and department results with you in detail to celebrate our areas of success, and work with you to understand where we can improve even further.

Thank you to all of those who took the time to complete the survey. Your input really is invaluable and helps us make the business an even better place to work!

 

 

 

HR Site Support

Thursday 20th May marked International HR Day, which served as an opportunity to recognise the positive contribution that HR functions make to both individuals and businesses. It’s safe to say 2020/21 has seen much change around our usual working environment, and HR has played a key role in our adapted way of work.

The theme this year was about how the HR profession is supporting in shaping a future working environment that is more inclusive and participative and one that will benefit you, our organisation and society as a whole.

The business has also recently invested in further resources within our HR team, headed up by Richard Syree. Here you can find a summary of City West Country’s growing HR team and their primary responsibilities moving forward.

Our two dedicated HR Advisors will be your first point of contact for all day to day operational HR queries.

Holly Atyeo – HR Advisor

  • Plymouth
  • Truro
  • Head office functions (Accounts, I.T, Data, CSU)
  • Exeter Service & Parts

Harry Richards – HR Advisor

  • Taunton
  • Site 5
  • HBA
  • Exeter Sales

Leanna Massey – Senior HR Advisor

Leanna will be the point of escalation of HR issues from the HR Advisors with any formal employee relations issues as well as managing the flow of information and the relationship with our payroll provider. With the help of Beth she is responsible for the HR service to Carparison.

Beth Honey – HR & Training Co-ordinator

Beth will continue to take responsibility for our training and development activity and is our designated Learning Co-ordinator with Mercedes-Benz. She will also support the HR service to Carparison.

Michaela Edwards – Recruitment Co-ordinator

Michaela will assume the responsibility of our recruitment activity.

Megan Rowett – Department Administrator

Megan is responsible for collating the monthly payroll information under Leanna’s guidance as well as supporting the HR department’s administrative processes.