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Training key to lean practices

Dealers have been urged to embrace independent training to complement courses offered by manufacturers.

Reg Vardy's Citroen director Nick Page is undertaking an Automotive Retail Management Programme (ARM) at Cardiff Business School. He said the trade must abandon its cynical view of training.

“People who don't take on new ideas will probably go out of business. We are reaping benefits across the company from the ARM course,” said Mr Page.

Simon Elias, ARM course director, believes manufacturers' courses tend to “major on brand propaganda”.

He said: “The industry does not do enough for training. There is a short-term culture, driven by market pressures and end of month sales obsession.”

Dealers should “look beyond their parochial trenches” to become more involved in executive training courses, which offer a “bigger industry picture”.

Recent research among dealers produced “pretty poor results” in terms of attitudes to higher levels of training, said Mr Elias.

“Lean management techniques can remove large amounts of waste, which improves the bottom line,” he added.

ARM is launching a two-year, part-time diploma course in April, costing £7,950 per person, focusing on lean business principles.

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