Following planning, organizing and leading the last and definitely not least function of management is control. Controls must be applied to the different areas of the business to measure performance and ensure success. Without due diligence in the areas of control a business can be successful. But with properly defined and enforced controls even greater success can be achieved. The four areas in which management controls should be applied are physical, human resource, information and financial. Following are items that apply to each of these areas:
- Institute Physical Controls – In an auto repair environment controls must be applied to inventory, service delivery and equipment. Whether parts are stored in inventory then used or they’re purchased then used right away there must be clearly defined record keeping procedures to ensure that all inventories are accounted for. Quality assurance policies must be enacted and enforced to ensure the proper level of service delivery. These policies should apply not only to the repair process but to all aspects of customer interaction. Equipment used in the repair process should be kept in proper working condition and should be checked as required.
- Define and Enforce Human Controls – This area of control begins with the hiring process. Procedures should be followed to ensure that the proper criteria are employed in hiring selections. Training and development are integral components in human resource management. Controls should be enacted that enforce this area from both a management and employee perspective. Performance and appraisal procedures should be enacted and followed so that employees are clear on management expectations and are accountable for the quality of their performance.
- Apply Information Controls – The data within a company should be controlled diligently. Marketing and forecasting data should be treated with the utmost care. Customer and repair records should be managed and protected and backup copies should be stored offsite regularly. Information is a valuable asset and it should be treated as such.
- Control Company Finances – Budgeting and financial management are critical to business success. Return on investment should be applied to all expenditures. Marketing, sales and operating expenses should all be evaluated and measured and compared to expected performance levels.