‘People, process and technology’ are the three pillars that empower this Queensland Dealer Principal and his senior leadership team to achieve Motorama’s inspiring vision of ‘Customers for Life’.
Who initiated the Motorama Values?
They started as most companies do with a set of stated values. Normally it works in conjunction with a strategic planning session, which we first went through under my father’s control of the business. That would have been in the mid-‘90s, and those stated values have developed over a period of time, along with our vision. What we’re consciously trying to do with our values is bring them to life in the workplace, because I think a lot of companies have stated values, but quite often they don’t make it out of the bottom drawer.
How do you celebrate those values?
We drive our values through a ‘Values Calendar’, and we celebrate each of those values throughout the year and aim to have activities around the company to bring those values to life.
Can you give me an example of those values?
For instance in June we have ‘Team Work’ where each of our staff members in their own areas vote for a team member who has contributed the most value within that month. And then at the end of the year we have a Team Award’s Night, and the person who lived out the values throughout the year receives the pinnacle award of the evening. August has been Green Month, which is our newest value.
Is it important for dealerships to have an environmental focus?
We have a green focus across all of our facilities and currently have over 1.2 million litres of water stored in tanks. That’s one way of living out that value from a company point of view.
What’s the biggest challenge of managing 14 dealerships?
What we find is consistency and certainly having a set of values, stated mission and vision helps with that. We have three pillars across our business which is “People, Process and Technology.” We tend to get consistency by attributing everything to our vision, which is “Customers for Life.”
Motorama is a family business, did you start at the bottom?
I started as a first year apprentice in 1989, and grew in different areas, coupled that experience with a Masters of Business in 2001 and then took over the business as a third generation business in 2007 from my father, John. So it’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team and the relationship I have with our financial controller and operations manager Costa Pappas.
What’s been the high point of your career?
The realisation halfway through my Masters of Business that the new-found knowledge would give me the confidence to really move the business forward.
Who inspires you?
My team and my family. I certainly get a lot of joy out of watching the success of our entire team and our company.
Would you encourage your children to follow in your footsteps?
I would encourage my son to be disciplined and successful in whatever he’d like to take on, whether that’s the family business or not.
Apart from your business what are you passionate about?
Wine, food, friends and family.
What do you do to keep fit?
I like the outdoors, hiking, competing in offshore stand up paddle board racing – point A to point B stuff. I’ve raced from Surfers Paradise to Currumbin, which is 25 kilometres and in state and Australian Championships.
If you weren’t CEO of Motorama you’d be?
I’d just be running a business, if it wasn’t in cars, it would be in something else. I enjoy business and I enjoy trying to run the business as best as I can.
What have you always aspired to own?
A sailing cat.
Your favourite travel destination is…?
Queenstown, New Zealand.
What issues do you think the AADA should be tackling on behalf of Dealers?
There’s obviously all the issues that often get spoken about. I wonder whether the AADA should be looking at opportunities rather than issues, because there’s a real move towards companies looking after and holding onto their customers longer, and whether the association can provide any training in that area, because the market itself is not growing.
In three words, what sells cars?
People, people and people.
Is there a future for single franchise dealerships?
Yes, but like anything, succession will be the key. Take the Melbourne market; there are a lot of successful smaller dealerships when you compare that to the Brisbane Metro and Sydney environments.Certainly I think single franchise Dealers can exist and do quite well, obviously the brand has to be sustainable.
How competitive is it with the large number of brands in the marketplace?
Whether we like it or not, I think history is the best dictator of the future; we’ll always have the big five, because worldwide they’re getting economies out of manufacturing. And because we’re in an extremely competitive environment, it’s very hard to get a voice. It takes substantial marketing money to grow share, so whilst the smaller brands might have a low cost entry, it’s not easy to grow volume and share.
Finally, what makes Motorama successful?
Our people, our process and our technology. And the leadership team plus the relationship between myself and Costa Pappas, our financial controller and operations manager.