Driving Performance

Delivering two innovative platforms, The Minery helps automotive
brands manage expectations and optimize results

Photo: The Minery’s Brianna Newman, director of partnerships, and president and CEO, Heather Macpherson

THE MINERY IS in the business of putting the car industry back in the driver’s seat of the customer buying experience.

The London tech firm provides fully integrated web-based workplace performance and improvement digital solutions, supported by client-facing consulting services. Targeting the automotive retail sector, it’s a powerful combination that helps original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) strengthen their brand, and dealers improve their employee performance.

And it’s a 25-person company with women at the wheel.

Heather Macpherson founded The Minery (theminery.com) in 2010 after spending more than two decades providing traditional corporate consulting and employee training services across a variety of industries, including automotive.

As an experienced presenter, Macpherson knew she could inspire an audience. “But then I’d leave the facility or dealership and it wouldn’t stick,” she recalls. “I saw a real opportunity to hold people accountable for making change, and being able to manage it at a distance.”

When Honda Canada approached Macpherson to provide a client experience program for dealerships across Canada, she seized the moment and suggested the development of a software platform. “I didn’t know what I was getting into at that point,” she says. “But I had a strong relationship with Honda and one great developer, and they believed in me.”

It was the spark that fueled the creation of Imprv—now The Minery’s flagship product.

“Imprv brings the continuous improvement model online,” explains Brianna Newman, director of partnerships for The Minery.

Designed to meet the needs of OEMs, Imprv provides a set of online tools that allows users to gather performance data, identify trends, pin point improvement opportunities, take action and track progress and results.

“It closes the loop,” Newman explains. “Clients can see how they are doing on a specific indicator, action plan it and hold people accountable for getting the job done.”

Imprv clients include Acura U.S. and Acura Canada, as well as Honda Canada.

“From a corporate strategy standpoint, it’s about driving the consistency of the brand,” notes Macpherson. “It ensures that a customer can go into a dealership in Vancouver and have the same experience as they would have in Toronto.”

While Imprv supports the customer experience across the corporation, The Minery’s other software—HR4—focuses on the employee lifecycle at the dealership level.

“Some dealerships have an 80 per cent turnover rate,” Macpherson explains. “HR4 allows owners to get ahead of that by setting employees up for greater success.”

HR4’s suite of customizable apps connects the dealership workplace, resulting in increased communication, efficiency and performance.

 “It’s the same cliché as 30 years ago. Women have to work harder, be more prepared—and be ready for the tough questions” —Heather Macpherson 

“This is a management tool as well as an employee-engagement tool,” notes Newman. “It allows employees to feel connected and involved, so everyone is working towards the same goals. That’s a big differentiator for us.”

Marino’s Auto Group has been using HR4 for almost three years. With five dealerships and 165 full-time staff located across the GTA, the software has made it easier to attract, train and retain employees, says Lorenzo D’Alessandro, whose father founded Marino’s Auto Group in 1970.

“It helps us have a more robust process for recruitment, hiring, onboarding and performance management because it allows us to communicate in a clear manner what our expectations are,” D’Alessandro says.

HR4 allows employees to access company policies and procedures, make a vacation request or share a virtual ‘thumbs-up’ from any computer or mobile device. “The alternative is having an employee handbook,” D’Alessandro explains. “With HR4, the information is always available, it’s flexible and we can continually update it. That was the big attraction.”

Employees also use the app to assess their own performance according to a clear set of expectations outlined in a virtual playbook. “That leads to continual improvement, and encourages people to keep using it,” he says.

And unlike traditional dealership consultants who make their recommendations and leave, D’Alessandro is in touch with The Minery on a weekly basis. “They help us with implementation,” he says. “That’s a key difference.”

So, what’s it like being a woman in the male-dominated automotive industry?

“Never wear a pink dress,” answers Newman with a laugh. “You have to constantly remind people about your capabilities.”

Macpherson quickly confirms the observation. “It’s the same cliché as 30 years ago,” she says. “Women have to work harder, be more prepared—and be ready for the tough questions.”  Nicole Laidler