Friendly Competition Drives Customer Satisfaction

Celebrating You

At Region 44’s Oil Change Rodeo, mechanics master speed and accuracy.

When customer wait times for oil changes started creeping up from our 30-minute target in his region, George Wheatley, director of Auto Care Centers (ACCs) for the Southwest Business Unit, saw an opportunity to bring back an old favorite: the oil change rodeo!

These friendly competitions among Walmart ACCs encouraged mechanics to hone their skills and increase their speed, but they hadn’t taken place for about 20 years.

So, in May 2023, George and Terry Nannie, regional vice president of operations at Walmart, challenged Region 44’s ACCs to reduce customer wait times.

In June and July, results from the 90 auto care centers revealed which teams were improving their times. And on August 29, finalists headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the what they call the “2023 Region 44 Lube Rodeo Finals.” In all, 24 associates from six winning ACCs made the trip along with their store managers.

During the rodeo, each team worked on two cars. Teams were assessed on how quickly they serviced the cars and if they followed the proper order of steps. Points were deducted if steps were skipped or completed out of order.

“I like the atmosphere. It’s competitive and it’s fun,” shares Rob Sink, an auto care tech at Store 113 in Chickasha, Oklahoma, says.

“They know when their customers come up, they need really quick service, but it’s got to be accurate,” Terry shares. “So we’re really working hard to make sure the steps that they take when they service the car are done in order, and they’re learning a lot from that.”

“Consistency leads to efficiency,” George adds. “You can’t have speed without repetition.”

Folks also enjoyed a barbecue, creative games (motor oil bowling, anybody?!) and a good day out with colleagues. “I hope through this, I can meet people from other stores so I can build teamwork throughout multiple stores. I’m just having fun,” says Krystal Willis, a tech from Store 794 in Hutchinson, Kansas.

George reports the competition was a win-win-win: The ACCs enjoyed the friendly competition; oil changes and add-ons are up; and 65% of ACCs in Region 44 lowered their wait times!

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