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The Loctite Principle


The story I am about to share is actually a lot less about Loctite thread adhesive and a whole lot more about human nature and the organizational destructiveness that can be the unintentional result created when business owners countermand, override or otherwise reduce support for decisions and policies put into place within a team by their own leaders, who were hired and empowered because of their extensive experience and know-how.  There are many times when experienced leaders put procedures, process blue prints, policies and guidelines in place to ensure greater productivity, quality assurance and better results from a product and service… Indeed, it is safe to say that business owners, dealer principals and entrepreneurs will often place highly competent, skilled and experienced professionals into positions such as managers, directors, vice presidents, CEO’s and other leadership roles for that very purpose.  So why would an owner not support the processes and quality control edicts put in place by the very same people they hire?


Let me share an experience that illustrates this… A few years ago I was on temporary assignment managing a Cadillac dealership in El Cajon, California which experienced a series of events related to the use of “Loctite” brand thread adhesive used to prevent nuts and bolts from loosening as a vehicle is driven and subject to vibrations from road surfaces and engine operation.  The dealership’s technicians had each been instructed by their Service Manager to use Loctite brand thread coatings to ensure that fasteners and bolts disassembled for repairs and then reassembled after repairs were completed, would not become loose after the vehicle was returned to the owner by the service department. Loctite’s description of this product’s features include:

“Loctite® offers a comprehensive range of products to ensure the reliability of mechanical assemblies. Service technicians rely on the consistent quality and ready availability of these products which have been specially designed to suit the needs of automotive repair professionals.”

From a quality assurance perspective, the use of Loctite made it easy for any manager, technician or vehicle owner to see which fasteners or bolts had been worked on by the dealership’s service technicians because of the tell-tale visibility provided via the appearance of a small amount of the bright blue Loctite adhesive on a bolt’s exposed threads or the tiny amounts that appear along the outer edge of a bolt or fastener head after it has been tightened into place by the technician… This was an effect not missed by many customers, and on one occasion caused a service customer “concern resolution issue”.


The case in point was illustrated when a customer believed he had been charged for repair work that had not actually been performed, and confronted the Cadillac Dealership General Manager that was hired to replace me, relieving me from my temporary role during the dealership’s transition.  The customer showed the new General Manager how the bolts and fasteners that the dealership had reassembled all showed the small amounts of bright blue from the Loctite thread adhesive.  Several repairs that he had been billed for showed related bolts and fasteners that had never been disassembled, made obvious by the lack of blue thread adhesive.


After resolving the customer’s issue with an appropriate refund of monies paid for work that had in fact not been completed by the assigned technician, the new GM went back to the shop foreman and asked to address all the dealership’s technicians in a meeting at the store’s break room.  During the meeting the new GM demanded that all use of the Loctite thread adhesive cease immediately, so that customers would find it more difficult to tell when a bolt or a fastener had been disassembled and reassembled.  Despite the objections of the Service Manager, the new GM insisted that the use of thread adhesive be discontinued.


Several months later the “come backs” and warranty claims against the dealership’s repairs, which were falling apart or coming loose due to the lack of bolt and fastener thread adhesive cost the dealership thousands of dollars in costs on a recurring monthly basis… Eventually, after over $100,000 in unnecessary expense, the GM relented and allowed the Service Manager to reinstate the use of Loctite thread adhesive.


The moral of the story… When you hire people that know what they are doing, give them the support they need and let them do their jobs without undue tactical interference.


Ralph Paglia

Vice President - Digital



13665 Dulles Technology Drive Suite 320, Herndon, VA 20171

Tier10Marketing on Facebook and Twitter

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Tags: Loctite, Management, Principle

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

Reminds me of when some genius at Chrysler decided that the could save a few penny's by using a different head gasket on the Dodge Neon essentially putting Chrysler out of the small car market until the next QTR of this year??? On a side note. Loctite is a local company for us here and a great supporter of our many charitable endeavors. 

Great to hear about Loctite being such a good corporate citizen... But, the real point i was trying to make is that all too often the owners of businesses, including dealerships, will over-ride the decisions made by the professionals they hire, when in fact they should be supporting those decisions.

All too often Ralph all to often. I think it is especially true with the Internet/Digital marketing dept. In February..."We have to cut expenses, get rid of that!" In March..."How come we didn't sell as many cars and had less service appointments?" Too often they think it's just about wanting to spend money and not about the people they have charged with making the decisions spending money wisely???


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