In 2010, Fred Martin Superstore (www.fredmartinsuperstore.com) was reconditioning 80 to 100 used cars per week and believed their average turn was only four days. At that time, they were using a spreadsheet, closed RO's and a white board. In reality, the total time for each car, from the arrival of the transport or trade to frontline ready, was not being accurately tracked and reported. This was discovered after doing a complete analysis where they found their actual average was closer to 15 days. It was a real eye-opener for Ohio's largest used car dealer.
They considered developing an in-house system to better manage reconditioning, but after reaching out to industry contacts, they learned their needs could be solved by workflow software--customizable to their specific processes and performance goals. As a result, they now have every used car tracked from purchased at auction, or trade, to frontline ready. This has allowed them to review their data hourly, daily and weekly for any bottlenecks, problem vehicles or process improvements.
"We have completely changed the way we manage reconditioning," stated Tom Dunn, General Manager. "Now, we know where we stand with every car, at every step, and can make faster decisions that increase turns. We make wholesale decisions quickly, and the results are immediate and measurable. Our recon staff loves this system because no one else is tracking and reporting on their work so they are individually accountable and, therefore, more efficient." The recon turn time is reported for each step and the actual results are visible to everyone, eliminating speculation and thinking the "best case" is the real average. "With the accuracy of the information, we have been able to install pay plans that incentivize the team to drive down our recon cycle time without sacrificing quality" said Adam Huff, Owner and Dealer Principal.
Fred Martin now uses an 18-Step Recon Process (Fig. 1). They can easily insert or modify Steps to address particular needs to take advantage of any new efficiency ideas. For example, Step 17— Keys and Windshields was just inserted for two outside vendors. Through the system, vendors have access to the vehicle information needed to pull all the correct parts before they leave their shop. When they arrive their cars are all lined up and ready to go. They quickly get the job done right, the first time, eliminating unnecessary delays.
This Superstore now has their complete used car lifecycle under control using real-time data to make informed decisions--from stocking and pricing, to reconditioning, sale and replacement. Their new tracking system tells their "true" recon story. And, by taking multiple days out of their recon time, they have added two more used car turns making it a very profitable decision. "I can't even imagine running any reconditioning operation today without this, said Tom Dunn, General Manager.