We’ve been asking dealers for several years now how they manage the workflow assigned to their various vendors. Their responses pointed to opportunity.
Dealers themselves have always been ahead of us in their desire for more seamless and coordinated vendor relations. When we asked more questions, their answers led to creating new tools for helping fill this workflow coordination gap.
These new dealer-vendor coordination tools provide transparency, accountability and tight communication between parties. This trifecta provides a high level of efficiency by eliminating the chase and uncertainty commonly found in the dealer-vendor relationship.
The idea is to not share too much information with vendors. What’s preferable, dealers tell us, is coordinating the right amount of detail and only providing information relevant to the vendor.
Eliminate the Gap
Until recently, the industry lacked a practical, workable way to actively synchronize their needs in a meaningful and measurable way into their shared recon workflow.
The ideal coordination would be both contributors seamlessly pulling toward the same goals — the dealer’s faster time-to-line, sale-ready efficiency. This seamless solution would enable the dealer to treat vendors the same way they treat their own internal recon crew. This solution includes the ability to monitor them, communicate with them and hold them accountable for their results.
Some of these shared benefits might include mutual work-in-progress and assignment status reporting, along with 360-degree communications. A gripe we have often heard from dealers is that vendors simply “drop off” their finished work at the dealership. They do this because the dealer had failed to clarify to whom finished work was to be delivered so those cars could flow back into the recon workflow. Too often, those cars (and other work the dealer pushed to the side for various reasons) sat unattended, burning time-to-line efficiency.
The opportunity is closing these gaps.
“The ability now to share recon details with vendors puts the burden on them to know where our cars are in the recon process at any moment,” said Gordy Peterson, new and used car inventory manager for Luther Hopkins Honda near Minneapolis, Minnesota. “This transparency will help vendors now work their processes to meet better our time-to-line goals, which helps us get cars frontline ready faster.”
Grab the Volume
It was evident in these discussions we’d had with dealers and vendors that both parties value the other. Dealers practicing a disciplined time-to-line strategy to get cars through reconditioning within hours, not days, however, were often frustrated by vendors in the mix who could not directly and mutually support these goals.
The missing element was a robust, access-controlled way to connect vendors into the dealership’s reconditioning workflow system. Without this, vendors had no way to see into that workflow to better manage their assigned vehicles' flow from that dealer.
Today, the reconditioning software industry is addressing these matters. New solutions are becoming available that enable vendors to log in to the dealer’s reconditioning software as if they were members of the dealership’s staff.
Sharing priorities not only reduces friction and frustration, but it ensures both parties can now take advantage of opportunities to both engage in and profit from increased business volume.
Furthermore, vendor sharing via mobile or desktop means the dealer is in full contact with their vendors anywhere, freeing both parties from being tethered to a desk.
Create the Opportunity
With access to advanced vendor management tools, dealers can control sublet performance and engage in proactive management. Vendors can synch their workloads and priorities with their dealership customers.
This access eliminates guesswork and miscommunications, thanks to increased accountability and verification. Now, both dealers and their vendors can track and manage their recon workflows in real-time, managing costs, productivity, and accountability. This allows work to move forward in sync with the dealer’s priorities, changes, urgency, or preference instantly and with accountability.
“Getting answers, giving instructions, or alerting a vendor to a new job doesn’t even take a phone call,” said Denim Simkins, service director for Performance Ford, Bountiful, Utah. “Now, by including our vendors in our recon workflow process, we’re not only controlling the speed of our internal employees but also the speed of the vendors we use.”
Modern recon workflow tools can now provide intimate and immediate inclusion of vendors in the recon workflow, helping the dealership bridge gaps and bring quality reconditioned cars to market faster.