17 Jun Reconditioning Best Practices – The Three Levels of Accountability
Few would dispute the retail auto business has been slow to use mobile computing devices in the day-to-day operations of their dealerships. Though, to be fair, the industry has been virtually void of any specific software applications to support such devices — especially in reconditioning. Dealers can no longer wait. The competitive landscape is fierce, and their bottom line depends on the integration of these devices into their infrastructure. Fortunately, such an application now exists for reconditioning. And even better, these handheld devices have become so intuitive to use, they are second nature to us in all aspects of our lives.
In reconditioning, smartphones, tablets and desktop computers are now used as the live connections in the race to time-to-market. System application software is key in moving cars from acquisition to deal funded.
Because of this advanced technology, we can finally validate “best practices” in reconditioning. When applied analytically and to the dealer’s unique set of resources — employees, vendors, subcontractors, etc. — these practices will reduce time-to-market by 50 percent.
Like in other industries, “best practices” establish a proven success model by which to guide your business. For instance, these same smartphones, tablets and computers were manufactured under multiple levels of accountability, otherwise known as “continuous process improvement.” Without continuous process improvement, the tech industry could not provide the market with such reliable and cost-effective products.
As it turns out, I was fortunate to have had a front-row seat when these changes were driven into the computer industry. No one gets to this level, however, without having a solid foundation of both team and individual accountability. And, over the last three years, I have had the privilege to assist and observe dealers instituting “best practices” into their individual dealerships, reducing the time-to-market by 50 percent while continually looking for ways to improve.
The most dramatic difference is that these improvements are not another instance of a top-down “throw out some aggressive number and see if anyone inches” situation, but are actual numbers driven by the individuals doing the work.
By implementing a workflow process system, real-time data fuels the multi-levels of accountability necessary to provide “best practices” within these dealerships. In reconditioning, where every tech, manager and vendor is scattered hither and yon, the beauty lies in the use of these mobile tools. No longer are there excuses, only a readiness on everyone’s part to proactively change the business environment.
There are three levels of accountability in this “best practices” reconditioning model.
- Individual: Accountability no longer evokes a negative connotation when an individual is allowed to take control of their work. When they have fair representation in the evaluation of their performance, a tech or vendor becomes highly motivated to show what good and efficient work they can do on a regular basis, promoting a healthy work average for each team member.
- Team “Time-To-Market” Results: Once individual averages are obtained, team goals for accountability in time-to-market can be managed and targeted in any order they wish to set up. A typical target average, from acquisition/trade to funded, is three to five days. Don’t be fooled; it is almost always double or triple that to start. To achieve this level to productivity, for example, mechanical/service needs to be one day or less, detail needs to be one day or less, photos need to be four hours, UCM approvals need to be two hours or less, and so on.
- Continuous Process Improvement: The final level of accountability is continuous process improvement. It happens almost as a by-product of having the first two levels in place. Once you have verifiable data, the next step is to measure and manage it. But “best practices” is to hold a 30-minute recon team meeting once a week, where the previous week’s results are shared, issues are hammered out and improvements are encouraged. As individuals begin to feel personally accountable, they desire to do better and begin to see other areas within their arena to improve the overall process. Their new level of trust translates into many positive outcomes, but a better work and business environment is the most evident. Workers all feel positively accountable and a contributing part to the entire business. Everyone wins.
Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.