Like other dealers, Tom Dunn, general manager of Fred Martin Superstore, Barberton, OH, wants to move each pre-owned acquisition onto the lot to maximize profits.
Yet Dunn, who has worked in pre-owned auto retail for 30 years, says miscalculations slowed the reconditioning process at his dealership.
“We were asked how long it takes us on average to get a used car ready for the lot,” Dunn tells Wards. Although the estimate was four days, “we put it to the test, and it was 8-½ days.”
That insight prompted him to become a client of Rapid Recon, a dealership software system that monitors reconditioning workflows. The system has brought several benefits to Dunn’s dealership, including slashing reconditioning time in half.
Such miscalculations aren’t unusual, says Dennis McGinn, CEO of Rapid Recon. McGinn started the company after realizing dealers were unclear about the time it took to recondition each used car.
“None of them really knew what the number was,” says McGinn. “They would say, it’s two or three days and I don’t really have a problem. We found the average is really 18 days.”
Not only did dealers lose money from each car’s absence from the lot, but they found many instances where technicians didn’t manage their accountability.
“The result was nobody believed the numbers, and there was finger-pointing,” McGinn says. “This system lets (managers) see where the cars are, who is working on them and what’s done.”
A dealership’s inventory is entered into the system through a data feed, though clients can manually add vehicles. Rapid Recon customizes the workflow software for each dealership.
Used-car managers can use mobile phones, tablets or computers to view each reconditioning step on each car. That speeds approval of work without forcing managers to spend excessive time away from working on sales deals.
At Dunn’s dealership, reconditioning is a 20-point process from acquisition to vehicle completion.
“Our process is quite extensive,” he says. “Our clock starts when the vehicle hits the lot. Every time the car moves (through the system), the time is counted in the steps.”
As valuable as Dunn finds that process, he notes another significant benefit of Rapid Recon is the resulting data that allows the dealership to identify inefficiencies and system failures, manage vendors and boost productivity.
“Every car has a time to market and, depending on the ACV (actual cash value), has a cost to market,” Dunn says. “Every matrix I’ve ever looked at shows the maximum amount of money that can be made between the first and 10th day (from acquisition). It’s extremely important you do not squander time.”