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RECONDITIONING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Buyers for pre-owned cars are spending money again, and across the country dealers are feeling cautiously optimistic about this continuing. At the same time, the online competitive landscape demands new ways of reaching buyers through search powerhouses, like AutoTrader.com, Cars.com and, now, Google. With all this opportunity, can your reconditioning process keep up with a continually changing business environment?

While business is up in used car sales volumes, dealers have been slow to add new employees for fear another slowdown lurks around the corner. Consequently, recon staffs are working extra hours to keep the front line stocked with cars. This is not a healthy or sustainable situation, particularly with increasing demand for a quality product. Dealers are looking for innovative ways to help deal with the added workload for their reconditioning teams.

“Workflow control,” a proven technology made specific to reconditioning, has recently become available, streamlining the recon process and making the use of spreadsheets or whiteboards completely old school. Workflow control is a flexible and simple-to-use tool configured to match each dealership’s recon processes.
It starts with purchases and trades and makes every car visible at each step — all the way to front-line ready or wholesale.

So why does this work? There are many answers, but one clear improvement with workflow control is that all parties have the same Web access to reliable and accurate information, which is updated in real time. For example, any friction between the used car director and the fixed operations manager eases when they both know consistently where the cars are and why. A most common root of this friction loops right back to an absence of accountability created by years of an assumption that whatever scorekeeping is in place can easily be discounted or ignored. This happens when someone else, besides the person doing the job, manually updates data onto whiteboards or spreadsheets, making room for error.

Workflow control changes all this because there is a solid basis for having an intelligent and transparent approach to making priority adjustments. More importantly, all the information is regularly updated, so bottlenecks and resource constraints can be quickly identified. This sets up reconditioning for continuous process improvement, including using outside vendors for specific repairs and overflow when needed.

Dealers using the system find it advantageous to hold a brief, weekly update meeting with the recon team. They review the last week’s results and buy plan so they are ready for incoming purchases and trades from the weekend. Every car is visible online in real-time, even from mobile devices such as an iPhone or iPad. Accountability falls right into line as each individual completing the work controls the status of the car online (including RO numbers, added cost approvals and other informative notes) before passing it along to the next step.

For a complete transparent and visible solution into reconditioning, workflow control should be on every dealer’s to-do list. Dealers are seeing a 50 percent reduction in their average recon cycle time, which translates into one or more additional inventory turns every year.

Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at dmcginn@autosuccessonline.com.

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