I was pondering reality the other day. I realized that what we often understand as certainty is merely how ingrained our thinking has become toward something or someone, which becomes a truth for us. That can make change difficult.
“We’ve always done it that way” is the hero of inaction — and the demise of competitiveness and profitability, especially for car dealers.
My monthly columns here have steadily encouraged dealers to re-think vehicle reconditioning.
As a Hewlett-Packard engineer years ago, my team developed the Ford Service Bay Diagnostic System. That work helped me realize the broader significance of OBD-II diagnostic tools. I applied this logic to the design and intelligence of a diagnostic-centric vehicle reconditioning workflow solution for dealership reconditioning departments.
Now recon had a standard performance metric and diagnostics ability. Now dealers had certainty and order that had previously been absent in vehicle reconditioning.
With diagnostics built into the software, dealers had a proven process for identifying and eliminating wasted spend, delay and mediocre performance from their reconditioning workflow.
They consistently got cars sale-ready in three to five days, not the 10 to 25 days so many dealers were taking.
This strategic and forecasting advantage creates a predictable model for driving turns, reducing holding costs and defends against margin compression, speeds approvals and instills a standard and culture of superior reconditioning performance that radiates throughout your fixed and variable operations.
Not only does running a recon department using recon software provide the data to manage and motivate by the numbers, but it also provides the “why” answers to continuously fine-tune processes to create more opportunities for efficiency, cost control and speed-to-sale performance.
At a tactical level, look for features in a recon software that give you clarity in the system’s reporting, including summaries for general managers and group store reports for comparison diagnostics, which enable you to drill into the details backing whichever number you’re monitoring, whether it’s time to line, cost or VIN.
Look for a system that manages the baton pass between team members and records every action. This way, the system cannot be gamed. Facts are facts, not just a reality you want to believe.
The “why” delivers optics into exactly where time is being spent so you can do something about it. Getting to the “why” is about making fact-based decisions about recon and letting go of gut feelings that sometimes create bigger issues and distractions than what they intended to fix.
We move into a new year soon. Whatever notes it plays, be ready to sing with joy because you’re prepared and equipped to embrace it boldly, having the right reconditioning system, strategies and metrics to meet 2023’s used car marketplace with confidence.