How well do your eyes see outside the center of your gaze? Eye doctors perform vision tests to determine how well people recognize their front-forward worlds as well as the environment in their peripheries.
If your eyes are healthy, they’re registering your peripheral world too. We need this wider scope of vision to recognize both opportunity and risk that might be there but that we’ll miss if we’re focused on the immediate things we’re used to doing.
For example, consider the cartoon general doing battle and taking arrows. He’s so focused on the here-and-now that he doesn’t hear or recognize the trooper standing alongside him, working hard to present a new solution: the machine gun.
We’ve been this general. And like him, we’re often too focused on the hole, so we miss the donut. In the car business, the donut often going unheeded is applying workflow automation to the reconditioning element of used car success.
Are you taking arrows that make this critical back-end operation less profitable for your dealership? Recognize them?
• Used cars taking too long to get from auction or trade to the front line
• An increasing inability to reload the lot, as reconditioning struggles to meet demand
• No clear line of communication, acknowledgment or accountability among fixed ops, internal parts and labor, and the used car manager
• Blame and finger-pointing among these teams and vendors and sublets
• The sales and BDC departments not readily knowing what cars are coming in or their sale-ready availability through recon, so they can’t sell what they and their customers can’t see
• Recon data performance based on guesses (from a hunch or unstructured tracking processes, such as spreadsheets on computers or whiteboard calendars on walls) that mislead and erode profits
Your grosses have been remarkable on the used cars you’ve been selling in these unusual times. In fat times, we can lull ourselves into believing the river will flow forever. Your own experience reminds you that’s not so — that even when cars fly off the lot, painful arrows keep eroding efficiency and profits.
Whether the outlook is mountain-high or a wilderness slump, take in the whole donut, not just the hole. The solution that can sharpen your performance edge is going to be in that periphery.