When he installed reconditioning software in the stores he manages for Rohrman Auto Group, Director of Chicago North Operations Bob Wolf had high hopes — and a lingering concern.
His years in used car management had him envying dealerships that used the software to streamline and improve reconditioning speed and efficiency. Yet he’d witnessed his share of poor product launches that left his team and the vendor frustrated and parting ways.
“The launch is the critical event that builds the relationship and gives the vendor opportunity to care for the client with unusual concentration,” said Wolf, who manages five Rohrman dealerships for the group.
Three Rohrman stores started using Rapid Recon reconditioning workflow software six months ago. Gurnee Hyundai and Gurnee Volkswagen are located just south of the Wisconsin border in Gurnee, Illinois, and across the state line, Rohrman Nissan in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A store recon center is there, with recently acquired used cars from the Hyundai and VW dealerships shuttled back and forth.
To help shepherd the launch remotely to ensure success, Rapid Recon Performance Consultant Jennifer Marszalek was assigned to the Rohrman account.
“There is a connection to that launch point that matters very much for a vendor partner and the dealership, and I impressed this on Jennifer,” Wolf said.
A particular challenge to this launch was integrating Dent Wizard into the reconditioning software. The software subscription includes Vendor Advantage, which enables dealers and their vendor partners to advance their shared reconditioning Time-to-Line (T2L) outcome.
By using Vendor Advantage, dealers and their vendors enjoy:
• All events affecting T2L have 360-degree accountability. Dealers control sublet performance, ensuring proactive management that supports speed-to-sale goals.
• Immediate workflow communication tools are put into the vendors’ hands. Vendors access their dealers’ Rapid Recon workflow to sync work-in-progress status, communicate vehicle prioritization, send estimates, and enable two-way messaging about a specific vehicle via mobile or desktop.
• Integrated T2L lets both parties track and manage workflows to enhance cost control and vendor productivity.
• Integrated T2L provides the used car manager with the data to confirm vendor contribution to the dealership’s time-to-line objectives.
Marszalek engaged with the Rohrman and Dent Wizard staffs for several months to review Vendor Advantage processes and continue adjusting to increase efficiencies. This follow-up and consistent accountability tracking helped the team reduce detail, cosmetics and photo turn time from 4.5 days to under three. The goal is two days. The advantage shaved 1.5 days off Rohrman’s total recon time.
Given how these stores manage their reconditioning, with vehicles from three stores moving back and forth, Wolf wanted control over the process. “I needed to manage that workflow and that process to give me visibility into our recon work here and what jobs are assigned to the vendor.
“Everyone — from our GMs, through service and parts, to our used car technicians, to porters and Dent Wizard — is dedicated to and really using the Rapid Recon process,” Wolf said.
Wolf had accolades for how Marszalek embraced these performance challenges. “I have never seen a performance consultant who could embed into the business as Jennifer did. She became part of the business, managing the personalities and push-back, remotely and in-store. She worked like a neutral broker, and I am very impressed with how she executed this,” he said.
“The launch is the critical event that builds the relationship and gives the vendor opportunity to care for the client with unusual concentration.”
— Bob Wolf, Rohrman Auto Group
Marszalek is one of four performance consultants who provide connect-to-launch and connect-to-retention services. They offer a unique one-on-one master-level performance efficiency troubleshooting service from Rapid Recon. For dealers considering new software additions, this team suggests these vendor evaluation tips:
#1: Check Compatibility: Does the vendor service or product fit the standards and mission of your store? Remember, you’re evaluating a commitment.
#2: Confirm Expectations: Be confident you know what the product will do for you — and discover how the vendor makes it possible for you to determine that. In a hot-potato scenario, what’s the vendor’s policy on dispatching staff to resolve the situation quickly and to your satisfaction?
#3: Consider the Long View: Particularly with software-as-a-service, is the product designed to help you achieve and measure continuous improvement? Does the vendor have a reputation and aptitude for innovation?
Here are three other examples of such commitment in action:
First Auto Credit
This used vehicle dealer services car buyers in the Jackson, Cape Girardeau, Millersville, Jonesboro and Whitewater, Missouri, markets. As part of his regular follow-up with the dealer, Performance Consultant Dustin Jones focused on reducing store operating expenses to improve cash flow. He identified three areas of opportunity: Perform state-required inspections and oil changes in-house rather than outsource, adding .5 hours of labor to store revenue per car. The difference saves the dealership $2,399 a month while bringing oil changes in-house increased average labor hours per unit to decrease shop unapplied time.
Benzel Busch Motorcars
This premier dealer of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Mercedes Vans serves the New Jersey and New York markets. When Performance Consultant Dan Anton worked with the group, reconditioning volume was 115 vehicles per month at an average of nine days in recon. Working with the leadership team across all departments, Anton transitioned the dealership to using a robust list of work items and image features within their recon software to speed up turn time. He credited John August, operations director, and David Cerqueira, fixed ops/parts director, who were instrumental in getting all that rolling. This click-fast access to a digital library of images, videos and PDFs helps techs annotate repair needs and push that data to their used car manager. Using these tools, technicians and others reduce communication misunderstandings and complete recon approvals faster.
Starting with a routine performance review, Performance Consultant Bradley Orr worked with the Galpin team to bring 36-day T2L performance down to 5.64 over 12 months. Periodic reviews helped track and measure progress. That first review uncovered delays in tech inspection-to-repairs, which Orr addressed by establishing workflow alerts to expedite the process. After six months, T2L had improved to 14.7 days due to increased team engagement and removing workflow bottlenecks. Recon Manager Joe Uphoff started using Vendor Advantage to improve vendor sublet management and cost control. By month nine, T2L was 6.55 days and continued despite a 25% increase in volume. At month 13, the Galpin team had whittled the store’s time to line to 5.64 days.