20 Oct State-of-the-Art Reconditioning
In late 2010, when workflow process was first applied to reconditioning, texting and data plans were expensive. In fact, most techs did not carry smartphones. Today, virtually all technicians, detailers, photographers, subcontractors and lot managers not only have smartphones — but, they know well how to use them. Why is this important? It is important because unfortunately, the accessibility gap still exists between the UCM, employees or subcontractors for those still using old-school recon processes. This isn’t the case, though, when workflow technology is combined with smartphones. is gap gets easily bridged, creating an efficient and highly functional work environment.
When the car business hit the skids in late 2007, before bottoming out in 2009, dealerships were forced to cut back, or even worse, close down. Recon workers and subs, in most cases, were lucky to have a job. But now, business levels across the U.S. have returned, and some dealers are finding it increasingly hard to find qualified technicians to keep up with their business demands. If a tech is not happy, there are plenty of other opportunities around. Many dealers have resorted to dedicated teams or creating centralized reconditioning centers. Combine this increased demand for qualified reconditioning resources with the dramatic change in mobile technology, and you will find a new and emerging approach to motivating the individual recon worker. The results speak for themselves.
Mark Miller Toyota in Salt Lake City implemented a recon workflow system and decided to dispatch work by individual name so each tech owns a measurable and comparable step. Best practices benchmarks for mechanical/service is to stay under one days or a 13 work-hour average. e average in September for this group of six techs was around five hours for 100 cars — or 20 cars each, as of September 14. is alone adds one more selling day to these 100 cars.
Three factors have contributed to the high performance: First, the UCM approval process is almost all done by mobile, and happens in minutes. Second, everyone working on the cars now has a smart mobile device. And third, the UCMs, technicians, detailers and bodyshop (whether owned or outsourced) can be included by name in the workflow. This makes them fully accountable from the time the work is dispatched or passed to them until they click “Done” on their phone.
A dealer’s sales staff has motivation built into their compensation plan. If you can’t sell, you soon will be looking for another job. On the other hand, top sales performers not only earn more money but also are routinely motivated by weekly and monthly sales competitions. Technicians, who have traditionally been left in their bay to just do the work, can now, through a workflow process, validate how good or efficient they are. No longer do they want to be left in the dust. Workers are now much more tech savvy by use of their own smartphone and mobile apps, and texting is rapidly becoming a preferred form of communication. Consequently, by using their own smartphone, it becomes a means for techs to indicate how fast and how well they perform on the job and provides great motivation. Getting a car available for sale or ready to move to the next recon step, by use of a smartphone, has allowed the Mark Miller Toyota technicians a reliable and accurate way to compare themselves to their fellow techs.
On a recent trip to Illinois, I had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Mayer, owner and GM of Marion Toyota, Scion, in Marion, Illinois. He explained how he arrived at the decision to rely on workflow for managing recon: “I was in the late stages of putting in a state-of-the-art, in-house reconditioning department,” Mayer said. “But, the one thing that kept concerning me was, ‘How in the world are we going to keep track of each car from A to Z?’
“My thoughts were that a used car changes hands about eight times before it gets to the lot usually, including trade, service, recondition, dents and air brush, back to the UCM for inspection and merchandise — with all the point-of-sale material, pictures and sometimes even more if it has to be sublet out for other off-site repair work. If you think you are going to keep track of all that with just a piece of paper and a clipboard or a shared spreadsheet, you are kidding yourself.
“Sales managers are supposed to be selling cars, not chasing them around. They need to be able to see what is going on with all of their units at the glance of an eye. It makes for a much more productive sales office.
“I happened to come across this reconditioning workflow application. Turns out, it is so simple, yet so good at what it is suppose to do. Bottom line, it is the perfect solution.”
Dennis McGinn is the founder and CEO of Rapid Recon. He can be contacted at 866.268.3582, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Dennis McGinn speaks with Autosuccess on the state of the art reconditioning – Listen to the audio podcast >>