Fast Recon Relies on Good Communications at Car Dealership

If the vehicle-reconditioning process exceeds 72 hours, there’s room for improvement.

Hugh Hathcock

December 6, 2019

3 Min Read
auto tech on phone
When a dealership is dysfunctional – in both communications and in operations workflow – team members stumble.Getty Images

Picture this: You have a car sitting on your lot. It’s been there for three weeks and has grown into the lot landscape so much so that it’s gone unnoticed.

Finally, a salesperson asks, “What’s going on with that red car out there?” Suddenly everyone feels a rush of guilt, blame, neglect, finger-pointing and failed accountability.

During this communications breakdown, the dealership loses as much as $85 or more per day between holding costs and gross profit loss.

All too often, dealers recognize a pivotal piece of communication had not been relayed to the proper department, creating a ripple effect of lost opportunities, poor workflow and missed revenue.

Giving your pre-owned department a communications overhaul will not only lead to better performance among your staff, but it will drive revenue in meaningful ways.

A way to do that is through a more efficient vehicle-reconditioning process. Here are three suggestions to accomplish that.   

1. Communication and the workflow process.

Creating an environment of communication in your make-ready department not only speeds up your process but informs the entire team on the latest developments at the dealership. With everyone working towards the same goals, the finger-pointing disappears. People begin to work together more effectively.

First, make sure everyone on your make-ready team is assigned vehicles and tasks accordingly.

This ensures the reconditioning process runs seamlessly. Average days in recon will drastically reduce when the team can track and share information, such as departmental notes, pictures of the work to be completed, and where the vehicle physically is located at any given time.

Clear, transparent communication on workflow creates accountability, which drives efficiency. The result: More inventory turns.

2. The dealership team is a family. Communicate like one!

Most every dealer I’ve met describes their dealership as a family. And, as is the case in any family, communication is paramount. Everyone wants to be understood, heard, recognized and valued.

But when a dealership is dysfunctional – in both communications and in operations workflow – team members stumble through processes, trip over missed deadlines, and dodge accountability.

Imagine if that same staff knew precisely how quickly (or slowly) vehicles moved in and out of the make-ready department, saw specific trouble areas in the recon process and could transition a car from one phase of recon to the next in minutes.

It’s difficult to accurately track hundreds of vehicles cycling through the recon system without using the latest software technology.

3. Communication means fewer mistakes.

Holding costs are only going up. If dealers don’t eliminate the errors, delays and redundancies in the recon process, it could cripple their bottom line.

Hugh Hathcock.jpg

Hugh Hathcock

Examine speed-to-market time in getting vehicles retail ready. If it exceeds 72 hours, there’s room for improvement and even more room for cost savings. (Wards Industry Voices contributor Hugh Hathcock, left)

Simply being aware of where every vehicle is at every minute of the day, and avoiding any idle time, supports a more streamlined process, allowing the sales team to start marketing vehicles sooner. 

Hugh Hathcock is the founder and CEO of ReconVelocity, a dealership software provider.

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