Help me lower time to market on used cars!

Sean Kelley

Hello friends! I am on a mission to streamline my dealerships time to market for used cars. I want to get our time to market down to 3 days or less!!! I know how much it costs to have used cars not "front line ready" and I am looking at ways of lowering these costs! I am not willing to spend a dollar to do this, yet! So please no suggesting some fancy software program or hiring  a company to help with this for now. Any feedback or suggestions, processes, as well as critique of my current process would be fantastic. Thanks in advance!

Current process:

Vehcile purchased (buyer sets up transport to dealer) Duration 12 - 72 hours

Vehicle stocked in (lot manager or used car manager stock in car) Duration 1 - 24 hours after arrival

Vehicle service requeset turned in (Used car manager completes and turns in service request to Srvc mgr) Duration 12 - 24 hours after vehicle arrival.

Vehicle priced online (used car manager adds price to internet) Duration 12 - 48 hours after vehicle arrives.

Vehicle sent to detail shop (cleanup shop picks up car and cleans it) Duration 8 - 24 hours

Vehicle merchandised (outsourced company takes pics and creates price tag / stickers for car) Duration 8 - 24 hours after vehicle returns from detail

Vehicle RO opened (by service manager) Duration 1 - 24 hours after service request

Service check out (tech checks over vehicle and writes up suggestions) Duration 1 - 72 hours after RO is created

Service quote created (service manager talks to parts, writes up total RO price) Duration 1-24 hours after service check out

Service RO review (service manager reviews RO with used car manager) Duration 1 - 24 hours after service quote

Parts ordered (parts manager orders the things the car needs, car placed on used car lot during this wait time) Duration 24 - 72 hours after RO reviewed

Vehicle serviced (car repaired once parts arrive) Duration 24 - 48 hours after parts ordered.

RANDOM TIME: The lot leaches... errrr I mean the vendors, come by and perform touch up, bumper painting, pdr, interrior repairs, odor bombs, wheel and hubcap repair...etc. (each one comes weekly dependant on weather and other factors. They miss things often or choose not to write them up because they are paid on a flat fee...etc.)

As you can see, if everything goes smooth, parts in stock, detail done same day, we can have a vehicle front line ready in 3 days or less! However, in most cases there are some serious delays, bottlenecks, and hang ups... Any help or tips for each line in my process would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again.





David Zotti

There is too many steps in the process especially with service. In my experience working in a high volume used store, service will almost always hold up your time to market, and approvals or review steps will slow it down even more. In this case, you need to simplify this process as much as you can. If you're purchasing a lot of used cars that are in need of service it would best to avoid them whenever possible. There's also a lot of varibles on the amount it takes for step in the process to be completed, which can be caused by those "review" 

Here's my suggestions:

First, have the office stock in the car to the DMS when it's purchase and automate your DMS to feed to your website. This way when a car is purchased it will hit the website automatically and eliminate that step your lot manager or UCM needs to do.

Second, you also mention in a lot of these service related steps are handled by the service manager, I'm assuming you meant service advisors? A service manager has a high work load and if this is not handled by an advisor to reduce the obligations of the Service Manager, then expect delays often.

Third, that service request step should be part of the stock in process or there should be some sort automatic service request (using software or not) when that car is stocked in. This is an easy but vital step to miss in the process. Maybe have a dedicated advisor stay on top of incoming used cars or even have an RO automatically opened as a car is stocked in.

Making those changes above eliminates the potential for inventory to get stuck in the process. Now the fact your inventory is detailed and merchandised by an outsource is something will have to remain the same unless you go in-house. 

Sean Kelley

Great insights David. I appreciate the ideas! We have a meeting regarding this on Friday ill let you know what changes we make and how it affects out time to market. 

mark rask

David has the right idea.....we do a lot of those things but still have a hard time with service

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