NADA Chairman Says Dealerships Need To Be Active “Now More Than Ever”

According to NADA News, the new NADA Chairman, Charlie Gilchrist, strongly recommended that franchise-owned dealerships need to be active in NADA “now more than ever.”

He continued on with his recent speech in San Francisco and said: “I want you to think of your association as your second identity. It’s always a part of you, and it’s always there. That’s a big deal, whether you’ve been working in this industry for decades or you’re just getting started.”

President of Gilchrest Automotive, Charlie Gilchrist, has franchises including Ram, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler all in the DFW area of Texas. His obvious success quickly reminded everyone in the Moscone Center that being a franchise owner is the best way in the world to distribute vehicles. However, he also discussed some of the major challenges dealerships of all sizes are familiar with and will have to prepare for down the line.

“My challenge to each of you today is to get involved,” Gilchrist said. “You are not just ‘a member’ of NADA. You are NADA.” He then followed up with: “Profitability in our new-vehicle department is a serious issue. This means we have to be better, and more creative, at running the rest of the store. We must adapt to this reality to survive in this new world.”

Beyond that, according to NADA News, Gilchrist urged the entire auto industry to unite together to help tackle the issue of technician shortages in the retail sector by supporting the NADA Foundation Workforce Initiative.

With the shortage of technicians and the many challenges ahead for dealerships in 2019, software companies are working hard to help manage and automate the workflow of dealership operations. Among the leading products is ReconMonitor, a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your dealership’s operational control and profitability.

When Should You Update Your PDR Workflow Process?

It’s challenging knowing exactly when you should update your workflow process. But if you’re finding that vehicle repair cycles are taking longer than they should, or are simply overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and approvals you need to sift through, it may be time for some change.

 

Who’s Accountable?

First and foremost, one of the biggest challenges in the PDR business involves accountability. When a job takes too long or a problem arises, who exactly is responsible? In most cases, it would simply be in the hands of the operational manager, regardless of whether it’s actually on them. It’s important to know where the constraints are, who made the mistakes or isn’t pulling their weight, and to incentivize your team to work as efficiently as possible. To do that, you need reliable and timely information.

 

How Fast Are Vehicles Worked On?

At the end of the day, the shorter your cycle time, the faster the throughput. If vehicles with small dents are taking 8 hours when it should be a 2-hour job, then it’s time to reconsider your PDR process. Each vehicle holding up space in the shop and demanding technician time is preventing your business from working on the next one, and thereby making more money along the way.

 

Other Shops Are Making The Updates, And So Should You

Right now, the most successful shops are the ones leading the charge in constantly adapting to the PDR world. You don’t want to fall behind or simply follow the trends, but rather predict where the trends will go. Running a PDR business should involve constant improvements so you can stay profitable and competitive. If the most successful businesses are doing it (and some are your local competition), chances are it might not be a bad idea to upgrade and adapt in your own way.

For many PDR shops across the US, implementing a workflow management system has been a complete game changer. Workflow management systems let you access vehicle information, repair costs, perform PDR and hail damage estimates, create invoices, monitor vehicles statuses, and much more in real-time on your desktop or mobile device. To stay ahead of the curve, you want to constantly adapt, and to adapt effectively, you’ll want to use the best tools available. Having complete visibility of your back-office operations as well as your repair work is the best way to constantly improve your PDR process.

 

AutoMobile Technologies ReconPro

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

3 Ways To Improve Your PDR Business

Whether you’re a traditional collision repair shop or a PDR business, it can be challenging adjusting your workflow. Even within some of the most successful businesses, there are constraints that could be tackled better. A good way to improve on your PDR workflow is by looking at all areas of business, but before you can even consider that, you should prioritize connecting your PDR technicians to your back-office and to whoever is handling the customer invoices.

In PDR, speed and efficiency play the biggest role in how much your business will make on a daily basis. Once you understand this, you can begin to look at how you can re-organize your business’ workflow management system. Fortunately, because of the already fast nature of PDR, it’s pretty easy to adapt to a more efficient management system. While PDR is already a lucrative and fast endeavor, better workflow in all aspects, especially the back-office, will not only increase the number of vehicles you work on in a day, but also make it easier for your technicians.

 

Track Your Data

In the PDR business, the back-office is one of your biggest headaches. You don’t want to spend hours on paperwork, but you also don’t want to track invoices, estimates, employee compensation, or more based on information that isn’t completely accurate. What you do want to track, though, are PDR estimations and the exact amount of hours your technicians are spending on each repair. Beyond that, you’ll want to look at it all in real-time to accurately measure how you can reduce your cycle time and increase throughput. No matter what, it’s important to use a database to track and record important information about the vehicles you’re working on.

 

Upgrade Your Workflow Management System

First thing’s first, in 2019, your PDR business shouldn’t be relying on spreadsheets, dry-erase boards, or even sticky notes. They can get easily lost or misplaced, and create unnecessary bottlenecks in your workflow. Right now, the most successful PDR businesses out there are using management software to track their entire PDR process from estimate to the paid invoice accounting entry. Management software applications can manage your entire workflow, invoices, estimates, upload documents and photos, track individual vehicles, customer pricing, and employee commissions.

 

Find Your Biggest Constraints

After you’ve improved on your workflow management, simply embrace the newest technology available. For a lot of PDR businesses, the biggest constraints lie in the back-office. Whether it’s misplaced paper, poor filing, or communication issues on approvals, the back-office is definitely one of the biggest struggles for anyone in PDR.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution purpose-built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing estimates, hail/PDR and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

Best Auto Dealer Management Software Picks For 2019

If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware of all of the moving parts involved when running an auto dealership. Complications can arise from a poor workflow system, technicians making mistakes, and even simply going through paperwork. There are many things to consider, and inevitably, even the most successful auto dealerships run into productivity shortfalls.

We know that many of the problems tend to involve employee mistakes and miscommunication. If you’re like most auto dealerships, you’ve seen the shortcomings and have already implemented management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds. It’s a step in the right direction; however, systems like the two we just named often have gaps in sales efficiency, inventory, and F&I information.

In auto dealerships, employee mistakes happen. Beyond that, you know there is always room for improvement– whether it’s updating your layout, installing a management software system, or simply eliminating inefficient and unnecessary steps. But management software, such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds have their limitations as well. Luckily for you, in 2019, there are plenty of software solutions out there that can help you fully digitize your inventory acquisition, marketing, inventory management, and reconditioning statuses. There are software solutions out there that can fill in those missing gaps.

Finding the right management software can be a long, headache-inducing, process. To help you out, we’ve created a list of our top 4 management tool picks that can make your auto dealership more efficient.

 

For Your Sales And Marketing

Hubspot

Each year, more and more auto dealerships (and companies in general) are seeing the benefits of Hubspot for their businesses. Hubspot is a software solution that helps your auto dealership with online marketing, tracking sales, and managing customer relationships. There are plenty of options within the software suite that you can choose from. While they’re all really helpful and beneficial for your auto dealership, they’re even better together.

In 2019, almost every search for a new vehicle begins with an internet search engine, such as Google or Bing. When people start that search, they’re looking for a business near them that provides the right answers to some of the most common questions buyers have. We call this inbound marketing, and it is one of the best ways to garner new customers and sales. You draw in customers through websites, blogging, social media, brand, and optimizing your content to draw in customers and rank high in search engine results.

Hubspot lets you create and publish content that you can track, measure, and target to generate leads.

 

For Your Social Media

Hubspot Marketing

While Sprout Social was our top social media management software pick just a year ago, Hubspot Marketing has begun to dominate even the social media market.

For any auto dealership’s marketing team, the number one goal has always been to advertise their business across the best and most efficient channels possible. In 2019, the internet (especially social media) is one of the best avenues that currently exist. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. Beyond that, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, nearly everyone from your grandparents (or parents) to elementary school students use social media platforms.

Hubspot Marketing allows you to to create social media marketing campaigns, has end-to-end marketing automation (publish content in a specific format in timed intervals), let’s you personalize your lead management, has an extremely user-friendly interface, customizable HTML and text messages, and SEO (search engine optimization).

 

For Your Accounting

Intuit Quickbooks

Intuit Quickbooks is probably the most fully fleshed-out accounting software there is. You can purchase Quickbooks for either Windows or Mac. However, as of 2019, Quickbooks is focusing more and more on a cloud-based subscription service where you pay a monthly fee for their software.

While the software is offered for both Mac and Windows, the Mac version doesn’t have nearly as many features as the Windows or cloud-based versions.

Whether your dealership is large or small, Quickbooks is very widely used by almost everyone in the market. It’s very easy to go online and look up information, guides, tutorials, and videos explaining exactly how all of the features work. Quickbooks works well for just about any business and offers quite a few monthly packages that can range from $5 to $25 a month; however, payroll, payment services, and enterprise installations do cost a bit more.

 

For Your Reconditioning Workflow Automation

AutoMobile Technologies ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor is one of the best software solutions out there for auto dealerships. You can monitor and manage any vehicles that are in the reconditioning process. The software allows you to track inventory and auction purchases from the time you acquire the vehicles, all the way to through the process to when they’re front-line ready. It enables tracking of each individual vehicle, the reconditioning stage it is in, the teams responsible, and alerts you to any workflow bottlenecks in real-time.

ReconMonitor is software that allows dealerships to track back-office operations, reconditioning processes, and front-end sales from anywhere on their desktop or mobile device.

Beyond that, it can alert you of potential problems in resource planning or process in order to maintain proper workflow momentum. Unlike common spreadsheets or whiteboards, this software solution is always available, in the office, on the lot, or in the field, at the push of a button.

Dealership Service Shop

What Does ReconMonitor Offer Used Car Dealerships?

ReconMonitor is a software solution from AMT that establishes an early warning system to help your used car dealership control cost and keep vehicle repairs moving towards frontline readiness. With reconditioning software, you can track employee tasks, vendors, and current repairs being done.

It comes standard with automatic alerts that notify you in instances where technicians or vendors fall behind schedule. However, it will also send out detailed visual-alerts if any vehicle misses a milestone. It can get your used car dealerships operating at maximum efficiency– all while making your life easier in the process.

ReconMonitor can help reduce back-office stress by streamlining workflow management, estimations, and overall visibility of your operations. Beyond that, ReconMonitor offers complete operational control at the click of a button.

Your used car dealership should prioritize sales and reconditioning– while stressing less on back-office paperwork.

 

ReconMonitor’s Features Include:

  • Essentials tools, such as VIN scanning and decoding, record management, the ability to upload photos and video inspections, and bulk or line-item approvals.
  • Workflow management that tracks vehicles from in-transit to frontline readiness to help you reduce cycle time.
  • Mechanical and cosmetic digital inspection checklists enable you to create OEM or NIADA certified pre-owned inspections as well as cosmetic inspections and vehicle condition reports.
  • Parts and labor hours management systems that can access OEM parts and numbers, parts ordering, R&I and mechanical labor hours.
  • Service requests allow you to schedule a service drive with advisors and the back-office to make sure certain vehicles are prioritized.
  • Vehicle ROI estimations help you triage repair costs.
  • Capacity management that tells you how many employees and vendors are required to repair the number of vehicles you have.
  • CDK approved integration partner.
  • DMS integrations pull inventory without needing to key information.
  • Real-time reporting that provides you and your team information on vehicle statuses.
  • Customization of business, process, and industry-specific forms.
  • Real-time event notifications that let you send and receive notifications for status changes on vehicles. You can also notify customers of the current status and condition of their vehicles.
  • NHTSA vehicle recall information that is up-to-date and provides information for any vehicle in the reconditioning process.
  • Technician worklog that tracks individual employees and vendors in real-time to keep forward progress.
  • Vendor payment and management that allows you to track workloads and how much you should pay specific vendors.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your reconditioning process more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and get your cars frontline in the shortest possible time.

ReconMonitor: Powerful workflow automation for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies.

 

Too much paperwork

6 Best Reasons For Your PDR Business To Go Paperless

The automotive industry is changing every year. In the past several years, PDR has become more and more about time and efficiency. While sticky notes, filing cabinets, and paper in general have been pretty useful for a long time in PDR, things are changing. To stay competitive, PDR shops have to do more, and do it faster and more efficiently than their neighbors down the road. It requires constant effort, adaptability, and monitoring of the market.

In today’s PDR industry, everything needs to be monitored in real-time. Your back-office, technicians, and managers need to know exactly what is being done, where it’s being done, and who’s working on it to keep up with the growing competition.

Paper just can’t keep up, and neither can you. Here are 6 of the best reasons for your PDR business to go paperless.

  • It just can’t track data as easily as an automated workflow system– paper can get lost, be overlooked, and cause delays. You don’t want delays impacting your revenue.
  • It can’t be organized as easily as it could be in a digital format– depending on sticky notes, filing cabinets, and stacks of paper means you don’t always have the information readily available wherever you are.
  • It can’t be shared in real-time no matter where you are– sure, you could type up in email outlining some paperwork, but it’s much easier to have it all in the palm of your hand and shareable at the click of a button.
  • You can’t really make edits or changes too easily without completely redoing the paperwork– whereas the most successful PDR business’ right now simply update shared information on their mobile devices for everyone to see.
  • It’s just not as professional these days– sifting through paperwork or struggling to find information can look bad for your business. Nowadays, pulling up information on the fly helps your business look as professional as possible to customers.
  • It has an invoicing process that can take hours, while management software can do all of your invoicing for you in just a matter of minutes.

What Can Good Management Software Do For Your PDR Business?

  • Embedded VIN decoder that can avoid duplicate records, look up trim, paint codes, and vehicle recalls.
  • Create R&I labor time estimates.
  • Look up the conventional repair costs so you can stay competitive.
  • Calculate commissions, which can include: flat rate, % gross/net, tired commissions, and splits.
  • Full-service menu control where you can organize accounts individually.
  • Set, adjust, and control the most complex pricing models for customer specific pricing.
  • Dispatch and schedule service requests.
  • Approve estimates in just a few seconds.
  • Connect to accounting and shop management software systems.
  • Create customizable question forms to ensure quality and process compliance across your business.
  • Share inspections, work orders, and invoices across all of the teams.
  • Print template layouts that you can use and configure.
  • Email templates that can help you brand your PDR business.
  • Real-time data reporting that you can access anywhere, at any time.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

What Can PDR Software Do For Your Back-Office Operations?

While your front-end operations are where the money is made in PDR, your back-office can make or break how efficient your business runs. Every front-end task depends on the back-office running quickly and efficiently. So, as you may know, if there are any backups or delays in back-office paperwork and processing, your front-end operation will struggle as a result.

Fortunately, the auto industry is always evolving to increase efficiency, reduce cycle time, and increase throughput. So, with a rapidly changing market, the most successful PDR businesses have implemented PDR software into their entire operations, back-office included.

Here are 4 ways back-office PDR software can have a positive impact on your operations:

It Can Handle Financial Work

PDR software can track anything from invoices, salaries, commissions, hourly payments, estimates, billing, and much more, and communicate with your accounting program for error-free entries. By streamlining all of your financial work, you can free up time and effort towards other tasks that will earn your PDR business money.

It Can Cover Human Resource Tasks

Handling timekeeping and employee compliance can be incredibly time-consuming. With PDR software, you can simplify processes and streamline your entire back-office.

You Can Automate Repair Workflow Tasks

With good PDR software, you can completely automate both back-office and front-end operations. You can set up how you want work to be completed, the order it should be completed, and track who’s working on a job and where. By simplifying communication and making every task have clear-cut directions and order to things, you’ll save plenty on time and money.

It Can Increase Your Productivity

Because all of your business information is saved natively and on a cloud server, you can access your all information on the fly from your desktop or mobile device. You won’t have to sift through paperwork or wait for approvals. You’ll be able to track all work and spot any delays in real-time to keep things moving. No more sticky notes or paper files that can get lost and create a backup. Everything is available at the click of a button, and all of your departments can access the information they need, instantly.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

Press Release: NIADA Partnership

AutoMobile Technologies Partners With NIADA to Help Dealerships Create and Manage CPO Inspections

Custom Software for NIADA Members Enables Digital Inspections for CPO Designations on Used Vehicles
Arlington, Texas (Dec. 12, 2018) —  Auto inspection and reconditioning software provider AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., has come on board with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association as a new National Member Benefit partner, making AMT’s digital inspection software available to association members and enabling them to designate select vehicles with certified pre-owned status.
AMT_logo.pngAMT’s cutting-edge technology delivers best-in-class mobile vehicle inspection and auto reconditioning management services to independent auto dealers and brings a powerful, mobile-enabled, innovative, easy to implement, efficient and customer-centric vehicle inspection reporting resource to NIADA Certified dealers, enhancing inventory listing differentiation and customer trust through the digital or physical lot.
AMT’s InspectionNotes software enables the association’s members to complete the comprehensive 125-point NIADA Certified vehicle inspection electronically and generate digital and paper condition reports for the certification.
That allows dealers to integrate CPO inspections into their existing intake and reconditioning operations, and provide the value and security of CPO designation to their customers while increasing margins and decreasing turn time.
“We are proud to join with NIADA in providing its members the ability to offer NIADA Certified vehicles to their customers,” AMT executive vice president of operations Eric Meahan said. “We have seen the competitive advantage CPO vehicles have given our franchise clients, benefiting them in both revenue and customer satisfaction. The NIADA Certified program allows independent dealers to level the playing field with a similar solution.
“We applaud NIADA for adding this valuable program to its member services offerings.”
The InspectionNotes software allows technicians to scan a VIN on their mobile phone or tablet to begin the process, which takes them through a series of questions, ensuring each required item is inspected and verified. The resulting report is delivered in PDF format that can be loaded to website listings, emailed or printed to share with buyers.
InspectionNotes is a component of AMT’s ReconMonitor software, which gives dealerships visibility, command and control of the entire reconditioning process from acquisition to front line and every step in between.
“AMT brings an innovative commitment to the best in market technology, ease of use and corresponding profitability for our dealer members on the front and back end of their stores,” NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said. “For our CPO dealers in particular, the mobile inspection solution is a huge enhancement over the current manual process, enhancing productivity, quality and ability to display both on the physical and digital lot.”
For more information, visit https://amt.company.
About AutoMobile Technologies
Since 2006, AMT has been building software applications to help companies in the automotive industry replace paperwork, enforce processes and gain instant visibility into business operations, regardless of team size and geographic distribution. Our mission is to distribute easy to use, affordable solutions to help dealerships, PDR and SMART Repair technicians, detailers and reconditioning companies improve customer service, make more money and eliminate back-office inefficiencies.

About NIADA

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) is among the nation’s largest trade associations, representing the used motor vehicle industry comprised of more than 38,000 licensed used car dealers. Since 1946, NIADA has represented the voice and interests of used car dealers at the federal level in Washington D.C. Coupled with its state association network across the country, NIADA’s grass-roots framework provides a dual layer of advocacy unmatched in the used motor vehicle industry.

For more than 70 years, NIADA has engineered programs and leveraged technology to fulfill its mission to advance, educate and promote the independent used car dealer. NIADA members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics of duty, honor and integrity, and believe in the advancement of small business in support of the free-market system. More information about NIADA programs and educational opportunities is available at www.niada.com and www.niada.tv.

NIADA HEADQUARTERS
2521 Brown Boulevard
Arlington, TX 76006
(800) 682-3837
FLORIDA OFFICE
1800 Second St., Suite 104
Sarasota, FL 34236
(888) 906-8283

Original release link here.

8 Trends Your Dealership Should Pay Attention To In 2019

Dealership Software and Operations

  • Sedans Losing Popularity
  • Electric Vehicles Gaining Popularity
  • Self-Driving Vehicles Become More Common
  • Artificial Intelligence Integrations
  • Subscription Plans
  • Electric Systems Will Improve Drastically
  • Used Vehicles Remain Popular
  • Used Car Reconditioning Industry Will Grow and Evolve

2018 has been a volatile year for the auto industry. It started off with a lot of uncertainty, but as everything has begun to fall in place, we now have a clearer picture of where it’s all heading. There’s been a growth in the economy; however, new vehicle sales have gone down. The tariffs that were created to help American companies, unfortunately, had a negative impact on automobile manufacturers both internationally and here in the states.

New vehicle dealerships made money, but the profit margin dropped a little. Beyond that, new cars are struggling while used vehicle sales are going up. Now, more than ever, the reconditioning industry has become increasingly important for both consumers and dealerships. With all of that in mind, let’s look at the most important trends to look out for going into 2019.

 

Sedans Are Losing Popularity

Ford and Chevrolet are expected to drastically reduce their sedan production come 2019. This trend first became known when Ford announced they would discontinue all of their cars outside of the Mustang and Focus Active, and will continue producing their trucks and SUVs. With two of the biggest vehicle manufacturers changing focus, you should expect others to follow in their footsteps. For many, it’s expected that SUVs and Trucks will be the most popular vehicles by 2020.

 

Electric Vehicles Will Only Continue To Increase In Popularity

With companies, such as Tesla, prioritizing all-electric vehicles, it should be no surprise electric has become as popular as it has. No matter where you look, you’ll see traditional manufacturers following suit. There’s the BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Hyundai Ioniq EV, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and more. Beyond that, hybrids remain a popular transition vehicle from gas to electric.

No matter what, electric vehicles will grow exponentially in popularity. In the US alone, you may have already seen an increase in charging stations. With companies shifting their focus to hybrids and all-electric, it’s important to know how much they’ll impact the industry.

 

Self-Driving Vehicles Will Slowly Become More Common

It’s safe to say we are still a couple years from having fully autonomous vehicles on a mass scale. However, with all of the sensors in vehicles today, it’s easy to see where the market is heading. We already have proximity sensors, parking cameras, built-in navigation, and other self-adjusting features being implemented into our vehicles.

Beyond that, companies such as Toyota and Ford have already begun investing in self-driving vehicles. This trend was further bolstered when Congress signed a bill in support of self-driving technology. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that self-driving vehicles are being looked into by companies, such as Uber, for commercial use as well.

 

We’ll see AI Implemented Into Vehicles

Whether it happens in 2019 or not is up in the air, but it’s hard to deny that the use of AI has been steadily increasing. Whether it’s our smartphones, tablets, or computers, there’s an AI to help. There’s Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, and manufacturers like BMW have already partnered up with Google.

 

Subscription Plans Are Looking Like They May Be The Next Big Thing

Companies like Porsche, Cadillac, and Lincoln already have subscription plans in place. If you’ve been in the auto industry for long enough, you know that the big changes tend to happen with luxury vehicles first, and then trickle down over the years to standard vehicles. Beyond that, we simply live in a time where subscriptions are the big thing. Whether it’s Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, or even gym memberships, subscriptions are the way of the future (for now).

Subscriptions for the car market benefit consumers. It provides them with the opportunity to upgrade or acquire a new car much more easily than they currently can in our buy-or-lease market. However, subscriptions are also great for automakers because consumers will feel obligated to stay within brands.

 

Electric Systems In Vehicles Will Improve Drastically

This is something you may have heard about a couple of years ago, but it’s now looking increasingly likely to happen soon. In the near future, 12-volt electrical systems will be phased out, and eventually replaced, by 48-volt systems. This is because we live in a digital age where we have computers in our pockets, navigation and sensors in our vehicles– all things that require an increasingly larger amount of power.

 

Used Vehicles Will Continue To Grow In Popularity

The used car market is a billion dollar industry already. But if the last year has shown us anything, it’s that it is slowly taking over vehicles sales. In the US, alone, the average vehicle out on the road is 11.5 years old. This means more and more consumers are keeping and maintaining their cars for much longer. Beyond that, as a result of the tariffs and the vehicle price increases, used car dealerships have become the preferred option for many people.

 

The Growing Used Car Industry Will Evolve Reconditioning Processes

With vehicles becoming increasingly sophisticated and consumers driving cars for much longer, the reconditioning process will have to evolve. Right now, some of the most successful shops have already anticipated the change and have adjusted accordingly. They’ve stopped relying on paper and inefficient methods. You’ll see shops getting the latest paint booths, the fastest paint dryers, and workflow management software to track jobs and tackle constraints.

In fact, with the sophisticated technology in cars, you’ll need better equipment, better-educated technicians, and faster ways to organize, track, and adjust your lean processes. Everything will need to be done quicker, and you’ll need to embrace technology in this digital age.

Management software can track where vehicles are, how long each step takes, who’s working on them, what’s wrong with the vehicles, what work has been done, and more, all on mobile and back-office devices. It’s designed to make the reconditioning process more efficient so you and your technicians can upload documents, take photos, and apply updates for everyone to see in real-time, at the click of a button.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your reconditioning business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution purpose-built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with DMS, body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business. 

With your dealership managing recon workflows in ReconMonitor, and your vendors and technicians using ReconPro, you have a complete digital ecosystem for end-to-end visibility and efficiency in your reconditioning operation.

How to Adapt to the Changing Recon Industry

  • Discover and remove bottlenecks in your operation
  • Fight the blindness of habit
  • Even small improvements are progress
  • Management Software can solve many problems

 

Regardless of the size of your shop, if you’ve been in the repair industry long enough, you probably enjoy a decent amount of business. However, even with all the jobs coming through and the money being made, you’ve likely run into a few problems here and there. You know how customers can be. They need their cars back by a specific day or simply demand quick action. To keep up with the customers and receive their continued business, you’ll want to reduce your cycle times and increase throughput.

On days that are especially busy for you, bottlenecks will become more apparent. You have time commitments you’ve made to the customers, but if one thing goes wrong, it sets all the other jobs back. It can be stressful and makes some days tougher than they need to be. You know something needs to be done, but you’re not quite sure where to start.

 

Shop Layout, Workflow, And Adaptability

Chances are if there’s a bottleneck at one station, there are bottlenecks in other places as well. Something as simple as the way vehicles move throughout your shop can greatly impact cycle time and throughput.

For example, in an article by Fender Bender’s, Tom Franklin, a small shop owner named Pete had an operation near a police station. Over time, the local police became his biggest customers since their vehicles often required repairs. However, because of the nature of their job, they needed their vehicles repaired as quickly as possible. They couldn’t afford to not have their patrol cars ready.

Pete struggled on some days to keep up with the demand and knew things needed to change. Eventually, he realized a lot of his problems revolved around the workflow in his shop. Originally, the vehicles would move around a central point in the shop in a circular fashion– but it had its issues. Once he removed the central wall that everything revolved around, he created a parallel workflow pattern that eliminated some of the bottlenecks he had been experiencing. It was such a simple fix, but it completely changed the efficiency of his shop.

“Old habits die hard and are often not recognized for what they are. What worked well in bygone days may actually be time-consuming and a bottleneck now” Pete said in a conversation with Franklin. According to Pete, one of the biggest things lowering shop efficiency are habits and a lack of change. In his statement, he suggests that shops tend to get comfortable with doing things a certain way. However, as the recon world evolves, the processes have to as well.

You can apply this logic to just about anything your shop does. Ask yourself a few questions: Do you still record invoices and jobs on paper? How about employee payments? Do you leave notes for important information around the shop that could easily get lost? Do you spend a lot of your day working on back-office operations?

Those are just a few questions you should ask yourself, but if you answer yes to even one of them, you’re likely spending more time than you need to on stuff that doesn’t involve actual repairs coming through.

The repair industry today isn’t the same as your father’s or grandfather’s. It’s constantly changing and there’s new technology released every year to make your life a little easier. There is some excellent workflow software out there that can streamline cycle times and throughput for you. They can track customer accounts and jobs in real-time both on your mobile device and desktop. Over the last few years, management software has become a staple for successful shops, so looking into the options is a good place to start.

In another example, Alex Osborn, from the Creative Education Foundation in Buffalo, New York presented the idea of “habitual blindness” when it comes to adaptation and change. In Franklin’s article, he looked at Osborn’s favorite analogy where a chicken is fed some grain on the ground. Of course, the chicken eats it the first time. However, the grain is then dropped on the ground again with a glass barrier between it and the chicken. The chicken continues to peck at the glass to get the grain in the way it had previously, but ultimately never succeeds.

According to Osborn, this is what he means by habitual blindness. Instead of going over, under, or around to get the seed, the chicken continued the same method that had worked previously. Not all situations can be solved with the same solution, and when things are constantly changing in the recon industry, you have to adapt to it.

In the instance of Pete in Franklin’s Fender Bender article, Osborn would refer to the rearrangement of his shop as “transformation” thinking. However, it’s only one part of a whole when it comes to bottlenecks in your shop’s cycle times. Fixing the individual bottlenecks are necessary, but they’re also only symptoms of a larger issue. To tackle it all as efficiently as possible, you may need to completely rethink all of your processes from the top down. Once you do that, you’ll often find ones that can be eliminated from your cycle.

 

Changes In Back-Office Operations

As we talked about above, the most successful recon businesses out there are constantly adapting to the latest technology. Nathane Vanhoose, Owner of SkratchHouse in Columbus, Ohio, said one the biggest constraints for his business was the back-office operations. He’d spend hours every night after work going through invoices, accounts, estimations, and so on. Eventually, he restructured his entire process with management software. Paperwork, billing, and employee payments that took hours were cut down to minutes once he adapted to the problems his shop faced.

For a lot of shops, estimations have become pivotal for moving things along. Before, you’d have to research all of the potential factors and information that could impact the labor cost of the jobs. Nowadays, management software has advanced to the point where they have databases to pull the most up-to-date information from. Things that used to take a bit of math on your end can now be solved for you at a click of a button. This helps just one bottleneck that can occur in back-office operations, but management software can do much more than that. Using up-to-date technology can help you avoid delays or quickly react to a situation and resolve it instantly with real-time updates.

For a lot of shop owners, a complete reorganization of processes and machinery may seem costly. Fortunately, even if you can’t make the most drastic changes, management software can organize it all for you with little cost or change on your part outside of putting the information into the apps. When looking back at Osborn’s transformational concepts, he also suggests you combine, modify, and divide processes into different parts for efficiency. Of course, management software can help you set that up, too.

Though management software can automate more-or-less all of your processes, it’s still important to have the right employees. Every shop has their own way of ordering parts, but the most successful ones tend to have a specialist who can anticipate issues and find and order the best parts to avoid any delays. When it comes down to it, a lot of delays happen because the right parts aren’t there or they need to be ordered– but don’t get there in time. It’s good to have someone who can decide what is needed quickly and can play a major role in eliminating bottlenecks with jobs.

Beyond that, one of the biggest problems in shops has to do with employee communication. What the front desk says could be completely different than what the estimator tells the customer. To put it simply, mistakes can happen and things can break down pretty easily if there’s a lapse in communication within the shop. With management software, all employees can update, share, and provide all information for everyone to get updated on in real-time. So mistakes that could become costly and time-consuming can be completely eliminated.

Even with management software, mobile devices, and computers, many shops still rely on scraps of paper or sticky note reminders to communicate information. We live in a time where we have the internet and electronic communication at our fingertips. We can send and receive information simply, quickly, and accurately within a few seconds, so why not use it? With management software, you can create email templates, customer forms, and more within minutes and send it instantly.

In Franklin’s conversation with Pete, the removal of the wall was a pretty straightforward and simple fix. However, most shops have much more difficult constraints to remove. Like Pete said,

“Old habits die hard and are often not recognized for what they are. What worked well in bygone days may actually be time-consuming and a bottleneck now.”

The days where you could stop, talk, and relax are slowly disappearing in the recon industry. It’s a business that requires adaptability. You no longer have the time to sort through paperwork like you may have been able to even just 10 – 20 years ago. So you have to break out of your comfort zone and revise your processes with the latest technology.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers affordable software solutions designed to make your reconditioning process better, provide you with better visibility and control, and get your cars completed efficiently. If you are a dealership looking to move vehicles to the frontline faster, or a recon operator wanting better control and time management for your clients, AMT works to provide the right solutions for your business.