Being a manager of a fleet operation is no easy task. You’re responsible for heavy-duty operations and your employees being all over the place. Despite emerging new methods to manage fleet operations, such as telematics solutions and on-demand maintenance services, the problems continue.
The following are some of the biggest challenges that today’s fleet managers face:
Increased Operating Costs: Fuel is what drives a fleet, and increasing fuel costs make all the other operating costs more expensive, too. Labor rates, cost of oil, and the increasing fuel cost all impact additional operating expenses such as tire replacements and general maintenance.
Increased Repair Costs: With fleet drivers ignoring the signs to take their vehicles to be maintained, a simple oil change could turn into an engine failure. Not to mention, if a car is damaged in an accident, the cost of collision repair has increased as advancements in-car technologies have continued. Modern vehicle systems are increasingly integrated, so damage to one component can impact multiple vehicle systems. The cost to replace these more sophisticated parts, and the skilled technicians required to do the work are all higher.
Truck Availability: Production dates can often be delayed, which creates unpredictability with lead times. This means the vehicles you expect and require just aren’t available. It’s truly “hurry up and wait” since fleet managers are all ready to go, but don’t have the inventory.
Misuse of Company Assets: It can be challenging to manage every aspect of your fleet effectively, even if your hardware and asset management is buttoned-up. Your people resources can be an equal challenge. Drivers could be taking longer than scheduled breaks tor driving recklessly to make up for the wasted time. Operators could be using the vehicle outside of work hours, increasing vehicle wear and the potential risk and liability that comes with that misuse..
Lack of Individual Attention: ManyFleet managers work in large companies that are often growing and handling upwards of thousands of assets. Because of this, operators can often feel more like workhorses instead of valuable company assets. It can be a challenge to implement systems to ensure drivers feel well-managed and appreciated.
Driver Safety: NHTSA reported an increase in large truck accidents from 2017 to 2018, despite a decrease in many other categories. The increase is tied to drivers working longer hours and the associated lack of sleep. Without implementing software tracking solutions to monitor a driver’s safety or hours, there’s no way to determine when they need to have rest. Lack of rest means they’re a hazard to themselves, their vehicles, and other drivers.
Additional Fleet Management Transaction Fees: Several companies are using separate services to aid in fleet management. These include motor vehicle records, registrations, tolls, etc. The cost of using these ancillary programs create additional transaction fees, and integrating the data to an effective fleet management solution can be daunting.
These are just a few of the challenges that fleet managers face today, and if you manage a fleet, these may be all-to-familiar. You’re not alone. Thankfully, there are solutions out there for each one of these challenges. From telematics software to maintenance management programs to mobile repair services, the answer to each one of these challenges is available to help you keep your fleet in top condition, and turn your challenges into accomplishments.
For those who manage multiple vehicles through a reconditioning process, like dealerships, fleet managers, auto auctions, and rental companies, employing multiple vendors and employees on top of the administrative duties of running the business can be difficult to manage. There are a lot of steps to getting a vehicle through the make-ready process. To help ease the pains of so many moving targets, AMT developed ReconMonitor™, smart workflow management software for auto reconditioning.
This software is specifically designed to assist in your execution of auto remarketing at maximum speed and efficiency. ReconMonitor improves the ready-for-sale process by giving the user visibility into each of the many steps in the recon process. It also provides a detailed look at how each of the steps and technicians is doing from an efficiency perspective. Let’s look at an example:
Let’s say your dealership acquires a car at auction. The initial inspection indicates that the vehicle needs some mechanical work, PDR, a bumper replacement, paint touch-ups, and of course, photography. Then the next day you acquire 5 to 10 cars through trade-in (wouldn’t that be great), each with its own list of needed repairs. For the recon director or manager within your operation, it can be dizzying tracking numerous vehicles at different stages of the recon process. If your facility employs its own mechanical repair resources in addition to outside vendors for specialties like PDR and other sublet work, keeping track of everything can be stressful and things can slip through the cracks. You not only have administrative tasks to complete but have to manage multiple workflows and stations to make sure the right employees and vendors are matched to the right jobs for the most efficient turn-around.
Capacity management and knowing where each vehicle is in the process becomes complex and the entire process can become bogged down from a single inefficient step. Vendor management in ReconMonitor means the ability to plan, schedule, and evaluate vendors for improved efficiency. For the example above, it would make no sense for the dealer to have the photographer come on a day when a car wasn’t cosmetically ready for its close-up. Knowing where each vehicle sits in the process, and planned time until it is ready for the next stage is a critical ability that will set your business processes apart from any other dealer without this type of visibility and control.
With ReconMonitor, you can watch your vendors and employees complete the designed order of tasks in real time, contact them if needed, make changes where you see fit, and analyze the quality of work. ReconMonitor will also automatically create and distribute vendor work orders, and generate vendor invoices when the completed work is approved, giving you full control.
Dealerships can lose around $35-$50 every day a car is stuck in the reconditioning process. ReconMonitor increases the visibility and control you have over the end-to-end process of reconditioning any vehicle. It’s a great way to get rid of disorganized paper orders and antiquated whiteboards and keep everything in one centralized management solution. With ReconMonitor, your reconditioning process is transformed with vehicles efficiently made frontline-ready in record time.
For used car dealerships, management software is an excellent way to increase your efficiency both in the back-office and front-end operations. Having a system in place not only reduces your overall cycle time but also increases your throughput– maximizing profit and minimizing overall costs.
Employing a management software solution for your fixed operations and reconditioning emphasizes your commitment to making your dealership run as effectively as possible, that you care about making tasks more streamlined for your employees, prioritize customer service and sales readiness, and you’re willing to adapt to the newest technologies out there for dealerships.
With management software in place, back-office administrative tasks that used to take hours can be cut down to just a few minutes. It allows all of your departments to be connected and work together, while also improving productivity on all fronts. Instead of relying on one employee or vendor at a time during each stage of vehicle processing, the operation becomes a more team-oriented environment. There’s a clear and organized structure that doesn’t rely on a back-office spreadsheet or whiteboard to get done. If a team member updates a vehicle’s status in the software, all relevant team members have access to the information, instantly, on their desktop or mobile devices. This lets the team know what’s in the pipeline, and lets both your technicians and your sales team plan for when work is coming.
You can see what vehicles are being reconditioned, where they are, the stage they’re in, and who’s working on them. You can also track and anticipate bottlenecks or delays during the reconditioning process, and improve resource planning based on vehicle volume and where they are in the recon process. The goal, of course, is high-quality work at optimal speed. Workflow management software can get your cars from acquisition to front line sales-ready in as little as a few days. Dealerships lose an average of $30-$50 per day when cars are stuck in reconditioning, so each day you can shave off your recon equals more profit per vehicle. And that savings adds up!
Workflow management software will make your used car dealership faster and more efficient both in the back and front-end of operations. You can create and refine your processes to make the back-office, reconditioning, and retail side of things work better together.
Automobile Technologies Can Help
AMT offers software solutions designed to make your used car dealership and reconditioning process as efficient as possible. We also provide you with better visibility and get your vehicles frontline ready in the shortest possible time.
ReconMonitor™ is powerful workflow automation for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies that integrates with Dealer Management and Accounting Systems to ensure seamless operations across the enterprise.
In the reconditioning business, you’re always looking for a way to add another profit center. Luckily for you, adding Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) as an in-house capability is a great way to increase profit with minimal effort. As someone who’s already performing automotive repairs in your service bays or collision center, adding PDR to your processes will actually be pretty easy. With PDR, you can reduce the time you spend on bodywork during the reconditioning process, but you can also save quite a bit of money as well.
Trained PDR technicians can “massage” out any dents or dings found on a vehicle’s body. PDR typically relies on no damage to the paint in order to be as efficient as possible. Even so, technicians can still perform PDR to reshape the dents, and provide paint touch-ups if need be.
Below are 7 advantages of adding PDR to your reconditioning process.
It (Mostly) Doesn’t Cost Anything In The Long Run
Outside a few initial specialized tool purchases and training, PDR basically pays for itself. Once you have the training and tools, you won’t be paying any incremental costs to perform PDR since none of the tools or parts will require frequent replacement.
It Has a High Potential To Net You Profit
With the right technician, a $100 or $200 job can be done in 10 – 30 minutes with PDR.
You Have The Opportunity To Provide Better Deals To Customers
Most of the average drivers out there today have no idea what PDR is. It’s been around for close to 60 years, and there are still shops that don’t have it as a part of their repair processes. So, if a customer comes in with dents that need fixing, imagine their response when you tell them you can repair them all in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the price of conventional dent repair. You may already use an outsourced PDR technician, but if you find yourself waiting for them to show up to complete the repairs, that vehicle downtime is costing you even more than just their charges.
Creates An Avenue For New, Potential, Customers
If you already have a stream of customers for other repairs and maintenance, you can offer dent removal as an up-sell in the service drive. In most cases, the dent work can be done during other repairs or services, adding no additional wait time for the customer. In addition to your walk-ins, you have the potential to bring in work from auto auctions, used car dealerships, car rental agencies, car insurance agencies, detail shops, and body shops.
Minimal Effort To Adding It Into Your Shop
PDR isn’t a method that requires a drastic change in your business. As we said above, it only requires a few initial tool purchases. Outside of that, there’s a pretty minimal space required to do the work and can easily be done in the shop or on the road with what you currently have. It only takes a few minutes to do during your detailing or painting phases, and it’ll just take a minute for you to speak with the customer, bring up the dents, and offer to repair them without any impact to the overall repair time.
Relatively Low Start-Up Cost
PDR will basically pay for itself once you’ve trained your technician(s) and purchased the proper equipment. It can be self-taught, but professional training and tools can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000 depending on the level of training, certifications, and the quality of the tools. However, after the initial investment, PDR has high profit potential and costs much less than other typical investments for business line extensions.
It’s Easy To Sell To Customers
No matter what, offering a dent repair option that costs a fraction of conventional dent repair to a customer is a pretty easy sell. Since it only takes a few minutes to repair, the lower costs are drastically made up by the sheer volume of PDR that can be done throughout each week. What takes many shops days to do, you could do in minutes. So, if you provide a quality option that saves customers money and is convenient for them, you’ll ultimately get more business down the road.
AutoMobile Technologies offers Software Solutions That Can Help You Manage Your PDR Process
AMT offers software 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 remarketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time from acquisition to front line 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 body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.