From the Auction to Your Lot in 72 Hours

Expediting the Process from Acquisition to Retail-Ready Protects Profitability
By Derek Hansen, Manheim

It's a simple concept. The sooner you get your cars on the lot, the sooner they're ready to sell. Easy enough. Buy, transport, recondition, take photos, create a description, upload to your website and third-party sites, put it on the lot. But what's soon? A week? Two weeks? How does 3 days (or less) sound? Because that's what you should be shooting for.

Driving efficiency and speed into your operation on the front end is one of the biggest areas of opportunity to protect your profitability: acquire, inspect, recondition, merchandise and get the unit front-line ready to the customer as quickly as possible. How fast you get your inventory merchandised and online has a direct correlation to have fast that inventory moves, and in most cases, inventory turn equates to improved overall profits from vehicle sales. 

Here are seven ways to create front-end operational efficiencies today:
  1. Use tools and technology to evaluate and buy vehicles that are in demand in your market. Look at the best inventory from a wide net of resources for quicker, more confident decisions.
  2. Tweak your transportation model. Does it really make sense to wait two weeks for a transporter to load up his truck so you can save a few bucks? Consider centralizing with a trusted (and insured!) transportation provider that specializes in smaller loads and that can optimize loads with carriers for the best price and provide guaranteed prices, transportation routes and schedules.
  3. Take advantage of online channels, like simulcast auctions and online wholesale marketplaces. Online channels not only allow you to purchase vehicles without ever having to leave your dealership, but they also can expand your buying radius, giving you access to more vehicles that align with your strategy. If arbitration is a concern, consider purchase protection programs. When acquiring vehicles from further distances, have a process in place to get those cars listed online before they arrive at your lot. (See number 6 below.) One tip: purchase and transport from warmer climates during the winter months to avoid weather delays.
  4. Get vehicles inspected before they leave the auction. 
  5. Buy retail-ready salvage vehicles that have had all the work done or vehicles that have been reconned and detailed at the auction. This avoids recon time at the dealership so you can get them on the front-line fast.
  6. Get your vehicles online before you leave the auction. The sooner you get your cars online, the more car shoppers that can see – and potentially buy! – your cars. Even if they need recon, take 6 to 9 photos with your mobile device and get them online as soon as possible while the vehicle is in transition. If acquiring through online channels, use photos from the condition report or online wholesale listing. Once a car arrives at your lot, replace temporary photos with high-quality ones. This method is especially effective if you know there's strong demand for specific make/models. Enterprising dealers are taking images from the wholesale VDP and converting it to the retail VDP on the spot.
  7. If you can't get it online before leaving the auction, do the detailing before recon so you can take pictures and get the vehicle online. Shoot for getting every vehicle online within 24 hours of arrival at your dealership. Do the recon after you've created the VDP.
Inventory is another form of currency. A car is just a financial instrument that you take to a customer to cash. The sooner the customer cashes it, the more money you make.

As Vice President of Offsite Solutions, Derek Hansen is responsible for Manheim's inventory solutions in the ever-evolving digital space and works closely with teams from Manheim, RMS Automotive and vAuto to create a customer-focused digital strategy that takes advantage of the deep expertise of these brands.

He will be a featured presenter at this year's Annual Conference & Expo taking place from July 20 - 31 in Dallas, TX. REGISTER TODAY to hear his presentation in person. Day and Expo Hall passes are also available!



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