Continuing our discussion on how your dealership can improve it’s overall recon turnaround time, CBT News was on location at Hennessy Land Rover with Sales Manager Justin Hoisington and CEO of Rapid Recon, Dennis McGinn.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Hello everyone I’m Jim Fitzpatrick. Thanks for joining us on another edition of CBT News Today, we’re on location at Hennessy Jaguar Land Rover in Duluth, Georgia with Sales Manager Justin Hoisington, did I get that right Justin?. Hoisington, that is a great name by the way.
Justin Hoisington: Better than I say it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And CEO of Rapid Recon, Mr. Dennis McGinn. I know you know Dennis from previous shows on CBT News. So thanks so much for joining us gentlemen.
Justin Hoisington: Absolutely.
Dennis McGinn: Thank you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Well let’s talk shop a little bit, how’s business going?
Justin Hoisington: Rock ‘n roll, staying busy, yeah.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, what are some of the challenges that a guy that’s got a position like yours over variable ops for a multiple roof-tops right? Over a few roof-tops.
Justin Hoisington: Absolutely. Yeah we’ve got the three Jaguar, Land Rover stores, one here in Gwinnett, one in Buckhead and one in North Atlanta we well.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So you guys pretty much own the Atlanta market for these vehicles.
Justin Hoisington: Thankfully and absolutely, yeah.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So talk to us a little bit about the application for you. I know that you’ve had some history actually with Rapid Recon at other dealerships that you ran. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Justin Hoisington: Well I’ve known Dennis now for about eight years, and I’ve had Rapid Recon implemented at dozens of stores that I’ve either work with or been affiliated with. It’s all about velocity and for us finding the inventory can sometimes be challenging, but it’s really just about eliminating the excuses, identifying the bottlenecks and
figuring out how we can get that vehicle ready for sale as fast and as efficient as possible. The bigger it gets the more chaotic it gets. The harder it gets to manage and trying to manage it the old school way on an Excel spreadsheet isn’t always going to work.
Justin Hoisington: So Rapid Recon, for us, it really calls attention to the holes in our game and helps us identify them faster so that we can make modifications to our process and ultimately address those concerns quickly and efficiently.
Jim Fitzpatrick: in anticipation of today’s interview we did a little research with some other dealers and we said, “What’s the average length of time that a vehicle sits in your inventory before it’s frontline ready?” And we were getting answers from anywhere from 8 days up to 18 days depending on the market and the vehicle, you know, the brand they were selling. Talk to us a little bit about that and how Rapid Recon has helped that process.
Justin Hoisington: :
Well, you know, our model has always been to just flood the market, carry far more inventory than our actual demand suggests and ultimately sell cars all over the nation. We buy cars as many cars from California as we do from Atlanta, actually more. And ultimately it creates a lot of hurdles and roadblocks along the way.
The 8 to 18 day feedback. I think a lot of people are kidding themselves to think that it’s actually not worse than that. I’ve worked so many dealerships that it took that long just to get a car through detail.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a problem today.
Justin Hoisington: So, yeah it can be a major issue and I think a lot of times dealerships don’t know what hurdles exist and what kind of manpower issues they actually have. And like I said tools like this really provide clarity about what issues you face and how we can address them.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Just before we got started with the cameras rolling here today you talked to us about how this really has helped in the way of sales and it’s more of a sales tool or just as much of a sales tool. Talk to us about that.
Justin Hoisington: Well I think that most people look at Rapid Recon as a tool just for reconditioning and how to manage expectations there. For us it’s really all about empowering our sales people and our managers with all the information about a particular vehicle. If a salesperson is on the phone with a customer and they can absolutely see definitely where we are in the reconditioning process, what we’ve done to the vehicle that could build value in the vehicle, that’s going to translate to where we ultimately execute at a higher level. We get people in the door at a higher level and ultimately sell more cars because that knowledge is power and customers I think really appreciate that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, so you’re able to give that person that calls in on that car, that specific stock number a lot more of an update and what’s happening to that car rather than just saying, “Yeah, it’s in stock, as you said, let me go put my hands on it to check and I’ll call you back.” You’ve got all the information right in front of you. It’s going to get new tires, it’s going to get-
Justin Hoisington: And the great part about it is it leaves our manager’s to be able to focus on what they do best, which is selling cars, not answering questions. And if we as a management team can focus our attention on just simply selling vehicles we don’t have to worry about what did we do to this car, where is this vehicle, what’s still left to be done? It’s all available right there at our fingertips.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure. I would imagine it would also help with a smoother staff, a happier staff, and one that’s got, a dealership that’s got a better culture.
Justin Hoisington: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I mean it would help in that respect. Do you find that to be the case?
Justin Hoisington: Yeah, I think a lot of cases, especially when you’ve got four or five or six hundred car inventories, it’s really easy to make mistakes, maybe a car gets omitted, you know you forget to add it to your handy dandy Excel spreadsheet and then you look up and realize, “Oh this car’s never been touched, or it’s never been reconditioned.” It happens and tools like this really kind of eliminate that from being a possibility. It’s automated so all of the inventory gets uploaded and then put on its own and gets removed when you sell it.
Justin Hoisington: Again I think at the end of the day most folks have the best of intentions. Whether it’s a detailer, a technician or even a third party vendor, they all have interest in being great and sometimes they just don’t know where they fall short and I think that the tool really calls attention to that and it gives folks that has those third party organizations the opportunity to recognize, very quickly, as Dennis said, just right there on the palm of your hand you can see exactly what your workload looks like. You can see which cars need your attention the most. Obviously which cars have been here the longest that we really need to focus our attention on getting them processed.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about NADA said that in, within the next four years the industry will need 76,000 technicians. Is that an area of concern for a dealer like you?
Justin Hoisington: Yeah, it’s a … Technicians are by far the hardest one to find in this industry. I think when you provide the sort of environment that we do with the available inventory finding talented salespeople, finding talented detailers and managers is actually a relatively easy task. When you create that sort of an environment people flock to it. But techs are always, they’re the hardest ones to find. Especially good quality, reliable, you know, folks like that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s right. From somebody standing in your position, Manager over Variable Ops which is a huge responsibility for three dealerships, high volume dealerships. What are some of the things that keep you up at night.
Justin Hoisington: I sleep pretty well. I don’t think that there’s a chore that we can’t handle. I think most of it, one of my things that I always like to say is, “Everything is figure-outable.” I think we’ve got the tools. At the end of the day you don’t have to be great, you just have to be better than everybody else and the tools that we have, like Rapid Recon, they give us an upper hand. So it’s again, this is, it’s not always glamorous but it’s fun and it’s exciting and we have a great time at it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure. What do you say to the dealer that’s watching us right now that says, “Oh, it’s just another widget and I’ve been doing business this way without something like that for the last 30 years.”
Justin Hoisington: Well I think that there’s a lot of successful dealerships out there that use the tools and there’s a lot of folks that get by just fine. But I’m not interested in getting by. I think a lot of folks that manage to do things the good old fashioned way, they’re leaving a lot on the table and at the end of the day that’s really what it’s about, is adapting, modifying your approach and just figuring out how to just be better and I think we take advantage of that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, if the technology is out there why would you not use it?
Justin Hoisington: Yeah, it’s crazy, especially when you consider what that technology costs and then also the impact that being efficient at it can translate to the bottom line.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Well Justin I want to thank you so much for allowing us to land here on your dealership and disrupt the showroom a little bit but certainly it was well worth it. We appreciate you joining us on CBT and needless to say Dennis, we love having you on so this has been a real treat for us so thank you gentlemen very much.