With used cars expected to play a big part in the 2020 auto market, a modern approach to vehicle reconditioning can shave off days worth of holding costs and get retail dollars in the door faster. Recently, my co-host Bridget Fitzpatrick caught up with Mike Boyd, Senior Director of Business Enablement and Founder of iRecon, which was recently acquired by vAuto and Cox Automotive.
Bridget F: Mike, thanks so much for joining us on CBT news.
Mike Boyd: Glad to be here, Bridget.
Bridget F: Now the reconditioning process has been roughly the same for a long time. Can you tell us why it’s important to modernize it?
Mike Boyd: It has been the same for a very long time. One of the biggest things dealers face, obviously the market’s changing and it’s evolving. Every day a vehicle sits either in your service waiting to get done or waiting for a vendor, the person who actually does the work, to come out and actually facilitate that work, is lost revenue. It’s lost customers who come in to see it. It’s lost potential because you’re holding costs, you’re still paying for the car, so this creates a very real opportunity for dealers to grab hold of that because of shrinking margins, right?
Mike Boyd: There’s only so many ways you make money. It’s either by price or it’s by how much it costs you to get that raw product to the front row and that’s where we come in.
Bridget F: Now, can you talk to us about some of the challenges that used car managers are facing if they aren’t modernizing?
Mike Boyd: The market’s moving too fast. It really is and everything we do is based on speeding it up, so that’s great. We want people coming into the market and in an efficient market, people are coming in, they’re buying cars, people are coming in, they’re buying cars, and we’re, you know, creating that great circle of life. Right now, dealers have a great opportunity to match the market by modernizing those internal practices. Not just concentrating on the acquisition or the merchandising, but actually bringing it all the way around. Get that raw product to the dealership, but you have to get it to the front row in a reasonable manner of time and you have to do it profitably, so you can fulfill that order and then move onto the next consumer.
Bridget F: Right. Now, earlier this year iRecon was acquired by Cox Automotive and is now part of the vAuto Suite of Inventory Software Solutions. Can you tell us how becoming part of Cox Automotive and vAuto has helped the adoption of the modernized approach to reconditioning?
Mike Boyd: Well, vAuto is just amazing. It has been an amazing experience and actually I got in the business 25 years ago. My goal when I created iRecon was to actually be acquired by vAuto and become part of it. The biggest reason is because dealers face a lot of challenges. It’s not just, hey, do we have a problem? It’s how do we solve it? And a piece of that is how do we actually get the people internally to adopt those new processes and how do we enforce the use? Well vAuto at the forefront always with technology, but they’re there not only to bring their market data and their insights, but their performance manager model.
Mike Boyd: You know actually knowing you have a partner who directly works with your dealership to optimize, but also to bring all those pieces together. That was the big thing for me. It wasn’t just saying, hey, I have a solution, it was, hey, we’re going to show you how to execute, we’re going to show you strategically what you need to do and then let’s put the boots on the ground and get it done.
Bridget F: We aren’t software engineers here at CBT and neither are most of our viewers, so can you talk to us about how the software actually works and specifically how dealers can save time and money.
Mike Boyd: So I’m definitely not a software guru. 25 years actually at a car lot, that was my background and I created the solution out of my own need. The big benefit for dealers is they have so much going on; there’s so many things coming at them. They have to be very responsive and most times they’re very reactive. Now being part of vAuto, you know they’re in that system every day because you have to pay attention to how you are priced to market, what the market is doing. But now you can actually speed up your internal processes, slow them down, speed them up. You now have all those insights and now it’s very well connected.
Mike Boyd: And that’s where it makes the big difference, right? It’s actually understanding, hey, now we’re in a growth mode, now we need to actually ramp up and purchase more cars, which puts pressure internally on those processes. You know the people who do the work, what are we doing to service? How many cars can we get serviced? How many cars do we need to detail? Now having the software as part of vAuto, now you can actually use those insights and say, hey, I know I have X amount of cars coming, I know that I can only handle X amount of vehicles per day in a reconditioning process. But I know that, so now I can prepare and be able to execute on that plan.
Bridget F: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s a win-win, right?
Mike Boyd: It’s absolutely a win-win.
Bridget F: Now is iRecon available in the market right now?
Mike Boyd: Absolutely it is. It is part of vAuto, so it is available obviously if you’re a vAuto user, provision user, but it is also a standalone products. So even if you are not a vAuto user, which we recommend you are, but even if you’re not, you can absolutely use that product to help you control the reconditioning process.
Bridget F: Okay, so how would they use it?
Mike Boyd: Well, as part of vAuto’s provision, imagine a dealer goes in, they’re in that system all day throughout the day for a number of different reasons. Now they can actually see on their dashboard how many cars have yet to start a plan, how many cars have issues like a vendor has yet to accept the work request, or a vendor has exceeded the time that you’ve given them to do it. So it has a lot of call-outs, so that way you know exactly what’s going on in real time.
Mike Boyd: But then also a dealer can look at their cars as they’re looking at the market and be able to start a plan. Go right into it right there, set the vendors in the order they want to do it and execute on that plan. Now as a stand alone product it’s not a problem, because iRecon is actually a stand alone product separately, where they can go in and control the entire reconditioning process, but solely in iRecon.
Bridget F: Awesome. Well, Mike Boyd, thank you so much for joining us today on CBT. We’ve loved having you here.
Mike Boyd: Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it.
CBT Automotive Network, the number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF Business Media Production.