Nov 30, 2012
Is the glass half full or half empty? Perhaps it only requires just a bit more of what's already in it.
I will admit, in the past I was a bit of an optimist when it comes to inventory challenges. In other words, I would buy from my gut based on what inventory was in front of me.
Recently, I was talking with a few dealer friends of mine. When our conversation moved toward utilizing inventory management technology in their businesses, I quickly sensed they found the technology frustrating. In addition, it seemed that technology in this part of the business was currently being used more as an afterthought. That said, my friends are all smart and successful dealers.
We all agree that technology is a tool that is only as good as the information put into it. And with all the historical data stored over years of being in the business, my friends have valuable unused information on their hands.
Looking back at my past purchases, before I used an inventory management system, my gut instincts alone didnt serve me very well. I have come to rely on data over the years like market scarcity, retail price index, strategic market view and sale-ability.
I understand we all have different business strategies and plans. But your half-full glass of inventory may be easier to fill than you think.
As I write this, I am halfway through Auto Remarketing's Used Car Week in Las Vegas. And if there is one consistent voice Im hearing, it is that we are all in the same or a very similar inventory situation.
For the dealer reading this, if you dont have time to finish the article, here is an inventory solution you may have forgotten about: Work really work your service drive for vehicles to purchase or to make offers on as trade-ins. You will win by scoring hard to find, high-demand vehicles, as well as selling your service customers new or late model pre-owned vehicles.
Granted this is an old idea, and for me, a dealer operator for many years, it is one that unfortunately had gotten shelved. If we have forgotten to work this area of inventory supply during the years of plenty, then perhaps there are other areas of inventory acquisition we have also neglected.
In speaking to others at the conference, it seems online auctions might be underutilized. I have recently experienced the auction floor and seen a lack of online bidding versus floor bidding. This is another opportunity to acquire inventory with benefits. As someone who has lived online for the past five plus years, online bidding offers more value in the sense of a raw, non-emotional, purchase experience than any other method of purchasing. Do you believe that? Log on and see who is successfully bidding and acquiring vehicles, and you may be surprised.
Second, online auctions can save you money on reconditioning. Recently, auctions have been offering on-site reconditioning for vehicles, whether the units were purchased there or not. And this is usually offered at significantly lower costs than most dealers are paying. But equally as important, it can potentially cut two to three days off your complete reconditioning time. Time is money!
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