When it comes to cutting costs, Nick Tallman is "one of the best," says Howard Monk, operations manager for White Family Cos. Inc. in Dayton, Ohio.
Tallman is a soft-spoken certified public accountant who never planned to work in the auto industry. But in May 2005 Tallman left the CPA firm he had worked for since graduating from college in 2000 to join the dealership group as its CFO.
Since then he has helped the company acquire four dealerships, bringing the total to 19. The company's revenues have increased 40 percent, and profits have grown 83 percent during his tenure, he says.
Tallman has focused on benchmarking and analytics to compare performance between stores as well as against other dealerships. He has standardized accounting practices, streamlined management and improved financial reporting. And he oversaw the conversion to a new data management system for the group.
In the process, he has cut millions of dollars of costs, he says.
"I really worked on the employee-benefit side of things to combine the stores and save costs there," Tallman says.
"I looked at property and casualty insurance. I consolidated that into one plan to reduce the total premium spread and yet increase coverage to reduce risk the company was exposed to."
White Family Cos. ranks No. 73 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealerships, with new-vehicle retail sales of 8,577 in 2011. Tallman's next goal is to get the group in the top 50, he says. And he has a plan.
"It's a matter of looking for new acquisitions," Tallman says. "It's a matter of providing strategic advising in terms of increasing revenues."
-- Jamie LaReau