We asked fixed ops managers: What are you doing this year to reduce the time and cost of reconditioning vehicles in your shop?
"We have lowered our average recon time to 32 hours. We have four techs who are dedicated to used-car reconditioning. Late last year, we split the team, so two techs come in at 6 a.m. and work until 3. The other two techs come in at 2:30 and work until everything is done. The 30- minute overlap allows for a debriefing of what is being worked on and what is waiting for parts. Since all of the techs are responsible for every vehicle inspection, pre- and post-recon test drives, this helps to reduce the chance of something being missed."
ED ROBERTS, Fixed operations director, Bozard Ford-Lincoln, St. Augustine, Fla.
“With a dual-action buffer, you don’t need as much training to operate it, you’re using less chemicals and you’re using less pads to perform the buffing, which saves time and costs. Less cleanup, and you’re not buying as much. Not many shops do this sort of thing. Probably 70 percent of them are doing the high-speed buffing — you have to have a guy who knows what he’s doing. And still, even though you’ve got a guy who’s experienced, he will still burn the paint once or twice a year and cost the company $1,000.”
PAUL BERMAN, Fixed operations director, Burnsville Toyota, Burnsville, Minn.
“We have a designated used-car reconditioning department. Having the same technician doing the majority of the used-vehicle inspections and repair is the key. The same guy has been doing them for 20 years. He knows what we need to fix and what we don’t. We never sacrifice on safety items — tires, brakes. But we do not need to make an 80,000-mile vehicle new, which some main shops try and do. The used-vehicle manager has to trust the personnel doing the inspections and repairs. Having to show the manager what the vehicle needs every time really slows the process down.”
TONY PERKINS, Fixed operations director, Evergreen Ford-Lincoln, Issaquah, Wash.
“We’ve made an investment in the photo booth. We take pictures [of used vehicles] right away. Within 24 hours we try to get our photos on the Internet, on our website. Even if the car’s not done, we’ll start getting calls and leads as long as the pictures are up. We do between 50 and 60 pictures of every car.”
DAVE WRIGHT, Fixed operations director, Shaheen Chevrolet, Lansing, Mich.
“We measure the days it takes to open and close a repair order in the shop. We try to keep that to averaging about three days max. We measure that at each shop and hold them to it.”
BOB CAWLEY, Fixed operations director, Horne Auto Group, Gilbert, Ariz.
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