In less than 18 months, Performance Ford-Lincoln Bountiful in Utah, near Salt Lake City, saw its used-vehicle sales grow to about 200 in most months from an average of 100. The road to that accomplishment cuts straight through the service department.
"Used-car managers will tell you they never get their cars through service quick enough," says Denim Simkins, service director at Performance Ford-Lincoln Bountiful and Performance Ford Truck Country. "We knew that we needed to have 300 used cars in inventory if we wanted to sell 200 per month."
The old system of tracking secondhand vehicles manually on a spreadsheet had loopholes big enough for an F-450 to drive through. In August 2019, Performance started using a software package called Rapid Recon that tracks the flow of used vehicles through the store's departments.
From the moment a vehicle is bought at auction or traded in until its tires roll onto the front line of the used-car lot, Rapid Recon uses precisely timed communications to help department managers keep vehicles rolling through reconditioning. "It connects the entire dealership. Everybody gets a notification along the way as to where the car is," said Simkins.
He estimates the time it takes for most used vehicles to get to the front line at Performance Ford has been cut in half to roughly three days. "If I take in a car over the weekend, I will have it on the line ready to sell by Tuesday or Wednesday. That was not the case before," Simkins said.