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VinSolutions CSO Sean Stapleton on Inventory Photos | VinSolutions.com

Sean Stapleton, CSO of VinSolutions, explains the power of one vendor in the auto industry for auto dealerships nationwide. One company for dealership's cust...

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Comment by Yago De Artaza Paramo on September 13, 2011 at 2:38pm

continuation...

Some of you may remember when Cobalt built Nitra and you
paid for the website monthly fee and had tools to build their own pages. That
didn’t last long.

Selling software and not service made millions to Microsoft
and Apple but the car business needs companies that work with them in bringing
people that are experts in the training, set up, and that can manage a process
that often fluctuates and where the needs change from week to week.

Comment by Yago De Artaza Paramo on September 13, 2011 at 2:36pm

Let me start by saying that I’m biased since I’ve been
providing on the lot data collection services for over 10 years and 300+
dealers but I think that gives me also a great experience and exposure to this
issue and perhaps deems me as an expert.

 

“People will not have on the lot services taking photos for
them in the next 3-4 years.” There is no doubt that the business will change in
many aspects how it markets vehicles but whether companies take photos or
not will depend dramatically in many other factors other than technology such
the weather of an area, the number of jobs available in the area, the number of
cars a dealer has, etc. In many states that we service our dealers have a hard
time hiring lot attendants, sales people, receptionists, etc, adding this to
the mix is just another curved ball to manage in the daily operations. The
weather plays a significant role; in Seattle we have a hard time retaining
field people when we go over periods with 70 rainy days in a quarter. 

 

“You can’t afford it.” Most data collection companies like
Dealer Specialties, Autobase, etc charge only for the cars that they do. So if
your inventory fluctuates up they can bring more horsepower and if your inventory fluctuates down you
just pay less. They also manage the supplies, equipment, etc. What the data
collection company does is spread the cost of HR, training, equipment breaks,
etc that it takes to maintain a crew over a group of dealerships. Let’s put it
this way: My company has 4 full time photo field trainer/coaches for WA alone, probably very
few stand alone stores can afford to have that.

 

“It doesn’t get done at the level you want.” Why not? You
can tell me what you need the same way you will have to tell your employee.

 

“It is not hard (uses as an example of a dealer with 2000 cars.”
A dealer that has 2000 cars can hire someone to just cook popcorn all day. Most
dealers average 70 used cars on inventory so it is hard because they usually
need to use a person whose job is something else and now has to do this part
time (part time effort always yields part time results).


“Technology is in place.” Technology has been in place for a
long time and it has never been the issue. The human factor: HR, vacation,
training, etc has always and will always be the issue. Don’t kid yourself:
Someone has to manage this process and make people accountable if you do this
yourself. Someone will have to hire and train new people if the person goes on
vacation, quits, etc.

“Put s you in control.” You are already in control: You
bought extra cars so you call your data company and you ask them to come one
more day, or you negotiate with them to always be there one more day.


“Bring that one unit that rolls in on Thursday at 5pm.” This
is the one that shows no vision at all… Why not having a company that deals
with the entire human and technology process (usually for $1000/month for a
dealer that sells 60-70 units) but have the option to add a car yourself if you have to
and sell it that rare sunny day in MN? 



Large companies keep focusing on selling a piece of software
to the dealers with the “you are in control”, “own the process”, “do things
better” but never explain to them that all these require heavy involvement in
operations when the dealers need to have their managers get heavily in sales and
sales team building.

 

Selling you a piece of software that you can use yourself
is the most profitable thing a company can do. Some of you may remember when
Cobalt built Nitra and you pai

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