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Former dealer launches business to reduce days in stock and increase vehicle margins

Chris Barrett

Eighteen years in the motor trade dealing with the challenges of getting used vehicles to the forecourt properly prepared has led a former sales director to launch a solution to ensure stock is ‘ready for sale’.

Christopher Barrett’s last major role in a dealer group was sales director for a seven site franchised group. 

He explains the motivation to his new business, Visual Automotive - and its latest product Vautostock.

“One of the biggest challenges in the dealer group was controlling the used vehicle stock,” Barrett (pictured) said.

“Quite often I would turn up on site and look at a vehicle that was classed as ‘ready for sale’, but it was far from so in my mind. 

“The other issues would be cars that had been in stock for a long time and had not reached the forecourt yet for several reasons. Vehicles could also go missing from site to site.

“When I considered it, the problem was that there was no real way of controlling the process from start to finish from a distance. 

“The process relied heavily on the manger on site.  Dealer management systems could confirm a vehicle had been through the workshop and the website could confirm if there was a photograph but that was about it.

“I tried to find a solution for this but could not find anything that did everything you needed.  So I decided I would build something.”   

Visual Automotive has developed which tracks stock through every stage of preparation, from the moment it is in stock, to being publicised online. 

“Not only does this ensure you can reliably quote delivery dates but it controls and speeds up the preparation process. 

"Consequently, stock turn and profit margins increase,” Barrett said. was developed having experienced varying levels of preparation standards and control across similar sites of the same business. 

It starts the process with an online check-in when the vehicle arrives into stock. 

Instantly the administration team get notified and book the vehicle in for any work required. links directly with a DMS system to ensure there is no duplication. 

Another benefit is that it links in with third party suppliers such as SMART repairers or valeting companies. 

Every person involved in the preparation process is notified and time measured, “to ensure seamless and speedy results”.

“Because everyone understands their actions are measured and what is required is well communicated, results can be seen immediately.  In addition to this there are numerous stock reports.

“One vital report, which is emailed each morning to senior managers, details any vehicles that are not prepared and their status.”

It will also give stock profile information and helps control vehicles from going overage by highlighting key date points such as 30 days and 45 days. 

It will also check these vehicles against Cap data if required.

“When a business has multiple sites and cars are moved from site to site one of the challenges is not losing a car to a forgotten part of the dealership. 

“Sales staff have a habit of borrowing vehicles from another site and as soon as they do not sell it they lose interest.” 

With stock locator tool any vehicles off site or on loan for more than 72 hours are flagged. 

It can make stock takes a lot easier as each vehicle location can be pin pointed. records each vehicle’s sale price, days taken to prepare and sell, and will highlight which vehicles are selling the quickest around the country. 

Vautostock measures all stock being sold at dealer level, and not just the limited stock being sold on third party platforms. 

“In addition, selling on line is becoming increasingly important for dealers.  The benefit of Vautostock is that it can transmit which of your vehicles are 100% completed and ready to be delivered the same day or tomorrow and you can flag these vehicles on your website.  This is a positive step towards a more seamless online sales process.”

Vautostock has been running in Advance Vauxhall across its two sites. Perrys Aylesbury had it installed in January.

> Visit Visual Automotive 

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