Provision—The Future of Used Vehicle Inventory Management Has Arrived

November 11, 2011

Today—11-11-11—is huge for me, vAuto and the automotive retailing industry.

This day marks the official release of Provision from vAuto. This new inventory management engine is the fulfillment of a vision I’ve had for a number of years—one that kept pushing me to find a better way to blend technology and market intelligence to make the job of managing used vehicle inventories easier for dealers.

Broadly, Provision puts velocity principles into overdrive. This product is based on the concept of “provisioning,” or the astute use of time, money, market intelligence, people and processes to acquire and retail vehicles for maximum efficiency and profitability.

When you think about it, managing used vehicle inventories boils down to three critical questions: What vehicles should I stock? What should I pay? and Where can I find them?

We built Provision to answer these questions automatically, once dealers have set up their inventory strategy and goals for day’s supply, turn rates and profitability. The system recommends vehicles to purchase using A-F letter grades, provides target wholesale acquisition prices based on a dealer’s profit goals and retailing potential and serves up online and other auctions where the recommended vehicles are available.

Provision also brings industry “firsts” that would not have been possible without vAuto’s alliance with

  1. clickstream access: Provision distills online shopper searches and vehicle display pages (VDPs) on individual vehicles in dealer-specific markets from in real-time. This data hasn’t been shared with dealers in the past. Provision, however, uses this buyer demand and interest data as part of its vehicle grading system, giving dealers a significant competitive edge to know what’s hot and will be hot in their markets. Further, the clickstream data helps dealers determine retail asking prices they know will trigger online “action” for a specific unit. Thanks to this data, Provision is more market-attuned and -sensitive than any individual ever could be on his/her own.
  2. Deep integration with Manheim: The Manheim linkage is essential to ease the pain of sourcing used vehicles in today’s marketplace. With a single mouseclick, Provision shows dealers where they can find recommended vehicles that fit their store goals at online and other auctions across the country (another industry first). Further, Provision allows users to “click-and-buy” vehicles through proxy bids or “buy now” options. This functionality alone will significantly boost the efficiency and productivity of used vehicle managers, many of whom lose a lot of time and energy looking for vehicles that don’t exist at physical auctions.

Beyond the fulfillment of my vision for a simpler and smarter way to manage used vehicle inventories, Provision makes good on a promise I made to myself, the vAuto team and all of our customers: I will do all I can to make sure the acquisition results in product development and innovation that benefits dealers and the industry.

Provision is the first of what I’m confident will be many innovations to come. And it leads me to say, “Stocking is out, Provisioning is in.”

Stay tuned for more updates on Provision in the coming days and weeks.