The other day someone asked if I had ever done inventory audits, and if I had a story on audits goign back in the day.
I was assigned to do an inventory audit at a huge dealer (usually they would send 2 guys to do an audit at that dealer)...these were pre technology days, with printed sheets, veryfying serial numbers, marking off the units on the sheets.
Imagine something like 400-500 units in inventory, its early spring, still chilly, snow, checking serial numbers, scraping windshields to see the serial numbers. A ton of vehicles in 3-4 different locations.
If its starting to sound interesting...yes it was interesting.
The usual routine at that dealer was to advise the controller on arrival that you were there to do an inventory audit. Obvious the guy sees that I'm alone, immediately figures that he has more time to line up his story when the time comes to reconcile the audit.
This dealer had a reputation of being a challenge, and obtuse when reconciling an audit.
I start doing the audit, not a big deal, there were vehicles stored at the transport carrier, snow...all you saw were the antennas (remember when car radios had antennas). I remember calling the office, telling the supervisor that there were xx units and I was going to count the units with the bills of lading, instead of the actual serial number.
The supervisor advises me that I need to verify the serial number, not the bills of lading. I remind the supervisor that approximately 45 days before there was a snow storm that literally paralised the city, this yard is barely cleaned. I will count the units with the bills of lading. Fooling around in waist deep snow locating the units that belonged to the dealer among hundreds, was not on the agenda.
Upon arriving on the second day, the dealer principle/owner confronts me making a reference that perhaps I don't have enough experience to count vehicles at his dealership (university degree, counting vehicles is simple). I replied that I knew what I was doing!
Needless to mention that with several locations, its easy to send the guy counting on a few chases, here, and there to locate vehicles.
By mid afternoon on the second day, I remember telling the controller that xx units were missing to reconcile the audit. The story goes...did you check here...did you check there...while remembering the comments from the dealer principle.
I tell the controller...."Take me by the hand show me the vehicles that are missing, or pay me the vehicles that are missing". This fellow looks at me stunned, here is this 20 something kid literally telling him what to do.
I reiterated..."I'm completing this inventory audit now, show me the vehicles (I know they are not there), or pay me the vehicles".
The reconciling was relatively easy, where is this unit, when was it sold, give me a check, and it kept on going, until I received a check for a substantial amount of money. By the time I complete the whole process its close to 6 PM, obvious the office is closed.
The next morning I walk in the office, the funniest thing, half of the folks in the office (big room with desks), most probably the dealer called to complain that I did not know what I was doing, there was this moment where most folks were suspended waiting for the outcome (messing up a "car check" was a cause for immediate dismissal).
At that moment a few of the "management" folks start looking at me waiting for my response, they did not hear anything the previous day. I simply said "Here is the "car check" its reconciled, and here is the money to pay for the units that are missing".
You can just imagine....how did you do it? Simple..."Take me by the hand show me the missing units, or pay me the units"....you said that...yes!
Does it get much cooler than a 1/6 scale 327 with double bump heads and a Duntov cam?
Take a moment to review the photo gallery...here
Its the usual cappuccino with biscotti this morning.
Earlier this week, we had an opportunity to attend a presentation of Nissan's "Innovation for All" brand campaign, meet Allen Childs the President of Nissan Canada, and get an up close look at the Juke.
Yes..the polar bear commercial is part of the brand campaign.
The take aways from the presentation.
- Nissan is setting itself apart from the competition, clearly communicating the DNA and personality of Nissan and their various models.
- Every manufacturer is on a mission to increase their market share, "Innovation for All" is the cornerstone of things to come from Nissan to increase their share in Canada.
- Nissan sales YTD August are ahead of last year, compared to other Japanese manufacturers that are behind.
- Had a conversation with Allen Childs, who was recently appointed President of Nissan Canada, arriving from Nashville, although he is very familiar with Canada from a previous posting at Nissan Canada.
- One of the items on his busy agenda is to increase market share (sales) in Canada working with on a mid term business plan of 3 to 5 years.
- Its refreshing to see Nissan capitalize on the innovations that are an intrinsic part of its products, while creating a distinct identity for its brand.
- The Juke caught our attention in photos, yes...its different, in the "metal" its an interesting vehicle that is responsive to Canadians that want to "transcend winter" on a budget.
Car comparisons are one thing, but an HD pick up shoot out between, Ford (Powerstroke), GM (Duramax) and Dodge (Cummins) is interesting...its here.
This week we reviewed a 2011 Fiesta, that impressed us by how easy it is to drive, one of our editors by coincidence had an opportunity to quickly drive an immediate competitor.....yes the Fiesta is a better car.
Our tester had a 5 speed manual transmission, we are left wondering how a 6 speed Power Shift would perform?
The Colorado Grand, great scenery, superb "old cars"...here.
Yesterday's conversation reinforced that luxury cars are a want, and require a warranty (from the manufacturer).
Lets throw a few more curves...
Q- There are new global markets, and new entrants in the luxury segment.
A- You are referring to China! Interesting that in China its the luxury versions that are selling well, it seems that the Chinese market is not yet as sophisticated to adopt "entry level luxury". Its the German Juggernaut that has the lion's share of the Chinese luxury car market.
Q- The Chinese individual with the resources wanting a luxury car, wants the version that best symbolizes luxury and prestige?
Q- Is it possible that the Chinese customer drives (is chauffeured) the luxury version of firmly established brands, while the North American customer drives the entry level versions of more brands?
A- Very possible...sure looks like it.
Q- How about new entrants to the segment.?
A- Its a North American phenomenon, that has evolved from Detroit luxury, to German luxury, to Japanese luxury, to now Korean luxury.
Q- Some have lost, some have gained, some are more entrenched, some are scratching the surface.
A- Its a competitive segment, with entry level being perhaps easier to penetrate, in the luxury segment prestige, FYF, are acquired traits that do not appear on a spreadsheet.
Q- Perhaps a spread sheet comparison is not the deciding factor to satisfy a luxury car "want"?
A- An individual with the resources to acquire a 6 figure luxury car, is seeking a vehicle that will satisfy his emotional wants, and aspirations.
Q- Doesn't "entry level luxury" do the same?
A- Yes...but its less of a want, anyone with the budget for a premium sedan can access an entry level luxury car, the reason its called entry level.
Q- Besides the product being "entry level" the intellectual decision the emotional aspirations are "entry level" but it works, entry level sells very well.
A- Absolutely,especially for manufacturers that have established cars in the luxury segment.
Q- The luxury segment seems challenging to break into, if a manufacturer is a new entrant.
A- Challenging is perhaps an understatement, the luxury activity in China merely reinforces the global position of the established players in the luxury segment. That being said, a luxury offering by a new entrant (do we have to mention names?) creates an "halo" product for the entire model line.
Q- What you are saying is that the Equus might sell sparingly, but it will influence the sales of the Genesis, and Hyundai, while bolstering the brand image.
A- Exactly, and you could name models from other manufacturers that do the same thing.
Q- Thank You for this fascinating conversation, sharing your thoughts on luxury cars, we could keep on going, at this point its appropriate that we stop.
A- Anytime guys, yes...we should stop, hopefully we have initiated a thought process to enlighten the entire luxury car perspective.