FRANKLIN, Tenn. -
The roar of engines and the chants of auctioneers are mixed with the sounds of hammer blows and the rumble of paving equipment as ServNet auctions around the country work to finish expansion projects.
Six ServNet members — including Missouri Auto Auction, Carolina Auto Auction, Dealers Auto Auction of the Southwest, Sparkling City Auto Auction of San Antonio, State Line Auto Auction’s and Brasher's Salt Lake Auto Auction — all took on major projects.
“Working to stay ahead of the market, with the best in auction facilities and cutting edge technology, ServNet auctions are both well-capitalized and well-managed by the most creative and innovative auction owners in the country,” ServNet president Patty Stanley said.
“Every year we see ServNet auctions taking advantage of the more dependable weather in the summer season to improve their facilities, anticipating the needs of a growing customer base and meeting the demands of evolving technology,” Stanley continued.
High- and Low-Tech Improvements at DAASW
Dealers Auto Auction of the Southwest (DAASW) is making both high- and low-tech enhancements to its facility this summer.
Effective Aug. 1, management highlighted, customers will see significant changes involving Simulcast, the auction’s website, mobile technology and the way invoices are handled on the block.
“DAASW is expanding its technology base and converting to Whann Tech auction software,” DAASW general manager Stephanie Gingras. “We will be powering our growing Internet buyer base with our newly upgraded Cox Fiber, which will increase our broadband capabilities exponentially and improve the quality of the online stream as we continue to simulcast 100 percent of our sale each week.
“This process called for an Android and IOS flexible operating system, and the outcome is our own proprietary mobile technology that allows us to integrate more dealer friendly aspects into our DAASW.com and sister Hispanic site DAASW.mx, allowing customers to access everything they need to do business with the auction on a Smartphone or iPad, including buying vehicles via Simulcast which is accessible directly through our website,” Gingras continued.
Gingras went on to mention that other website enhancements at DAASW include a password-protected link to individual account information, allowing customers to review vehicles bought and sold, payments due and titles received, from a desktop computer or mobile device.
In addition, she noted more images and video of units consigned to the sale will be seamlessly uploaded to the auction’s online run lists and clearly visible to online buyers prior to sale day.
“The auction is also doing away with traditional paper invoices,” Gingras said. “On the block, dealers will receive a small paper printout of their purchases, and can elect to have their full invoices sent in either text or email formats.”
On the flip side, DAASW had been working to solve the Arizona summer environmental problem for its in-lane buyers and has completed a downdraft system to offset the normally blistering 110 degree heat.
“Auctions are about both high- and low-tech enhancements,” said Jim DesRochers, DAASW vice president and former president of the National Auto Auction Association. “It can be easy to focus on the 25 percent of our business on the Internet and not focus enough on the 75 percent that is going through our lanes.
“Our goal is and always will be to have a symbiotic relationship with our overall customer base by integrating both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ mobile technology with in-lane enhancements to insure state of the art brick and mortar auctions are driven with a high-tech backbone,” DesRochers went on to say.
Missouri AA Continues on 5-Year Plan
Missouri AA owner and general manager Kevin Brown said the operation is nearing the conclusion of a $1 million expansion project that started in March.
On one side of the facility is a new 6,000-square-foot check-in arena with three bays, designed to replace the existing single outdoor check-in lane.
Brown explained that providing protection from the weather and heated floors will be a welcome enhancement for auction employees during the cold Missouri winters. He noted the new facility provides for the efficient movement of vehicles through the check-in process, where condition report writing, equipment verification, computer entry and photo taking can all be handled in a single location.
He went on to highlight an additional 6,000 square feet is being added to the auction facility to improve the auction-day experience for customers. The expanded office space includes a new bidder badge area, new payment counter, arbitration and “if” counters, and a new coat and luggage room with lockers for briefcases.
“As much as we will enjoy the added space, the investment we’re making in our facility is really for our customers,” Brown said,
Brown added that this year’s construction project concludes a Missouri AA’s five-year vision, which started in 2010 with the addition of a 10,000-square-foot recon center and grew to include the addition of two auction lanes in 2013.
“As our dealer base grows and our sale volume expands, it’s important to make the auction process as convenient and efficient as possible for our customers,” Brown said.
Upgrades in Texas, S.C., N.Y. and Utah
One of ServNet’s newer auction facilities, Sparkling City Auto Auction of San Antonio, has experienced a meteoric rise in the Texas market since opening in December 2010. To keep pace with increasing volume, the auction added both space and acreage on an almost continual basis since it opened its doors.
Auction owner Wade Walker mentioned several other highlights from the past year, including the opening of a fifth lane on auction day, and most recently, the unveiling of a new mechanic garage, detail shop and body shop.
“It is gratifying to see how many customers return to Sparkling City Auto Auction of San Antonio every week, and how many new faces we see at every sale, as word continues to spread about the quality of the consignment and the level of customer service that is found here,” Walker said.
“As we enlarge our facilities to meet the increasing demand, we still focus most on the qualities that have made our auction successful from the start — our attention to detail and consistent, personal service. Those things will continue to shape our business as we grow,” he went on to say.
Carolina Auto Auction has been hard at work with both physical enhancements as well as electronic upgrades at its facility this summer.
The South Carolina auction now welcomes customers with a newly designed lobby, complete with new bidder badge machines and a digital top 10 buyers and sellers board.
The operation also recently completed a new Internet cafe, upgraded the facility’s wireless systems and made improvements in the restaurant and kitchen to better serve its customers.
Finally, Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction has been taking advantage of the summer weather by paving an additional 10 acres for vehicle storage and parking.
And the summer season is also a busy time for State Line Auto Auction’s maintenance crew, which has been hard at work patching and maintaining the auction’s 76-acre lot using its own eco-friendly pavement recycling equipment. State Line AA also installed a new, more modern car wash in May, and has plans for additional expansion and construction plans in the coming months.