Designing an Efficient Facility
After thoughtful planning and an intentional design process, Underriner Motors completed its renovation in spring 2010. Bill Underriner, owner and operator, explains that their old facility was much too small and it was hard to get things done in an effective way.
“It’s like night and day between what we had and what we have now,” Underriner says. “I can tell that our employees and guests feel a whole lot better, and we’re up about 15 percent in terms of revenue and car count since the renovation.”
Because of its thorough planning—taking things like energy efficiency and workflow into consideration—the dealership has leaped over the obstacles it had in the past, and it has not had to make any major improvements since their renovation.
1. PRIORITIZING SERVICE
As customers approach Underriner Motors, the first thing they see is the service department, as opposed to sales.
“When we were planning out the new layout, I wanted the focal point of the dealership to be the service department,” Underriner says. “I know from experience that more people come in to have their cars serviced than visit the showroom.”
Not only has this decision helped with the dealership’s flow of customer traffic, but it also shows that they truly put as much, if not more, value into their service department as they do on the showroom.
“It’s much more convenient for customers trying to get in and out,” Underriner says. “They’re not wondering where that service department is and I think that has really helped us with the flow of traffic.”
2. GIVING SOME WIGGLE ROOM
“Our previous building was very small and we were always working around that,” Underriner says. “We didn’t have a lot of room, so it slowed a lot of our operations down and made it cumbersome to do business.”
Now the dealership’s service department has 11 stalls (up from seven before), a car wash and two large foot loops in its facility, making it easier for technicians to work more efficiently and for customers to get in and out in much more timely manner.
3. KEEPING THINGS COMFORTABLE
“The unique thing about us is that we really have three different waiting areas,” Underriner says. “We wanted to make things as comfortable as possible for our different types of customers.”
The main lobby has a waiting area set up with customer amenities like a TV, coffee, water and snacks. With the television playing and the location being closer to the showroom and service department, this area is by far the most lively and popular of the three.
Underriner Motors also has a quiet waiting room designed for working professionals as they wait for their car to be serviced. This room is WiFi connected and there are multiple desks where people can get down to business and make the most of their time at the shop.
Across the way, there’s a room just for kids. Fully equipped with toys and a television playing cartoons, parents can drop off their kids into this room and watch them afar through the large glass windows.
4. FOCUSING ON SUSTAINABILITY
After its facility renovation, Underriner Motors was deemed a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. The dealership’s focus on sustainability has had a special appeal to its employees and customers, and it has saved them a significant amount in fixed costs.
The dealership recycles everything and with the multitude of windows and skylights in the facility, there is no shortage of natural sunlight pouring into the building.
“We have 47 skylights and we hardly ever turn on the lights,” Underriner says. “It’s really cut down on our bills and it makes for a much better atmosphere for our employees and guests.”