Byrider Leadership Discusses Rebranding Success, other Company-Wide Initiatives
ARMEL, Ind. — Craig Peters became Byrider chief executive officer in June 2017. Two years later, the company put in motion a series of changes and improvements.
“We rebranded the business, and we really wanted to make sure that we were in a position to really live up to the brand,” Peters said during a phone interview with BHPH Report in January.
Stemming by results Peters shared, the strategic pivots and modifications are helping Byrider to stay on a profitable path, highlighting double-digit improvements in some performance metrics.
To recap, Byrider explained a year ago that it would be implementing strategic business changes to enhance the customer experience, including an improved website and an optimized purchase process to provide customers with a broader selection of vehicles.
Management indicated the strategic highlights of its brand relaunch included: • A new brand identity to provide a more contemporary look for customers
• An updated website to provide an improved user experience
• Updated training for all sales associates • A new purchase procedure to ensure high-quality cars are available for customers
• Technology investments to support car buying, vehicle service and customer experiences
“As a result of the renewed commitment, and a lot of the other initiatives that we’ve designed to attract more customers, we’ve seen our corporate earnings have grown (10 times) over the last couple of years. It’s been a very promising run over the last couple years, and 2019 was no exception,” Peters said.
“Customers have responded very positively,” he continued. “We’ve increased transparency. We’ve improved the sales process. We also have a more attractive mix of inventory. It’s all helped to drive our same-store sales up in 2019 by 10%, attracting more customers and converting more of those approvals into sales. It’s been quite successful for us.”
And successful not just for Byrider’s corporate locations but also the ones operated by its network of franchisees. Of that network, 47% have ran their Byrider franchise for 10 years or longer, according to Byrider vice president of franchising Chris Hadley.
Hadley joined the conversation to highlight how Byrider’s newest location in Tennessee and Wisconsin are all off to flourishing starts this year.
“When you start to look at some of the main reasons why and we’re delivering those results, first and foremost is probably the playbook that we have in place for new operators,” Hadley said. “We’ve been in business now for 30 years, and we continually work to upgrade our playbook and make sure that our key learnings are delivered to our franchisees and help them have successful openings.
“We have a really experienced franchise support staff that works really closely with these franchisees, not only before they open, but after they opened,” he continued. “We also spend time here in Carmel with them. We go out and visit them, and we continue to make sure that they’re looking for the things that you need to as you open up a new store.
“We do have a tremendous asset as well and our franchise body,” Hadley went on to say. “One of our biggest benefits to our franchise system is our franchisees are very collaborative. They’re willing to share their experience and take their best practices and help new franchisees.”
US Labor Department registers Byrider’s service technician apprenticeship program Byrider also addressed another important element of its business beyond the financing and retailing of vehicles.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week last November, Byrider announced its service technician apprenticeship program received registration by the U.S. Department of Labor. The company underwent a rigorous process that took over five months to complete, in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College in central Indiana, one of the largest single-accredited statewide community college systems in the country.
The apprenticeship program is slated to begin at select Byrider locations in the greater Indianapolis area. Over time, the company highlighted the program will expand to include apprenticeship programs in other states and partnerships with a broad range of technical schools.
As part of the program, Byrider will off er tuition assistance for students and provide an automotive toolkit for apprentices upon completion of the program, which can cost upwards of $2,000.
“We’re proud to announce the first-ever Byrider apprenticeship program registered by the Department of Labor. It seems fitting to announce our registration during this national week that shines a light on the importance of training and educating students about apprentice opportunities that allow them to gain valuable skills and prepare for careers in a variety of industries,” Peters said at the time of the announcement.
“As we look to the future, creating an avenue for people to learn hands-on job skills in automotive repair will position students to grow and prosper in an industry where highly skilled technicians are desperately needed,” Peters continued.
Byrider explained that achieving Department of Labor Registration involved creating program standards by identifying key competencies, as well as designing a framework of both on the-job and related training to ensure each apprentice is successful.
The company noted the Byrider apprenticeship program is unique in that it will provide students the opportunity to work on a wide range of vehicle models, unlike most other automotive apprenticeships that focus primarily on just one vehicle brand. Th is allows students in the Byrider program to obtain broad experience on cars that range in age, make and model, which can enhance the student’s marketability and provide more job opportunities.
Official added the Department of Labor registers on average 1,600 apprenticeship programs annually across the nation. Th e goal of the program is to help ensure a comprehensive apprentice program experience for students and provide companies with high quality skilled employees in a variety of industries.
Curbing fraud with new solution
Another business component where Byrider made investment is looking to keep fraud out of its portfolio.
Late last year, Byrider selected PointPredictive’s risk scoring solutions to help better segment high- and low-risk applications and dealers to improve profitability, expand loan availability and enhance the lending experience for both consumers and dealers.
As part of the integration, Byrider will use the company’s scoring solution — Auto Fraud Manager with Auto Fraud Alert Reporting — to identify misrepresentation and prevent default on high-risk applications while streamlining the approval process of low-risk applications to improve and expedite both the consumer and dealer loan funding experience, ultimately expanding their loan portfolio profitably.
Byrider selected PointPredictive’s machine learning AI scoring aft er extensive testing of the solution and evaluating retrospective results.
“In our retrospective test with PointPredictive, we saw a significant lift in identifying defaults tied to misrepresentation and fraud,” Byrider chief risk officer Gary Harmon said. PointPredictive launched Auto Fraud Manager with Auto Fraud Alert Reporting to help address the $6 billion annual problem of misrepresentation and fraud that plagues the auto lending industry. The solution uses machine learning to mine historical data from applications across the industry to pinpoint where fraud is happening.
More than 60 million applications have been evaluated and scored by the unique machine learning AI system which is continuously learning new patterns as they emerge.
“PointPredictive is excited to partner with Byrider to help them achieve better relationships with their borrowers and their dealer network,” PointPredictive chief executive officer Tim Grace said.
“Our solutions have proven to help lenders reduce their risk of early defaulted loans and, in the process, help them streamline loans for reduced stipulations and friction in the lending process. By better targeting risk, the end beneficiaries are their dealers and borrowers who can see a reduction in the time it takes to fund loans,” Grace went on to say.
Reflections of time with Byrider
As referenced previously, Peters is quickly approaching three years as the top executive at Byrider. He discussed what the experience with Byrider has been like compared to his previous time in the automotive industry.
“I used to go to NADA years and years ago and it was largely about the car itself,” Peters said. “You go to NADA these past couple of years and it’s dominated by technology. Just the amount of disruption and innovation, that was a key learning for me because that it really needs to form our long-term strategy, how we continue to invest and building out technology, building out data and analytics capabilities, enhancing our digital retailing capabilities.
“I think the key thing is you’ve got to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the of the competition,” he added.
No matter what future changes might be down the road, Peters is confident in the group Byrider has.
“I work for a great company. We’ve got a strong leadership team. I work alongside a terrific set of strategic partners that support our business and help us grow, and we have a great set of franchise owners as well,” Peters said.
“The enhancements we’ve made to the retail model, attracting new customers, it’s been quite transformative for us and that’s been very exciting to be involved with,” he went on to say
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