One of the first tasks that I had in a dealership was typing the daily heat sheet. The fact that I “typed” the heat sheet indicates how old I am and that I still remember this task shows how much of an impact this daily heat sheet had on me.
For a young person, the control over the heat sheet meant a considerable amount of power. Throughout the day, in this large dealership, people would stop by my desk and say, “Add this to the heat sheet,” or “Take this off the heat sheet.”
I was a popular person first thing in the morning as key managers would come to me to find out if it was one page or less. A two-page heat sheet meant a terrible screaming session by our general manager. I would do my best to squeeze as many items onto a single page. For those of you new to our industry, the heat sheet is a list of all past due vehicle receivables. The term “heat” comes from the level of pressure put on by the dealer and general manager when the list is excessive.
Today, the most common heat sheet is still manually typed – but in Excel. For some it is a burdensome task to spend hours updating it with recent payments and notes, and creating additions from various past due schedules. Many DMS systems have a heat sheet as an F&I report, but it doesn’t really do the job of a custom Excel spreadsheet. Some of this is due to a lack of utilization – and the rest of the blame comes from the DMS system’s lack of flexibility. For example, it might show vehicle receivables from the car deals, but not a shortage from a difference in payoff or NSF check. Some dealerships like to put missing titles or paperwork on the heat sheet. Even if you download a custom report from your DMS system and then import into Excel, you might get some of the items, but not everything.
How can you get your heat sheet to be more automated? The key is for it to be dynamic.
Oddly enough, dynamic comes from the Greek word for power, but a better term would be, “continuous and productive activity.” Compared to my static and typed heat sheet, a dynamic heat sheet would not only have an element of automation, but also enable users throughout the day to update the heat sheet with notes, payments, and additions. The automation can come from importing data from your DMS system into a shared Excel spreadsheet on your server. The dynamic part comes from the sharing of this spreadsheet by various users on the server.
The Excel guru, Jack Ross, wrote a great technical article about sharing workbooks in my newsletter. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a copy. Instead of just printing in the morning and handing it out, employees can open it during the day and update notes. When they see a customer in the shop that they think still owes them money, they don’t need to search for this week’s printed heat sheet. Instead they can open the file on the server and see if the customer is still on the past due list.
Cashiers can be taught that when they receipt monies for car deals that they also update the heat sheet notes. Title clerks can also update it as they get titles in the mail or from customers. F&I managers can update their notes from phone calls with the customers.
This is being dynamic; continuous and productive activity. If you’d like more information on how to have a dynamic and automated heat sheet, just send me an email. By making it dynamic you’ll have more power and control over the heat sheet and save the cost of printing, shredding and maybe a future screaming session