As ServNet owners, we celebrate a collective milestone as we mark the New Year: 30 years as the industry’s “premiere network of independent auto auctions working together to strengthen and build relationships.” What began as a group of 10 independent auction owners wanting to share marketing strategies has undergone tremendous growth and change over three decades, evolving into a major force in the remarketing industry, setting the standard for service, efficiency and innovation in the auction selling environment.
I am humbled and honored to serve the great auctions of ServNet as the group’s President as we move into this watershed 30th year. I follow in the footsteps of people I consider not just leaders in our group, but titans in the auction industry, whose hard work, dedication, insight and creativity have shaped the way we do business and set the stage for our collective future. I offer my personal thanks to two ServNet owners who are leaving the Board of Directors this year: Patty Stanley, who has served the group so faithfully for many years, initially as a Director, then as its President and Chairman of the Board; and Rob Thompson who has spearheaded many innovative promotions during his term as Director. In the wake of their leaving, however, I’m delighted to welcome Bruce Beam back to ServNet, both as an auction principal at DAAA/OKC and as ServNet’s Vice President; and John Poteet to the Board as our Treasurer.
In 2017 we welcomed another great auction to the group: Metro Auto Auction of Phoenix, headed by Tom McDermott. A strong sale with a loyal dealer base, Metro Auto Auction of Phoenix extends ServNet’s footprint into the Southwest, making ServNet’s superior service and innovation available to both dealer and commercial customers in that region.
Also in 2017 we held our first Client Advisory Meeting in over 10 years, where open and frank discussions with our customers laid the groundwork for some important operational practices that we will institute in the coming year: ensuring Condition Report consistency from auction to auction, enhancing photo quality on internet postings, and working to reduce the cycle time costs for our clients. Also as a result of our Client Advisory meeting, we are developing a national standard for key-making to reduce transport costs and minimize transport delays for clients throughout the country.
In surveying the state of the industry and our member auctions over the past year, we note that while dealer consignment leveled off at most ServNet locations, our auctions recorded increased volumes from the commercial accounts, and most expect to see that continue in 2018. With steady increases in the lanes, our auctions also continue to expand online sales activity. ServNet auctions consistently rank among the top 10 performers on platforms like OVE, SmartAuction and Open Lane. As we continue to enhance our condition report processes and photo quality, we anticipate significant increases in our online sales in 2018.
As independent auction owners, we are mindful that the root of our success does not rest solely on our numbers at the end of the day. Rather, it lies in our relationships, with our employees, our customers and our colleagues. I am proud of the many ways that ServNet auctions supported their local communities in 2017. It was gratifying to note the enthusiasm and support that the ServNet owners demonstrated when we met together during the NAAA convention, participating in the fundraising headed up by our Past President and Chairman of the Board, Kevin Brown, raising $100,000 for the Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. In the coming year, we will continue to work together as a group to mentor those new to the business, to encourage the next generation, and to reach out to those who need our help and support. ServNet’s scholarship program continues to grow, and we are happy to note that in 2018 we will offer eight scholarships to the children and grandchildren of ServNet auction employees.
As we approach the New Year, I want to express my appreciation to the many people who contribute to the success of the ServNet auction group: the ServNet auction owners for their unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence, the auction employees who work so hard to maintain the highest standards of service, and our many valued customers. I am thankful for my association with each of you and wish you the happiest of holidays and a bright and prosperous New Year.
President, ServNet Auctions