ARA Show Preview: Brandon Mullins on CoreConnect
We recently caught up with Hollander Senior Product Manager, Brandon Mullins, regarding some exciting new Hollander products and software--including CoreConnect and how it can drive more revenue for automotive recyclers. Check out our interview with Brandon for a sneak peek into what he'll be presenting at the ARA Show.
Hollander: Hi Brandon, thanks for making time for us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, where you went to school, and how you ended up at Hollander?
Brandon: I started off with a strong, deep-rooted passion for cars. I grew up in Detroit, MI, so I grew up going to car shows. I’m a DIY Mechanic—I’ve restored a lot of cars. But despite my love of cars, I actually started my professional career in quality assurance for software after graduating from Metropolitan State in Minneapolis, MN. I worked my way up from quality assurance to running a software development team, and then introduced that company to the idea of product management, while simultaneously training myself about what product management is. I learned that it’s really about bringing in what the customer wants and making that a reality—versus guessing about what’s best for them.
I have been doing that for about 10 years or so, and then an opportunity came up to come in and see what I could do at Hollander. I have been here for about three years.
Hollander: Great. Which products do you work on?
Brandon: I work with all of the database products that we develop, the Interchange being the largest, as well as CoreConnect.
Hollander: What kind of initiatives have you overseen at Hollander that you are really proud of or excited about?
Brandon: Well, the biggest thing so far is CoreConnect. I think it’s a pretty exciting product—it creates a whole new way of selling parts.
Hollander: So let’s talk more about CoreConnect and your upcoming ARA presentation. Can you give us a preview of what you will be presenting, some of the highlights that people can look forward to?
Brandon: We are going to talk about how CoreConnect helps people succeed through driving more revenue from every vehicle, really making sure that people realize the opportunities they have sitting on their shelves—things that are just collecting dust. We’ll discuss adopting new perspectives in looking at inventory, and how to audit vehicles through their entire life cycle—both from auction all the way up to the point where they look at crushing the vehicle.
CoreConnect can help sellers do these things along the way. A lot of people just don’t have the tools to even identify the opportunities that they do have. CoreConnect is meant to simplify all of that by putting it into the day-to-day workflow and also integrating it with the solutions that they already use, like PowerLink for example—when you sell something, it’s automatically procured from PowerLink itself and there is nothing more for you to do.
Hollander: You mentioned that you are trying to bring products to customers that they actually want. What kind of feedback have you gotten from consumers about this product, and how do you work to integrate that feedback?
Brandon: We receive both constructive and positive feedback. The most positive feedback is definitely regarding the fact that CoreConnect is integrated with PowerLink. On the constructive side, there are always ways to make something better. We get great feedback like “Hey, show me all the parts that customers are buying from me that are at least 80% of my retail value.” We have a list of these things which we prioritize based on how many people ask for something similar, how much time it’ll take us to develop it, what kind of return on investment our customer is going to see if we implement it, etc.
Hollander: So it sounds like you are taking a lot of customer feedback and really trying to integrate it as often and as quickly as possible?
Brandon: That is my primary job. I reach out and I get feedback through sales, we get feedback through conventions--the upcoming ARA show is one of the most important.
Hollander: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Brandon: I have a lot of passion for vehicles and cars, so anything automotive is fun for me. This job is a dream come true in that I get to interact with likeminded people.
Hollander: Great! Have you seen any specific companies or customers that have had substantial increases in their revenue through using CoreConnect or one of these products?
Brandon: For us, we took a lot of the feedback from recyclers based on product reviews, we take a lot of guidance from “Rebuilders Automotive Auto Supply” (RAS) to figure out what we should bring to market first and then go from there. We are constantly evolving and learning as we go. Since the product is so new, we’re just now starting to see the value it’s bringing to the yards using it and we’re implementing updates based on their feedback to make the product even better.
Hollander: What are you most excited about for ARA and presenting and being there?
Brandon: Well, I am really excited to hear what people have to say about CoreConnect. It’ll be the largest launch of the product. We’re going to spend a lot of time showing people CoreConnect, show them how it could plug into their business, how we might make it better for all the different ways people use it. We are really trying to figure out what we do next with CoreConnect to make our customers more money.
Hollander: Is there anything else that you would want to share?
Brandon: I would encourage people to come to the booth at ARA and participate. We’ll do quick, 15-minute presentations. People will get a lot of information on what CoreConnect is all about and if it’s the right thing for them. There will also be an opportunity to enter into a drawing to win a free iPad.
And on that note, something I didn’t mention earlier is that CoreConnect will work on any mobile device—iPhone, Android, tablets, or a desktop PC--you just need access to the Internet. It’s a website, so you don't have to install any software—you can just plug it in and use it.
Hollander: So it’s very accessible!
Brandon: Oh, yes. Very, very accessible.
Hollander: Alright, great. Thank you so much, we appreciate your time and hope you enjoy ARA!
Brandon: Thank you!