David Bernardini, 36
Regional operations director, #1 Cochran Automotive
When #1 Cochran Automotive’s service departments were struggling with inefficiencies in 2016, David Bernardini devised a sweeping solution.
He launched a new service lane process, implemented it in the company’s 18 service drives within six months and trained 100 service managers and advisers on the new standard.
Although the new process demanded continual documentation in an “exhaustive” online training manual for #1 Cochran employees, it provided a tremendous payoff for the dealership group’s service and parts departments, said Bernardini, a corporate service and parts training manager at the time. Net income in 2018 nearly tripled to $6.18 million from two years earlier.
Meanwhile, #1 Cochran’s customer pay effective labor rate improved 10 percent and customer pay hours per repair order improved 8 percent in 2018 from 2016.
“We also became more efficient in the operational costs in our overhead and dealerships,” Bernardini said. “The streamlined process took 12 steps to seven steps without cutting out any of the customer touches. We really dialed it in and trained hard so that it was the only way our team knew how to operate.”
More recently, Bernardini has proved his knack for operational efficiencies as #1 Cochran’s regional operations director for nearly two years, overseeing operations at four stores.
His efforts to eliminate waste and trim vendor expenses at two Monroeville, Pa., stores — #1 Cochran Subaru and #1 Cochran Hyundai — resulted in 2018 return on sales of 4 percent at the Subaru store and 3 percent at the Hyundai dealership. He recently began overseeing a Toyota store in North Huntingdon, Pa., that #1 Cochran acquired in 2018.
Bernardini’s goal is to be COO of a large dealership group. He said he has propelled his career with this mantra: “Keep everything as simplistic as possible. It comes down to consistently looking for the right people and the right processes.”
— Danielle Szatkowski