Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Microsoft Excel is a wonderful software program. Not only can you easily analyze data using simple equations and formulas, but with a little practice you can become adept at using some of the more advanced features like worksheet functions and charts.
These tools can be useful in looking for patterns or similarities between sets of data and then expressing the findings in graphical form. For example, from Microsoft Excel Help (F1), details of the worksheet function MATCH are quickly revealed:
MATCHSomething like this could conceivably be very handy for say, a software engineer with a blog who took some pictures of the local Hummer dealer's inventory, then wrote a mostly tongue-in-cheek story about how the Hummer inventory looked ridiculously large, and who now wants to check back and see how the H2s and H3s have been selling in the month that has passed.
Returns the relative position of an item in an array that matches a specified value in a specified order. Use MATCH instead of one of the LOOKUP functions when you need the position of an item in a range instead of the item itself.
MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_array, match_type)
Of course, Microsoft Excel can do nothing without the raw data - that's where the Thousand Oaks (California) Hummer website comes in. If you are looking for information about the Hummer dealer in this area or if you want to quickly get to Hummer.com to see some really cool pictures of Hummers and learn about Hummer specifications and such, this is a great resource - our interest is limited to the online inventory data:
Our entire HUMMER inventory is now online. You can easily search our New and Pre-Owned vehicles by clicking on the Inventory tab above. Please let us know if you do not find the exact vehicle you are looking for. Check out our Specials.[Note: This inventory data is presumed to be accurate. No attempt was made to contact the dealer to confirm this, as that may have spoilt all the fun. It was clear that inventory had been removed and added since it was last checked, so, that seemed to be evidence enough that someone was updating the inventory - plus, the whole idea of talking to a Hummer salesman or the sales manager held little appeal.]
So, when we left our Hummer saga last month, the inventory data as of November 7th was collected and dutifully posted on this blog under the catchy title Epilogue (For Now) - open-ended, non-committal, the title seems to have worked out well, given what was found when the inventory data was collected again on December 10th.
The December 10th data appears in the previous post for the benefit of anyone with time on their hands who wants to look it over - feel free. Maybe there are other interesting conclusions that can be drawn from this data - perhaps there are color or price trends that are worth investigating. All that concerns us are the numbers, and in particular the stock numbers - what was there a month ago and what's still there.
The overall count is shown in the table to the left. In and of itself these numbers are mostly uninteresting - a net decrease of 16 Hummers during this time, so what?
What we are mostly interested in is Hummer love - that is, how many Hummers are still in the dealer's remote lots, sitting there waiting for someone to take them home and love them, and how many have actually been taken home and are experiencing true love for the first time.
With the holidays right around the corner, gasoline prices moderating, and with credit still relatively cheap, it seems that every one of these behemoths should be in a warm garage somewhere or destined for one soon, instead of developing a thin layer Southern California grime in the back lot of a hotel (yes, we know, H2s don't fit into garages, but then, what H2 owner would want to deprive the rest of the neighborhood of it's majestic beauty anyway?)
To answer this question of love, the two sets of inventory data were loaded into Microsoft Excel, the previously described Match function was engaged, and the following charts were created.
A total of 29 H2s that were there last month are now absent (eight of the absent H2s had stock numbers beginning with D, which presumably means "Dealer" - the significance of their absence is not known - they are included in the total of 29, however it is not known if they are currently being loved).
So, that would be 29 H2s out of 167 or roughly 17 percent. Added back into this inventory during the last month were 28 new H2s, so, as indicated in the table, the recent count is one shy of the total from November. At this rate of sales, with the current inventory, this is a six month supply of H2s.
The Pre-Shrunk Version
The H3 inventory data is surprisingly similar, the numbers are just scaled up a bit. A total of 34 H3s are gone, out of a November total of 209 for a similar 16 percent sales rate and a six month supply of H3s. In the case of the H3, only 21 H3s are new arrivals bringing the current total back up to 196.
So, what do all these pie-charts mean?
It's very simple, and it's already been stated twice - based on the inventory data posted by the dealer on their website, they have a six month supply of Hummers.
Is that a lot to have on your lot?
Well, after the appearance of our first Hummer story last month, we were contacted by a number of journalists who cover the auto industry for a living, and yes, apparently it is a lot. Dealers prefer to have inventory to cover a month or two - forty five days is typical. Given the sales rate of the last month, that would work out to be a lot closer to 100 Hummers than 400 Hummers.
When Hummers were leaving the dealership at the rate of 150 or so a month, the current inventory would make a lot more sense, but at less than half that rate, it's just a lot of inventory.