What are the most important features dealers should expect from their DMS?
One is being able to mine the data out of your DMS with a CRM application that allows you to better target your markets, manage your advertising spend and communicate with your customers on an ongoing.
Second is the ability to look at data quickly, and intuitively know you've got to act on that data — having a dashboard look and feel to the software that allows you to interpret a lot of information in a short amount of time and be able to act upon it.
Another critical function is being able to blend technologies. For example, a telephony solution for a phone that can interact with the software on the DMS, so that it acts as one. The minute the phone rings I am able to identify who the customer is, what their lifetime value is, and then, with a click of the mouse, be able to let the customer know their vehicle is ready for pickup.
Many dealers claim they only use approximately 50% of their system's capabilities.
There are a number of reasons behind this, the major ones being high employee turnover or insufficient training.
Often, you get initial training completed with the original installation of a system, but there is so much more training beyond that initial step. We've significantly invested over the last several years to improve our training offerings well beyond the typical classroom and e-learning courses. We are using several new technologies, including Virtual Classroom, interactive online “classroom” courses. Also, we've built training and support tools right into the DMS so employees can access animated ‘how-to’ demonstrations right from their desktops.
What about customer data? Does it belong to the customer, the dealer or your company? What about rights to access this information?
We know that a dealer's data belongs to the dealer, and we will access that data only for a dealer's benefit and with a dealer's contractual consent.
What measures has ADP taken to maximize its clients' data security and integrity?
We place a very high importance on safeguarding the customer's data. We have to make sure it is encrypted correctly and that people can't print it, or view it using credit check information, for example.
Just ensuring the systems data is encrypted isn't enough. Dealers must take measures internally to safeguard the information as well.
We monitor and review legislation carefully and we've made several changes over the last few years and incorporated as many of the safeguards as possible into our systems to make sure we are compliant.
Many dealers say their monthly bills from their DMS vendors are confusing. And the sales reps often cannot explain the bill themselves. How does ADP solve this issue?
Some dealers want to see everything down to the line item detail. Others want to be able to see a flat monthly fee. It depends on the dealership, and what we are trying to address is to be able to provide both. We put a special taskforce together with input from our customers.
It is about choice, and if dealers want to see all the line detail, we can do that. If others want to just see it collapsed in specialized buckets that are easy for them to understand, we'll do it that way. We are ready to launch that this year.
How does ADP help dealers manage all of the data that is being created and turn it into reports to run the business effectively?
We believe this is where W.e.b.Suite is a home run. It is designed to provide key information at the fingertips of every user in the dealership to maximize their productivity and improve the effectiveness of running the business. With our industry-unique executive desktop, dealership management can run operations based on exception conditions and benchmarks based on how they run the business or based on industry best practices.
Our new optional Decision Support solution extends the ability to manage large amounts of data and make it meaningful for our clients.
Many dealers complain that extracting data from the DMS and providing it in a usable format is difficult — if not impossible.
ADP offers several extraction tools. We understand dealers want to be able to access that data in a number of different ways, all of which requires an extra step. What we have provided with our robust W.e.b.Suite solution is to present the data in an easy, drill-down capability and allow the dealer to pull information that is needed relative to that transaction or multitude of transactions that might come across that screen.
With w.e.b.Suite 2006 clients can export data into Excel to share internally or with business partners.
Does ADP work with third-party providers?
We have a formal API partner program that enables us to work with third-party providers, making sure they understand and can stay current with changes going on in our system.
With our API program, we have close to 20 partners today with third-party systems integrated into the application suite.
Dealers also need to understand that integrating with companies with poor internal processes can cause problems within the DMS system. Having certified and sanctioned vendors gives dealers peace of mind knowing they've got a well-integrated and complete system that is safe.
How does ADP help dealers manage their Human Resources tasks and obligations?
We are really uniquely positioned here. Many dealers have come to us for help in managing their human resources, and as a result, we have taken a multi-prong approach.
First, we have enhanced our overall payroll offering by looking at all of the employee taxes and the way that they file for federal, state or local agencies. Also, we can pull direct deposit for checking and savings. We handle all of the movement into money funds and to all of the depositories. We even offer pay cards, which are like debit cards, as we see less dependency on checks.
Next, we can a help dealers hire, select and screen associates. It is a comprehensive background check — an HR help desk for dealers. This is one of the key things at the top of their minds in the HR area, because 50% to 60% of their expenses are for people. We've got to look at it as finding the right talent, training and retaining them with the help of a comprehensive set of solutions around HR benefits.
How does ADP assist service personnel generate more revenue?
Our W.e.b.Suite 2006 application provides a new service advisor write-up tool that uses a consultative approach to the write-up process that effectively tracks recommended maintenance or any other kind of declined work. We are able to build something that's pretty compelling when it comes to providing comprehensive service write ups.
What is the biggest challenge facing the computer providers today?
I believe it's around the privatization of data, especially in the F&I office.
The government is imposing a lot of sanctions on organizations, and dealers should be compliant. We as an organization should do our best to help them in their efforts to follow the regulations. To the extent that we can do that, we are a better business partner. Obviously the onus will always be on the dealership for compliancy, but we do try to assist them.
Scouting Report — One Customer's Perspective:
One thing I like about ADP is the stability and dependability of the Linux operating system and the Windows platform, with the ability to operate throughout the system on a consistent basis. This reduces the possibility of system failure and reduces the training effort necessary to familiarize employees with the product.
ADP likes to bring innovations and enhancements to the marketplace quickly. In some cases, this is done by purchasing the product from another vendor as to development from within ADP. While this does bring enhancements/innovations to market in a rapid timeframe, it may also slow future revision and design changes that are identified downstream.
Mike King, CFO of Southern Hospitality Auto Group of Chesapeake, VA
ADP At a Glance
Our vision is to eliminate the manual processes at the dealership to allow the dealer to spend more time focused on customers. We maintain an unwavering strategy to deliver leading-edge, web-enabled solutions that help dealers sell more cars, parts and service profitably.
We want to be the best business partner that we can be, very focused on our customers, providing best in-breed solutions, backed by world-class service.
Headquarters: Hoffman Estates, IL
Notable Dealer Clients: AutoNation Inc.; Sonic Automotive Group; Lithia Motors; DCH Auto Group
New Product Launches
W.e.b.Suite 2006: Enhancements include better data access and integration with its CRM and telephony products.
W.e.b. Marketing: Contract to build AutoNation's websites convince it to focus on helping dealers' Internet operations.
Digital Contracting: Industry has long way to go, but a strong step to automating the manual processes of the F&I deal.
Decision Support: Online reporting, data analysis with nifty report graphics and capabilities based on military technology.
CustomerTouch: Lets the dealership communicate automatically with customers using direct mail, e-mail, recorded voice and live voice. Nice enhancement for its CRM product.