Used-car inventory management software systems are useful — if you can get used-car managers to use them.
One way to do that is to make it powerful, yet simple to use and read. Ease of use is one mark of a great system, says Pat Ryan Jr., chief executive officer of Incisent Technologies.
He thinks he has achieved that with First Look, a multi-faceted program that tracks, manages and analyzes used-car inventories — and displays data in a user-friendly way.
“We wanted to offer clear graphics and charts, not spreadsheets,” says Ryan. “Dealerships don't hire used-car managers to be analysts sitting in front of a computer screen peering at numbers.”
Ryan's first-generation First Look system debuted three years ago. Customer included 12 dealership franchises in one state
Today, about 1,000 dealership franchises in 45 states use the new-generation system. Heavy hitter clients include dealership chains such as United Auto Group, Hendricks Automotive Group and Lithia Motors.
The latest version includes two added features: a wholesale-vehicle search engine and what's called “Max,” an automated-expertise application developed in conjunction with artificial intelligence experts at Northwestern University, Ryan's alma mater.
The search engine is touted as an auto industry first. It offers searches of more than 30 online wholesale vehicle marketplaces and 50 auto auctions.
Ryan says it allow dealers to spend more online time “evaluating, bidding on and buying vehicles and using their time more effectively on the right cars.”
The Max system, uniquely programmed for each dealership, gives users “the skill and discipline of an expert pre-owned operations manager” actively overseeing used-vehicle inventory sales, turns and profits, Ryan says. “It is automating the expertise.”
He is the son of Pat Ryan, chairman of Aon Corp. and a pioneer who created finance and insurance as a designated dealership department in the 1960s.
Before becoming a business executive, the younger Ryan was a police narcotics officer and a teacher in a rough Chicago neighborhood.
He gained automotive retail experience running a family investment firm with holdings that included dealerships.