Grind It Out

What are the most important feature/functionality offerings that dealers should expect from their DMS? Given the turnover at dealerships it's very important that a product is simple, easy to train on and adapts to that reality. We are a dealer services company. At the end of the day our focus is to help dealers become more profitable. We want to become part of the fabric of their business so that

What are the most important feature/functionality offerings that dealers should expect from their DMS?

Given the turnover at dealerships it's very important that a product is simple, easy to train on and adapts to that reality.

We are a dealer services company. At the end of the day our focus is to help dealers become more profitable. We want to become part of the fabric of their business so that they don't have to think about IT and they can focus on what will make their businesses great in the first place which is their ability to take care of customers by selling them cars, parts, and service that the customer need.

What is the biggest challenge facing the computer providers today?

The biggest challenge is the pressure on margins with dealers. According to NADA, net profit per dealer before taxes in 2004 was 1.7 % as a percentage of total sales. This percentage is down from 2 % in 2001.

Fixed absorption is an issue for a lot of dealers. In that environment, there has to be ROI on the product. You have to be able to demonstrate to the dealer that in fact you are going to do something tangible in either driving revenue or reducing cost. It is a very basic, grind-it-out, and reduce-the-cost-to-improve-the-revenue-somehow business model. You may sell a few more flashy websites, but unless that website is really bringing quality customers that translate into closed deals, then in the end the dealer doesn't need it.

What does Reynolds offer that helps service personnel generate more revenue and make valid recommendations to each customer? How are you able to manage and track this activity?

We have IntelliPath, which allows direct marketing with the customer. We also have a Contact Management tool that reaches the back end.

Perhaps the most exciting product is Mobile Service Advisor because it does deal with that point of contact between the service advisor and the customer. Essentially, it puts the clipboard back into the service advisor's hands, but allows them to up sell and concentrate on what they do best.

It is how do you drive more dollars per RO, how do you make that service advisor more efficient and your backend more profitable.

Many dealers claim they use approximately 50% of their system's capabilities.

Utilization is a key issue, because when the system is highly utilized our customers will see great value in the program. Our focus has really been to help dealers make the most of the system.

We have to look at offering utilization visits where our people can at least observe what is going on in the work place and match that against the capabilities of the product. Then there is face-to-face training, either localized training or otherwise which is more of a classroom environment so that people who learn better that way can also take advantage of the system.

Several dealers say their monthly bills from their DMS vendors are confusing. And the sales reps often cannot explain the bill themselves. How does Reynolds solve this issue?

We want to provide a bill that dealers can reconcile to the contracts they have with us. Dealers want a simple one on the surface, but they also want to be able to look at the detailed one when they need it. When you deliver a complex array of products and services like Reynolds and Reynolds, you have to be able to meet both needs.

How does Reynolds help the dealer manage all of the data that is being created and turn it into meaningful reports to run the business effectively?

Reynolds offers reporting features that enable dealers to unlock the value of their customer and business data. For example, Reynolds ERA XT Advanced Reporting application enables a dealer to quickly and easily tap into dealership data. Real-time reporting can give dealers a near-time snapshot of the dealership's performance. From Sales, to F&I, to Fixed Operations and Accounting — Advanced Reporting, like a car's dashboard, gives dealers a complete, up-to-the-minute pictures of their operations, customers and profits.

What measures has Reynolds taken to maximize its dealers' data security and integrity?

We believe dealers own their data. That's number one. Number two is working with the customer to allow third-party access. We want to be sure that our customers know where the data is going.

Sometimes, customers are surprised by how many unauthorized interfaces occur. Under Graham Leach Bliley, as well as the FTC regulations, they really need to know where, if the data is bleeding out of the organization. Do they have control over that? We have a certification process for third-party providers and that helps to address this issue.

Many dealers complain that extracting data from the DMS and providing it in a usable format is difficult — if not impossible.

I see Reynolds taking advantage of relational database capabilities. Advanced reporting is a major step to the kind of actionable information in an easy-to-understand dashboard format to meet dealer management needs. There is so much information locked in there about customers.

We can help them control how that data is managed. And that is with easy to use, very focused tools that assist various operations in the dealership, specialized tools with unique access for business management or dealership top management.

How does your company partner with other third-party providers?

As a safeguard to the dealership and its business data, we do not recommend the use of third party hardware or software with our solutions because they can negatively affect the performance of our products and consequently the dealer's business operations.

To help dealerships better protect their IT investment, Reynolds offers the Reynolds Certified Interface program to third party software vendors. A Certified Interface helps ensure dealer information security, privacy, confidentiality, integrity, and supportability. Reynolds works with all Certified Interface vendors to ensure functionality.

Scouting Report — One Customer's Perspective:

Strengths

I see Reynolds' core strength to currently be that ERA is at the end of its product life cycle and as a result, does not have many problems. I would like to see a Web-based system offered that is as strong as the current ERA system.
Skipper Beck — Owner of the Beck Automotive Group, NC and TX

I find that Reynolds core strength is its flexibility in manipulating data either through Query Builder or Report Download. I use Query Builder and Report Download almost exclusively in what ever I am doing in Reynolds.

Report Download lets you download preset reports, (i.e. schedules) and it gives you the flexibility to manipulate them in excel or the option to put them into a text file that can be opened in Word Pad and easily scanned for specific items using Word Pad search capabilities.
Reid Griffin — CFO Beck Automotive Group

Improvements

I do believe that Reynolds is prone to put a product out into the marketplace before it has been adequately tested. I love technology and because of this love for technology, I will try anything that I think will benefit my auto group, even to the extent that I will let new products be tested on my group. However, if they are selling a product as a final product, then I would prefer not to find out it is not compatible with one of my franchises after implementation.
Skipper Beck — Owner of the Beck Automotive Group, NC and TX

Reynolds At a Glance

Philosophy

Reynolds' Core Values are key assets in our company. They guide our business and our behavior; they describe our culture and play a significant role in our success. The test of a company's values is not what is written or said, but what is accomplished every day — and how these values help set us apart from competitors…and make us an employer of choice for world class, highly talented people.

Headquarters: Kettering, OH

Notable Dealer Clients: United Auto Group; Hendrick Automotive Group; Group 1 Automotive.

New Product Launches

Enhancements to the Mobile Service Advisor (software application connected via a Tablet PC and wireless network) include vehicle report cards, multiple signature captures and maintenance menu interface.

A cool, new graphic user interface for the Reynolds System with point-and-click design, menu navigation, folders and links to other applications.

Adding a piece O'Neill admits was missing from Reynolds portfolio, the firm will begin marketing JMSolutions' American Auto Exchange's Vehicle Management System.

Reynolds' Web Solutions launched powerful new websites last fall.

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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