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Deals on Wheels is a growing, independent dealership group with three locations in Missoula, Helena and Billings, Montana. In October 2020, the company’s leadership decided it was time to upgrade to a new, cloud-based dealership management system (DMS) from AutoStar, the legacy DMS that it had been using for approximately 10 years.

As CFO of Deals on Wheels, Brian Meyers was tasked with driving the implementation of IDMS. “We felt that AutoStar was visually outdated and there were more benefits in moving to a cloud-based system,” Meyers said. “Initially our guidance came from a fellow 20-group member who mentioned IDMS, and when we got the thumbs up from another dealer in that group we decided to make the switch.”

DealerSocket’s IDMS combines an intuitive and user-friendly web-based design with custom reporting. “Once we learned what IDMS was capable of, it was like opening the floodgates and we were able to get into constructive, really unique reporting,” Meyers said. He appreciates the ability to customize the dashboard and reports utilizing the Excel environment and the ability to extract data using a number of variables.

“In management meetings we often say, ‘You know what would be really cool is if we could measure this to this,’” Meyers said. “Then we try it out, make a fun report, and sometimes it’s extremely beneficial. Sometimes it’s not, but 9 times out of 10, we end up uncovering some piece of data that allows us to make a better decision for the company.”

“Once we learned what IDMS was capable of, it was like opening the floodgates and we were able to get into constructive, really unique reporting."

Brian Meyers

CFO

Inventory

During the inventory shortage throughout the pandemic, one area that IDMS reporting helped Deals on Wheels was inventory.

“Thanks to creative reporting we were able to create measurements to track the inventory situation based on cost of inventory, reconditioning costs and acquisition costs,” Meyers said. “When we measured these and other variables the data started to speak for itself. We made better, more intelligent decisions that helped us drive the cost of goods down and stay ahead of the inventory curve.”

Insights that came from inventory data allowed the leadership team at Deals on Wheels to see the inventory crunch coming. As a result, the dealerships are currently in a good position, with more inventory than any of their competitors. “Pick a dealership, you can land a helicopter in their parking lot,” Meyers said. “I can barely squeeze my personal car into our lots, and IDMS definitely aided in the assistance of that.”

“Pick a dealership, you can land a helicopter in their parking lot. I can barely squeeze my personal car into our lots, and IDMS definitely aided in the assistance of that.”

Brian Meyers

CFO

Collections

DealerSocket’s IDMS provides dealers with advanced account management capabilities, helping with employees’ collections efforts. Once he was familiar with the system, Meyers created several reports to track things like projections, cash collections and exactly where everything was in progress. On his dashboard, he created custom widgets so he can see at-a-glance measurements of projections, amount of cash collected, amount of queues assigned to collectors and more.

“Being able to see next month’s projections, combined with how much we’ve already collected, allows us to get a real idea of how paced our collections team is,” Meyers said. “That’s just projections. You can do the same thing with repossessions and door-knocking. We set up and use flags to communicate between different departments. Once you understand how creative you can get with reporting and dashboards, the world is your oyster.”

Meyers says the freedom and time that comes from not having to sort through reports and interpret data has allowed the Deals on Wheels management team to work on leadership and team building activities, rather than details and data.

 

IDMS and DealerSocket CRM Integration

In 2020, Deals on Wheels also implemented DealerSocket CRM, which has improved the sales team’s ability to generate and follow up with new leads. Meyers says the main benefit of the IDMS/CRM integration is the information flow between the two systems. “Overall, the CRM is 10 times more efficient than what we were using before,” he said.

The CRM also integrates with Deals on Wheels’ website, allowing all leads to be pushed directly into the CRM. This makes it easy for sales managers to sort leads between locations and assign leads in a round-robin or other type of format.

 

Cloud-Based Benefits

When Deals on Wheels was using AutoStar DMS, the company experienced problems with lost data. As a result, employees used to spend 10-15 minutes every night backing up hard data and printing out reports and other documents, in the event that something happened to the system overnight.

Meyers says that being on a cloud-based system brings peace of mind and ease of access. He notes the ability to access IDMS from anywhere eliminates the need to email reports back and forth as PDF attachments, which is a big improvement in security. He adds ease of access also saves time.

“Our people that are doing repossessions and our recovery companies have access to accounts from their cell phones in their vehicles,” Meyers said. “Our reconditioning folks can enter expenses at different shops, instead of having to go gather 15 bills and bring them to the home office to enter them. I can think of a million use cases where we’ve saved a tremendous amount of man hours out in the field due to ease of access.”

"I can think of a million use cases where we’ve saved a tremendous amount of man hours out in the field due to ease of access.”

Brian Meyers

Attribution

Tips for Independent and BHPH dealers

Meyers says he would absolutely recommend IDMS to other independent and BHPH dealers, with a few recommendations. First, know what data sets you want to measure and make sure you have someone who understands Microsoft Excel and basic algebra, because that is the foundation for the reporting system.

Once installed, Meyers also recommends taking time to play around with the system. “By play I mean a solid week or two of just pointing, clicking, messing around and having fun figuring out what it can actually do.”

Meyers believes that independent dealers have a lot to gain from upgrading to IDMS, even if they are hesitant. “Fear of change means you’re doing the right thing because you’re growing,” Meyers said. “Moving forward to a cloud-based system is awesome and has greatly increased our proficiency, profits, and our ability to do our job.”

“Fear of change means you’re doing the right thing because you’re growing. Moving forward to a cloud-based system is awesome and has greatly increased our proficiency, profits, and our ability to do our job.”

Brian Meyers

CFO

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