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Prepare for Business with System Clean Up and Training

Article Highlights:

  • Prepare to reopen your doors with system clean up.
  • The solution specialists at Reynolds are ready to help.

Arthur Newell, senior director of software utilization at Reynolds and Reynolds, shares tips on preparation for reopening your dealership for business in this Connected Podcast episode. Learn how the solution specialist team at Reynolds can help, and what you can do to bounce back quickly.


Greg Uland Hello, I’m Greg Uland, marketing director at Reynolds and Reynolds, and this is Connected, the podcast with best practices and ideas to help navigate what is happening in the automotive retail industry and the world today. As the COVID-19 virus continues to change our world and how we live and work daily, this podcast discusses ways to continue operating in this unprecedented social environment. On today’s episode we have with us Arthur Newell, senior director of software utilization at Reynolds and Reynolds. Arthur, thanks for joining.


Arthur Newell Hey, Greg, good to see you.


GU Good to see you as well. Arthur, to start today, could you give just a little bit of background on the software utilization team at Reynolds and the role that it plays?


AN The utilization team, known as solution specialists or RSS for short, are a group of software experts that tailor software knowledge to how dealership operations need and use our software. We really focus on being proactive, bringing software tools to the dealership, to the managers, and also focus on efficiency, productivity, and ultimately profitability in their operations. We usually do this through a combination of onsite visits and virtual contact over the internet. Obviously right now we’re 100% virtual.


GU And with that backdrop, Arthur, can you go into some of the common projects or clean up items your team has been working on with dealerships, and some areas that dealers might be able to focus right now?


AN Recently we’ve seen an uptick in a cleansing of systems specifications, control screens, things in the backbone of the software. For example, deal posting, mapping of F&I fields over to accounting so that the hosting process is as efficient as possible. I think over time you’ve got general ledger accounts that change or get adjusted, or a deal structure that gets enhanced, and those connections – that mapping – gets out of sync. That’s a big project right now. Some of these are things that everyone knows and wants to do, but they don’t quite make it to the top of the priority list.

Another example in service is operation codes. Operation codes over time get very cumbersome. They get overlapping and you’ve got op codes that need to be cleaned up because they’re either unused or outdated. Or there are a lot of duplicates. And as time goes by it’s an important project, especially for service advisors. Coming out of this, I think the service departments are going to see a lot of pent up demand, particularly in maintenance operations like oil changes and those kinds of things. So, keeping those advisors as efficient as possible is going to be a big step.

Third and finally, parts pricing. There’s a lot of parts matrices out there that customers have and have built. There’s also retail markup option, a feature that allows you to add a few cents or rounding to a parts sale amount. I think both of those are great opportunities right now to help increase parts profitability.


GU Those are really good core things to look at. Arthur, as we start to look forward, and some states are starting to figure out how to open up the economy, has your team also been doing any training on utilization and focusing on efficiency and profitability? Are dealers looking to that at this point?


AN They certainly are. As the U.S. economy comes out and starts to reopen, and there’s a lot of talk about that these days, car dealerships are going to be important – that we get a good, quick, and strong start to get everything ramped up. Dealers are looking ahead, and dealers are thinking about that through training already. Every dealership is different. They have different needs, they have different focuses, and I certainly would recommend that dealers look for customized, personalized training that my team offers. But there are a lot of options out there, Greg. You’ve got internet webinars, you’ve got online training. A lot of software tools have built-in tutorials, how-to tips and videos – a lot of things that our customers can use right now. At the end of the day, customized hands-on training and really using the software is the best option that sticks the most in the long term, and that’s the direction I want to point people.


GU Very good. Arthur, I definitely appreciate you coming on and taking a few minutes out of your day to chat and share what you’re seeing across dealerships and where they’re focusing right now. While you’re here, while we have the audience, and before we hop off, is there anything else that you want to touch on or anything that you want to share?


AN Yeah, one more thing. Moving forward out of this, coming out of this situation, it’s going to be really important that every dealer has an accurate picture of where they are; where they were yesterday or in January-December through what’s happened in March and April, and then moving forward. Having that accurate picture of setting benchmarks will be really important moving forward in our industry, in each department, frankly. We’ve had a lot of requests recently for trend analysis reports, both sales and expense, for example, month over month. Have a 12-month analysis, so that dealers can see where they were before, where they are now, and what their goals should look like moving forward. It’s going to be a lot easier to measure your success over time if you have those benchmarks today and can see and measure how things move into the future.


GU Very good point. Arthur, I do appreciate you coming on. Thank you again.


AN You bet, Greg.


GU This has been Connected. Stay safe, and we’ll see you on the next episode.


Check out the Connected Podcast website to watch this and other episodes created to help dealerships navigate the business environment today.

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