TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.-- Automotive dealers collect mountains of information on their customers.
But old technology dealer management systems are preventing dealers or automakers from using that information to their benefit, said Mark Rush, general manager of Ron Rush Lincoln-Mercury in Columbus, Ohio.
We have the ability to collect mountains of data, and for those of us who are collecting data, were not doing anything with it, Rush said. Were not big enough to warehouse it and analyze it and slice it and dice it.
Rush, who spoke at the Management Briefing Seminars on Monday, Aug. 4, said that most dealers are strapped with old technology – also known as legacy systems – that make it difficult to share data across all departments in the dealership, or share it with the automakers.
We want to be better, we just dont have the tools, and obviously we dont have the leverage to drive the change, he said. Our systems are largely based on old, proprietary architecture. Were using, to a large extent, green screens. One of the vendors right now is supporting four different hardware platforms of legacy software. This isnt where we need to be.
Rush, a member of the NADA Information Technology committee, said NADA is conducting its third survey of dealerships to determine their satisfaction with dealer system vendors, products and services. The results will be available by the end of October or early November.
The two leading vendors, based on market share, are Reynolds and Reynolds and ADP Dealer Services, with Universal Computer Services a distant third. The survey, which included a number of smaller vendors such as EDS Automotive Retail Group and Jarvis Computer Software, is intended to improve the quality of products and services, Rush said.
After the last survey, conducted in 2001, many vendors – after getting over the shock of the results – made changes, Rush said.
I know first hand that some board rooms made business model changes, he said.
In the 2001 survey, dealer principals and general managers gave dealer system vendors a 63 percent satisfaction rating, a substantial decline from 79 percent in the 1999 survey. The goal, Rush said, is for every vendor to achieve at least a 90 percent satisfaction rating.
The NADA survey this year will include 1,500 to 1,600 dealers.
The average new car dealer spends about $7,200 a month in software maintenance fees, and were not happy with what were getting, Rush said.
He urged vendors to participate in Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail – a non-profit, auto industry-wide initiative to create voluntary information technology standards for how manufacturers, dealers, and customers communicate with each other.