Editor’s note: Some words from the third paragraph were inadvertently deleted in an earlier online version of this story.
Leaders of dealership management system giant Reynolds and Reynolds Co. say they know the company's reputation needs improvement.
Under new leadership since last fall, Dayton, Ohio-based Reynolds is mounting an effort to overhaul its business and reverse the perception that it's an inflexible and difficult partner. Company leaders are banking on a series of changes, from simplifying contracts to getting dealers faster responses to questions and concerns, to improve relationships with current customers and win over prospective ones.
The overhaul has Reynolds intending to part ways with practices of the past as it aims to aggressively expand its business by retaining and adding more dealership customers, company executives told Automotive News. The strategy, still in development, began after then-COO Tommy Barras was promoted to CEO in November following the departure of longtime CEO Bob Brockman, who had been indicted on federal tax fraud charges.
"Frankly, today our business reputation just isn't in sync with the quality of our products and services, and we recognize that we need to do better and that we will do better," said Kasi Edwards, Reynolds' senior vice president of marketing.
"Are the business practices that have served us well in the past still the right approach?" Edwards said. "That's really the kind of fundamental question on the table."
Company leaders say they recognize the need for more flexibility in interactions with dealerships, including when negotiating DMS deals and drafting less-complicated contracts. Chris Walsh, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said Reynolds' approach to third-party vendor data access, for instance, is part of a review of policies and programs. In the past, the company has charged fees to integrate third-party dealership software vendors that access data stored in the DMS. That approach has led to a debate over who ultimately controls a dealership's data, with some dealers seeking changes in state laws.