Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” Are you spending too much time trying to manage your technology and not enough time getting your work done?
At the Digital Dealer 21 Conference in Las Vegas this August, you’ll get to see exciting new technology that you might think replaces your managers. In my early days in the dealership, I used to say, “I was replaced by the computer.” One of my first tasks was keeping the parts inventory on 3×5 cards until we got an inventory “pad” system from ADP that kept the parts inventory. Next, I typed the F&I contracts and that job was eliminated when we got our first Wang F&I computer. Fortunately, I delighted in learning how technology worked, so I was able to keep my job and grow with the new technology.
What if you’re a manager who doesn’t embrace technology and only wants to come into work and get your job done? How do you survive when your dealership now has technology that decides how many vehicles or parts to stock? Are you being replaced by the computer?
“Will there be a day when we can replace all managers with technology?”
A talented parts manager knows how to phase-in/out parts, maintain good stocking levels, monitor days supply and order with budget-friendly price escalations. But for many of you, the factory has decided that they can handle this task better – or your dealership pays a third party to perform your stock orders. What about amazing sales managers who know what is selling best today and at what price?
There is now technology that determines what price you should pay for vehicles, how many to stock and the selling price. You might think that this gives sales managers more time to “desk” a deal – but most of that can now be done with new desking software that finds the right combination of rate, gross, payment, and credit score to determine the best deal. As a former F&I manager, I’d spend a few minutes while entering a deal into the computer to decide what products to offer the customer.
Today, new technology enters the deals for the F&I manager and presents the menu of products. Will there be a day when we can replace all managers with technology? This is probably the million-dollar question that hundreds of technology providers are gambling on. Unfortunately some of this has created a backlash. By acquiring more and more technology, our managers are busier than ever trying to maintain that technology, analyze reports, get the new software to work right and teach others to use these tools. Is technology getting in the way of managers getting their work done? How can we decide what are the critical functions of your managers’ jobs?
There are six critical functions of a DMS; creating car deals, repair orders and parts tickets along with maintaining the parts, labor and vehicle inventories. Some consider the accounting functions part of the DMS, but if we didn’t have those six critical areas, we wouldn’t need a DMS; any simple accounting software would do. Today we judge how “good” a DMS system is based on how well the DMS communicates with third parties instead of evaluating the six critical features of that DMS. But the price of the DMS is now minor compared to the other third party technologies. Most DMS systems are only 35% utilized because it is easier to buy another piece of software than to trust the skill of your managers. Profits are high and dealers have the budget to buy dozens of new technology tools; many of them promoted by the factory. Is it time for you to find the technology you need to fill your management gaps?
If you are shopping for new technology, be sure and attend the 21st Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition Las Vegas where you can spend the time in a comfortable setting learning how technology can help you overcome your management problems and get the work done.
Author: Sandi Jerome
Sandi Jerome is the owner of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. Sandi founded DealerStar, a web-based DMS. She is a former CFO, System Administrator, Fixed Operations Manager, and Controller with over 30 years experience in the auto industry.