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ADP Lightspeed Announces Integrated E-mail

April 5, 2011 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

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ADP LightspeedADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management programs for recreation sports dealerships, has announced its development of e-mail integration in its LightspeedEVO product for future release. This integration allows dealers to e-mail directly out of the Parts, Sales and Service modules in the LightspeedEVO DMS (Dealer Management System), according to a news release.

The e-mail integration tool allows dealers to send invoices, updates on service, receipts and purchase orders in electronic messages directly out of LightspeedEVO. Dealers have the ability to set up system preferences for populating data into form e-mails and selecting the auto populating fields. These fields pull in the customers’ specific information (name, invoice number and unit information) automatically.

“E-mail integration truly improves dealers’ ability to communicate effectively and quickly with their customers,” said Kris Denos, director of research and development at ADP Lightspeed. “With immediate communication linked to actions performed in EVO, such as closing a repair order, and the ability to send invoices electronically, dealers can improve customer service and responsiveness drastically.”

E-mail integration is included with the purchase of LightspeedEVO and will be available to dealers currently on the system for download in version 5.3 due for release this spring. System preferences must be set to enable e-mail communication.

ADP Lightspeed ADP Lightspeed, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, powersports and RVdealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. ADP, with nearly $9 billion in revenues and 550,000 clients, is one of the largest providers of a broad range of premier mission – critical, transaction processing and information-based business solutions in selected markets on a global basis. For more information visit www.adplightspeed.com.

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ADP Lightspeed Offers Credit Checks on DMS

October 28, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management systems (DMS), today (Oct. 28) announced integration that allows dealers to run credit checks within the LightspeedEVO Dealer Management System. Credit Check gives dealers the ability to submit customer information to all three credit bureaus without have to re-enter information, according to a news release.

“In today’s difficult financing environment it is critical to handle deals correctly to secure the financing customers need. With integrated Credit Check, LightspeedEVO allows sales and F&I representatives to pull credit information early on in the deal process. This provides the sales representative the ability to make critical adjustments that will help increase the chances of a closed sale and makes it easier for F&I management to determine an appropriate lender,” the release stated.

“Savvy dealers know they can make more money if they understand financing,” said Chris Hauck, product manager at ADP Lightspeed. “It is important for the customer and the sales team to understand what is achievable. This vital information helps dealers speed up the sales process and avoid disappointing customers with finance declines.”

Along with the ability to check customer credit scores, the information can also be passed through a credit gateway for contracting companies to search for financing. Since the information is pulled directly out of the sales deal, there is no need to re-enter or handwrite finance deal information.

The Credit Check integration will be available for dealers using LightspeedEVO later this fall. For more information on the Credit Check integration or ADP Lightspeed’s Marine Dealer Management Software visit www.adplightspeed.com.

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ADP Lightspeed Redesigns Rental Software

October 8, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed announced Thursday (Oct. 7) its newly redesigned Rental Management Software within LightspeedEVO, the company’s RV Dealer Management System (DMS). The changes now allow dealers to rely on the single software solution to manage complete rental operations, according to a news release.

Complex services, functions and operations within rental departments have made it difficult to find a single source to track units, campgrounds and reservations using one system. Having operational activities tracked separately creates missed opportunities, confusion and unnecessary costs.

“Rental management teams at have been frustrated due to the inability for a single solution to provide a clear view of operations,” said Chris Hauck, product manager at ADP Lightspeed. “We worked closely with RV rental businesses across the country to identify holes in tracking and found ways to change our software to fill them. The result is a complete solution that manages every aspect of RV rental operations.”

Hauck mentioned three areas where ADP Lightspeed’s development team put particular focus:

  • Multiple Unit Rentals – Track multiple units (i.e. RV, generator, towing equipment etc.) within a single rental.
  • Flexible Billing – Adjust billing options to seasonal, hourly, daily and other intervals to fit customer preferences and match services provided.
  • Rental Transfers – Easily change reservations with graphical drag and drop functionality.

The redesigned Rental Management Software integrates with the company’s Parts, Service, Sales, CRM and Accounting packages and will be available later this fall. To find out more contact ADP Lightspeed at (800) 521-0309 or visit www.adplightspeed.com.

ADP Lightspeed, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, heavy equipment, powersports and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. ADP, with nearly $9 billion in revenues and about 560,000 clients is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions.

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Gregory Smith Takes Helm at ADP Lightspeed

September 30, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed, a premier provider of Dealer Management Systems (DMS), has announced that Gregory Smith, previously the head of the ADP Dealer Services Business Intelligence unit, has stepped in to direct its operations.

Smith replaces Laurn Rice who will now direct sales operations within ADP Lightspeed, according to a news release.

In his 30-year business career, Smith has held executive positions in operations, marketing, sales, strategy, parts and service, training and supply chain management for automotive manufacturer and technology companies. Since joining ADP Dealer Services, he has led strategic development and marketing, and formed a new Business Intelligence business unit to help dealer and manufacturer clients improve performance and profitability.

“It is a pivotal time in the RV industry, and dealers need comprehensive solutions to maximize every opportunity,” said Smith. “ADP Lightspeed provides technology tools and industry information that have helped dealers maximize profitability. I hope to add my years of experience to the expert team at ADP Lightspeed to continue to create industry-leading systems focused on improving dealer performance.”

As the vice president/general manager, Smith leads a team of over 150 associates who develop, install, train and support a wide range of dealership solutions — which in addition to the dealership management system — include websites, CRM, finance products and integrated network phones.

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A Well-Run Shop: Get Control of Your Store

July 20, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

Hal Ethington

Hal Ethington

Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of management papers about using resources correctly. It was written by Hal Ethington and distributed by ADP Lightspeed.

I knew he was the owner. Not because I had seen his face a thousand times on ads. Not because the name on his shirt matched the sign out front, and not because he had a half-dozen important-looking papers in his hands.

No, it wasn’t any of that. It was more the look on his face when he realized that he was caught. It came in the instant he saw me on his appliance sales floor, when, in a split second he figured out three things. First, he had a live customer in the showroom. Second, his salespeople were nowhere in sight, and third, there was no one but him to handle the traffic.

And he was not happy about these last two items. But he knew I had seen him, so he set the papers on the counter, and walked toward me.

But the body-language was all wrong. First, there was the quick look left and right to see if there wasn’t somebody who could handle this customer. And then the resigned shoulder-set when he knew he would have to do it. There was no smile, no out-stretched hand, no eager sales greeting. He was obviously still worried about those papers, now lying on the counter, face down.

We talked a few moments. I needed a new dishwasher for the kitchen, and he made a good effort to get into it, but all the while, his eyes were darting to the office, to the phones, and to the front door. The sales people were still nowhere to be found and we both quickly concluded our conversation. I felt like an intruder. He felt imposed upon.

So I left. But with a complete understanding how he felt. And the memories flooded back: The constant battle between the business, and the public; The customer, and the paperwork; The money, and the time; The interruptions — the constant interruptions.

And if you feel the same way, maybe you need to look closer at your operation. If you are called, time and time again, to cover, to resolve, to fix, to figure out, to find and explain — maybe you’re not running your business. Maybe, it’s running you.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There can be calm in the retail environment. And that calm can easily promote the current of excitement and action that is a RV store.

It’s systems. It’s preparation, and it’s management. With it you’re a well oiled machine. Without it, well, let’s just say, you look bad. Real bad.

And your customers notice. Lack of a proper greeting, perceived sleights, prolonged waiting, poor service, promises forgotten or not kept—they notice all of this. They vote with their feet. And you are left wondering why your sales floor is empty.

In the coming weeks, we will be talking about getting control of your store. We will look at each department and each of your business systems, to see what makes a well run shop, and to see what ends up in public disaster.

I don’t personally know that fellow Dan, at that appliance store. But I do know that he has been in business, at the same location, with his name on the sign, for about 30 years. And I’m guessing that my poor experience there was a rare occurrence, and that he was just caught in a bad moment. I’ll be going back there when I am ready to buy, and we’ll give it another shot.

You may not be so lucky.

Stay tuned.

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ADP Lightspeed to Help Dealers Grow Business

July 13, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

ADP Lightspeed ADP Lightspeed has announced its new white paper and webinar series titled “Find More.”

Following the success of the “Find Hidden Cash” series, which targeted missed cash opportunities in dealer  operations, the “Find More” series will focus on ways to profitably grow business.

“These past few months have started a trend,” said Hal Ethington, senior analyst for ADP Lightspeed. “Customers are coming back, inventories are turning and some dealers are taking advantage. It feels as though everyone has been keeping their heads down while daily opening the doors, but now is the time to profitably build your business. It is time to start growing again.”

The “Find More” series will include monthly white papers, webinars and industry studies like the “Find Hidden Cash” series. Information collected through ADP Lightspeed Data Services and its partners will be utilized to demonstrate opportunities from growth in revenue, efficiencies and profitability.ADP Lightspeed cash in drawer graphic

“This year’s theme will be ‘smart growth,’” Ethington continued. “Everyone wants to see growth return, but want to avoid pitfalls that plagued our industry previously due to focusing on revenue instead of profit. This time dealers want to grow their business in a way that will improve their bottom line instead of just being busier and the “Find More” series shows ways to do it.”

Monthly alerts for the white papers, webinars and other data-focused information are available by request. To sign up for the alerts visit www.adplightspeed.com.

ADP Lightspeed, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a part of ADP Dealer Services, which provides integrated computing solutions to over 25,000 auto, truck, motorcycle, powersports and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. ADP, with approximately $8 billion in revenues and 550,000 clients, is one of the largest providers of a broad range of premier mission–critical, cost effective transaction processing and information-based business solutions in selected markets on a global basis.

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RVBusiness Launches 3rd Top 50 Dealer Awards

June 15, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

RVBTop50Logo-smallRVBusiness magazine is launching the Third Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program that sets the bar for best business practices in the RV industry. A gala reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will announce the winners Oct. 6 during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.

This year, RVBusiness expanded the awards to include recreational park model manufacturers, reflecting how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. The awards name 10 Blue Ribbon retailers, and one organization receives the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVBusiness’ “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

RV manufacturers nominate the best and most professional dealers for aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable contributions. Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the parent company of RVBusiness and the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events to the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market, then invites nominated dealers to submit applications. Applications are independently reviewed by a panel of industry experts, none of whom are directly associated with RVBusiness or Affinity.

RVBusiness recognizes the Top 50 award winners in the October edition, on RVBUSINESS.com, and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. Winners also receive RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising, plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages — and on the websites — of Affinity’s RV-focused consumer magazines, including Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.

Supporting the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors: ADP Lightspeed, Bank of the West, Blue Ox, Cummins Onan RV Generators, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., RV America Insurance, RV Trader Online and Protective.

“We felt that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care finds an even more receptive ear this year than it did during the dregs of the recession, and the Dealer Awards sets the bar for best business practices,” said RVBusiness magazine Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “Looking around at the state of the industry, we realize just how much we have to be thankful for. The current upbeat atmosphere within the commercial sector beats the heck out of where we all were at this time last year.”

RVBusiness previously announced special celebrity guest, conservative Republican columnist and bestselling author, Ann Coulter, as the keynote speaker during the award ceremony. Coulter will talk about a variety of hot political topics including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.

The Con/Expo is sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada). Tickets for the dinner are $139 ($119 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests), and are available at the convention or at RVBusiness.com.

About the Top 50 RV Dealers Program:

The program’s purpose is to showcase credible role models and establish best business practices benchmarks at the retail level of the RV industry in terms of staff training, performing warranty and service work, managing aftermarket stores, superior consumer care and being good citizens of their respective communities. The dealerships were selected among those nominated as the best by the nation’s RV manufacturers. The program was founded and coordinated by RVBusiness magazine with additional support provided by the Leadership Alliance.

About Affinity:

Affinity, www.affinitygroup.com, is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights, and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom, and adventure of recreation in motion. The company works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.

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Coulter Headlines Annual RVB Dealer Awards

May 19, 2010 by Sherman Goldenberg · 21 Comments 

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter

On the premise that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care may find an even more receptive ear as the recession lifts, RVBusiness magazine is moving ahead with its 3rd Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program culminating Oct. 6 at an upbeat reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.

“While we realize that recognizing 50 U.S. and Canadian recreational vehicle dealerships above all the rest is a tough and highly subjective matter,” says RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg, “we feel that the process of nominating, selecting, honoring and promoting those who generally do the best they can throughout North America is in itself a worthy exercise that brings to the forefront the quality themes outlined by the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence.”

North American RV manufacturers have already completed their nominations for this year’s awards by forwarding the names of their best and most professional dealers with regard to aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable aspects.

“One key change for 2010,” said Goldenberg, “is that RVBusiness is expanding its program to include recreational park model manufacturers, realizing just how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. Although their businesses haven’t fully recovered from the recession yet, the accommodations sector of the RV park and campground arena has been shifting somewhat to more destination-style cabins and lodges at parks throughout the U.S. and Canada. So, we thought it was time to include them.”

Nominated dealers are invited to submit applications by mid-July to BJ Thompson Associates, a northern Indiana agency that oversees an independent review of those applications by a panel of industry “experts,” none of whom are directly associated with RV Business or its parent company, Affinity Group Inc. (AGI).

Multi-store operations are again limited to one award, regardless of how many outlets they have, and the Top 50 dealers will not be ranked, although ten Blue Ribbon retailers will be named and one individual will be singled out for the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVB’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

In addition to the recognition offered at the October dinner during this year’s RV Dealers International Con/Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada), those selections ultimately will be announced in the pages of RVBusiness and on RVBUSINESS.com, both of which are owned by Affinity Group Inc.

Again this year, RVBusiness has invited a special celebrity guest to dinner to provide some thought-provoking table talk: Conservative Republican columnist Ann Coulter. An author of seven New York Times bestsellers, including “Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America” (January 2009) and “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans” (October, 2007), Coulter more than likely will focus in her remarks on the nation’s anticipated, off-year electoral shift to the political right, including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.

A lawyer and frequent guest on ”Hannity” and ”The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News cable channel, Coulter will field audience questions after her remarks. Meanwhile, her appearance, along with that of former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, keynote speaker at RVDA’s Tuesday (Oct. 5) general session, should lend a crowd-inducing national spotlight to this year’s Con/Expo.

RVBTop50Logo-small“We chose Ann Coulter not because we endorse any one political viewpoint, “ said Mike Schneider, AGI president and CEO, “but because we wanted to bring a thought-provoking speaker to the podium in Las Vegas who might give us all – left, center or right – a chance to think and an opportunity again this year to enjoy a dinner with friends and industry peers along with a high-profile national celebrity.”

After the Con/Expo, RVB will promote the Top 50 award winners within the industry and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. They’ll get RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages – and on the websites – of AGI’s RV-related consumer magazines – Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.“

Supporting the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors:

ADP Lightspeed : With ADP Lightspeed, dealers can steer their businesses with more precision than ever before. The integrated modules in the Salt Lake City, Utah, company’s LightspeedEVO RV dealer management system include comprehensive sales and F&I tools, real-time accounting functions, service tracking, automated parts inventory management and rental unit management. For more information, visit http://www.adplighspeed.com/rv/index.phpwww.adplighspeed.com/rv/index.php.

Bank of the West: Bank of the West, with more than $60 billion in assets and community bank roots dating back more than 135 years, has more than 700 commercial and retail banking locations throughout 19 Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Bank of the West originates commercial, small business and consumer loans and leases and provides a range of other individual and commercial deposit, cash management, trust, and investment products. For more information contact a Bank of the West account manager or look on the web at www.bankofthewest.com.

Blue Ox: Blue Ox, a leading manufacturer of towing and hitching products, attributes its success to its dealer partners and the vital interest this Nebraska company takes in their success by providing education, innovative new products and support that’s invested in serving dealers’ needs long after the sale. This approach has been paramount in developing the strong partnerships that have made the company’s dealers “True Blue.” For more information, visit www.blueox.us.

Cummins Onan RV Generators: Cummins Onan RV Generators are built by Cummins Power Generation, Minneapolis, Minn., the global leader in generator design and construction. For nearly 80 years, Onan generators have been providing reliable stationary and portable power for cities, hospitals, shopping centers, military vehicles and fire engines around the world, as well as for the U.S. RV industry. For more information, visit www.cumminsonan.com.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.: Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) manufactures diesel chassis for walk-in vans, motorhomes, school buses, and commercial buses and enjoys market share leadership in all addressable industries. Established in 1995 in Gaffney, S.C., FCCC chassis provide customers with exceptional performance and reliability. More than 400 dealers in the U.S. and Canada provide sales and service, and FCCC offers 24/7 customer support at 800-FTL-HELP.

RV America Insurance: RV America, headquartered in Simi Valley, Calif., has provided some of the lowest rates for specialized recreational vehicle insurance for more than two decades, and each of its companies is rated “A, Excellent” or higher by A.M. Best Company. The company works hard to find clients the best rate and coverage for their travel trailer and motorhome insurance needs. For more information, visit www.RVAinsurance.com.

RV Trader Online: Available at RVTraderOnline.com is an extensive selection of classified ads, with more than 60,000 recreational vehicles to choose from and more than 800 dealership listings. More than 640,000 serious buyers visit RVTraderOnline.com — more than any other source – each month, company officials state. RVTraderOnline.com, Norfolk, Va., also offers video advertising, web services, lead management, mobile search and several new tools and lead-generating opportunities. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or research recreational vehicles, RVTraderOnline.com is the No. 1 resource for all RV enthusiasts, manufacturers and dealers.

Protective: Chesterfield, Mo.-based Protective offers XtraRide RV extended protection programs exclusively endorsed by RVDA and designed to meet recreational vehicle dealership needs. Building customer loyalty, increasing repeat business and generating customer referrals are among the added benefits XtraRide brings to its dealership partners. For more information, visit www.protective.com.

For more information, contact BJ Thompson Associates Account Executive Barb Riley by phone at (574) 674-6300 or by email at briley@bjta.com. Goldenberg can be reached at (574) 457-3370 or at goldenberg@kconline.com.

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Firm Debuts Automatic Unit Info Web Feed

April 15, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

ADP LightspeedADP Lightspeed, a premier provider of Dealer Management Systems (DMS), has announced its new automatic unit inventory web feed.

Unit information inside the LightspeedEVO DMS can be fed to dealership websites eliminating double entry and improving customer web experience. The flexible data feed allows any website provider to map to the information, according to a news release.

Websites have become business requirements with the majority of customers visiting a dealer’s website before visiting physical stores. More consumers are looking to the web to research products, check locations, contact dealers and make purchases. Consumers rely on dealer websites to have up-to-date and reliable information on their site.

“Dealers can’t let information on their websites get stale,” comments Chris Hauck, product manager for Salt Lake City, Utah-based ADP Lightspeed. “Yet most dealers lack the resources to dedicate someone to update inventory information from their DMS to their website. This data feed allows them to do the updates automatically, saving time and giving dealers the ability to capitalize on internet opportunities.”

This innovative web tool gives dealers the ability to integrate unit information, stocking levels and a full list of features found inside the DMS. ADP Lightspeed’s dealer management system will push inventory information from the dealer’s database directly to a FTP site on nightly basis. The information then updates inventory information to the web automatically. The information will display in the dealer’s customized web layout.

For more information visit: http://adplightspeed.com/rv/rv_webint.php.

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ADP: Tips on Finding Cash at Your RV Dealership

December 21, 2009 by RV Business · 1 Comment 

cash-in-cabinetEditor’s Note: This is the latest installment in a series of “Find Hidden Cash” white papers written by Hal Ethington and provided by ADP Lightspeed Inc. This article focuses on office management.

$12,000. That’s the amount of cash I found in my first two days on the job as the replacement accountant in a dealership. Yes, found, as in looking in drawers, under desk blotters, in filing cabinets and in the unlocked safe. Currency, coin, contracts. You name it, I found it. All because the fellow who preceded me – the same one that was walking out the door as I walked in – that guy, was totally mystified about how to handle money.

So he filed $100 bills with deals in the filing cabinet. He piled credit card receipts in stacks under the desk blotter. Signed contracts were carefully settled in an in-box, and five days of receipts were still securely in the floor safe. And that is why the owner had called me. He wanted to know where his cash was, because it surely wasn’t in the bank.

So I whipped everything into shape, got the money to the bank, gave the owner a good bank balance and thus started my career in the dealership business. It has now lasted some 37 years, and in that time I have come across a few other office practices that are almost as disastrous as the simple mishandling of coin, contracts and currency. Try these on for size, and I hope they don’t fit.

  • Dealership was taking parts special order deposits, literally stapling the cash to the invoice, and putting it in a big plastic garbage bag-money and all, waiting for the parts to come in. Money in a bag. What a concept. I’m sure those customers were impressed with this one, to say nothing of how much money was lost in the process. Not smart. Not smart at all.
  • Or how about those dealerships that pay their bills twice? Or, pay bills they don’t even owe? Happens all the time. As a test, one dealer I know mailed a small bogus bill to his 20-group friends. Sixteen of them paid. Promptly. He walked around the table at their next meeting and handed back the 16 checks, ribbing them all the while about their sloppy internal controls. Audit what you pay. Demand explanations. Match invoices and check invoice numbers. And if you are still sometimes getting an embarrassing refund check, you’re not there yet. Keep working.
  • Payroll: Watch to see that all 940s and 941s are first, filed on time, and second, paid on time. There is a penalty for simply not filing (or filing late), and there is a second penalty for not paying on time. The consequences of not performing these two small tasks are enormous. Take care of this one. Always file, no matter if you can’t pay. Avoid the compounded error.
  • And speaking of payroll, constantly audit your worker’s comp and your unemployment taxes. These numbers change as your work force changes, and as your claim history builds. Get the instructions on what is firing for cause (no benefits), and what is reduction of force (you pay). Document all departures, and make sure the employees who quit are not doing so because of job conditions. If they quit because the workplace is unsafe, you may pay. If they quit to move closer to home, you don’t pay. Watch your back here. Document everything. It can be a free-for-all (literally) when the unemployment folks start making their calls.
  • More: Do your pay plans create debilitating contention, or healthy co-operation? Are you filing for all your advertising co-op? Are you aware of state and local programs for training of your employees ($5,000 per year last place I was at)? Have you tried interns from your local college who may come with payroll help for certain jobs?

And the list goes on. There is much you can do to minimize costs and maximize value received. It may not be as easy as searching one room and finding $12,000 as I did so many years ago, but you will be surprised at the money you will find if you, or a good controller, start looking into every corner of your business. My friend, Sandi Jerome, long-time controller for multiple auto dealerships, said this about her job:

It didn’t take me long to understand that nobody cared much about my beautiful schedules that reconciled perfectly to my balance sheet. No. That wasn’t what impressed my GMs, partners and owners. They couldn’t have cared less. It wasn’t until I started finding money in the operation that they began to take notice. Operational inefficiencies, dead inventory, pay-plan math errors, penalties and interest due to missed deadlines-all of this. Finding it, and fixing it. This is what got their attention. Sure, you still have to have the perfect schedules, but that is just for starters. Find cash in the operation, and you quickly become the most valued member of the team. - Sandi Jerome

Money no longer flowing, money stranded in the backwaters, money you can’t use, is found and recovered by people who have time to think, who have auditing skills and who know how to ask hard questions. I can’t guarantee $12,000, but I can guarantee peace of mind if you know these things are constantly under scrutiny.

Start finding hidden cash in your operation. It is there. The only question is, how much?

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