DMS (Dealership Management System) - Implementation of Information Eco-Systems for Dealer Networks Management

At one time, and it was about 7 years ago, I was faced with the problems of implementing the DMS Information System in a large dealer network (170 dealers). Before that, I already had experience in automating dealer networks based on various IT solutions. But the specifics of this implementation was that the network consisted of independent business players, whose annual turnover, sometimes, significantly exceeded the turnover of our organization.

Before starting the project, we, with my team, faced with non-trivial questions:

  • How to choose a solution?
  • What stages should the implementation consist of?
  • How to build a communication?
  • How to create a product, the loyalty to which will allow us to overcome the resistance of partners who already have their own advanced IT systems and processes?


Where to start in the end ?!

The first thing I did was turning to the corporate experience and experience of other companies, hoping to find answers to this set of questions. And, alas, did not find ANYTHING!

Not that this experience offers us anything. Not at all, as soon as we announced the preparatory stage of the project, we were literally bombarded with proposals for automation: IT companies came to us with their systems preservation, conducted colorful and “convincing” presentations, told us about the cloudless future that awaits us we will choose their solution. But with all the vendors there were a number of problems:

  • they were committed to the project budget, but not to the result;
  • the cost of their decisions sometimes exceeded the annual IT budget at partner companies;
  • poor understanding of the specifics of the business;
  • low level of customization of solutions

And then we decided to take everything into our own hands!

In this series of articles I want to describe the path of mistakes and successes that we have passed. And he was thorny! I want to give answers to the questions that we faced in due time. And I sincerely believe that this material will help shorten the path to the result to those of my colleagues and companies who will ever be faced with the task of introducing DMS into a network with heterogeneous composition, experience and volume of business. Perhaps the most difficult and ambitious task that a business with a multi-level affiliate network can ever face.
So let's go!

ARTICLE 1 Or “Why?”

For a start, let's look a little forward with you and see what we have to do? And here we will talk not about the perimeter of the work that the project team needs to do, but about why all this is necessary for large companies and their partners (dealers).

The task of any commercial network company is business development. Undeniable! In a complex competitive environment, this task can be reformulated as follows: outrunning competitors in bringing new efficient products and services to the market with exceeding the client's expectations. And, as we understand, each such product and service is always accompanied by a marketing strategy based not only on the enormous work of marketing, but also on the equally serious work of methodologists. A well-defined work methodology is the basis of business. But, at times, this methodology is so complex and multi-step, that without the means for its rapid implementation into the dealer network, it can become an unbearable burden, and sometimes even a burden to the business.

Therefore, the first thesis to the introduction of a DMS system issupport for the rapid implementation of a unified methodology (standard) for the rapid launch of the company's products and services and their implementation .

The centrifugal point of any business, be it B2B or B2C business, is the Customer. And this means - Customer Journey (hereinafter CJ) or the Client's Path, which he cyclically performs from the stage of product selection to the transition to a new product. Each CJ is accompanied by so-called MOT (Moment Of True) - reference points in which the client is ready for a certain business impact on him, without knowing it 

Thus, the second thesis that I would like to associate with the introduction of the DMS system is automation CJ and MOT for seamless transfer of the Client from the stage of warming up his interest in the product to the sale and service .

The next important point in the process of interaction between representative offices and dealer networks is a huge stream of information circulating between them. Indeed, in order to ensure uninterrupted business of the network, it is necessary that the partners promptly have all commercial information about the state of warehouses, tariffs, product lines, sales plans, compliance with KPI, normalized customer base, special technical operations, commercial promotions, etc. By the way, in our project there were more than 40 such processes!

And this need inevitably leads us to the third thesis : the DMS system should maximally provide the partner network with all the necessary information and minimize errors when transmitting this information, with a high degree of security .

In my opinion, any business information system should not only automate activities, but also carry out digital transformation of all processes (Digital Transformation). And this means - by implementing the best practices in the field of information solutions (Best Practice) to ensure maximum efficiency and profitability of the enterprise.

Therefore, we formulate the fourth thesis to the implementation of DMS as follows: DMS should ensure the profitability of the enterprise by standardizing the network operation processes based on the best business automation solutions .

And, finally, the last but not least problematic, which any dealer network faces, is the professionalism of the staff that contacts with customers, products and services. And, as a rule, grassroots management, salespeople, service personnel, etc. highly susceptible to routine. Representative offices and partners invest huge budgets in staff training, some of which are wasted because having worked in the business for some time, having got stronger, getting up on its feet, the staff tries to sell themselves and their competencies more than their present value, at best, to other partners, and at worst - to competitors. Thus, the newcomer to replace the staff, often still not "fired upon" in the fields, makes mistakes. Sometimes, irreparable. As a result, partners and representative offices incur colossal losses.

Thus, one of the most important points in the implementation of the DMS is the implementation of a product containing a strictly aligned process that simplifies the integration of new staff and methodologically accompanying it at all stages, teaching you how to work with products and services! A product that provides rapid and stable growth of staff competencies and their support .

Summarizing, let's summarize.

Before introducing such a complex product as DMS, the representative office should form clear and understandable goals of implementation for itself and its partners, namely:

  • Rapid implementation of a uniform methodology (standard) for the rapid launch of the company's products and services and their implementation ;
  • Automation of the Client's Path and MOT for the seamless transfer of the Client from the stage of warming up his interest in the product to the sale and service ;
  • Providing the partner network with all necessary information and minimizing errors in the transmission of this information, with a high degree of security and;
  • Ensuring the profitability of partner enterprises by standardizing the processes of the network based on the best solutions in the field of business automation ;
  • Simplification of integration of new staff of partners and methodological support at all stages of working with products and services

In the following articles on this topic, I will describe exactly how, after the declaration of the goals of DMS implementation, it is necessary to formulate system selection criteria, implementation strategy, piloting and support.

I would be happy to help and get feedback. And may the force be with you!

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