ALBANY, N.Y. – June 15th, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) announced today that the data conversion process from a previous dealership management system (DMS) vendor to Auto/Mate's DMS has become so streamlined that auto dealers and dealership employees no longer have to fear major disruptions to their business. One example of many dealerships that have made the transition is University Motors in Morgantown, West Virginia. One year ago the dealership group switched the DMS in three of its stores from a previous vendor to Auto/Mate with zero downtime and minimal impact on operations.
"All we really had was a big learning curve," said Andy Claydon, Dealer of University Motors. "Any time you're learning a new software it takes some time, but the training was very good. The installation team from Auto/Mate was knowledgeable and made the best of what could have been a very fraught time."
In May of 2014, Claydon received a notice from his previous DMS vendor of 15 years that his dealerships' contract with them was expiring in 60 days and that he would have to make alternative arrangements. "We were surprised, but with less than two months to effect change we knew we'd have to move fast," said Claydon. "Our DMS provider eventually gave us options to continue with them, however the notice spurred us to look for a new DMS vendor and we decided to continue the process."
Claydon knew it would be difficult to find a vendor who could be ready for an install within 60 days. Another dealer recommended Auto/Mate and after a week-long vetting process Claydon made the decision to switch to Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "I heard great things about their customer service and they guaranteed we would be up and running on the new system within 60 days."
Auto/Mate assigned an installation team to University Motors, and team members immediately began working with the managers in every department. Before a data conversion, it's critical to determine how employees use the system and which data will be transferred. In accounting, this involves reviewing set ups, how splits and additions are handled, and making a list of everything to be converted, from transactions to schedules to customer, vendor and employee files and more.
The week of the DMS data conversion, Auto/Mate's team arrived in Morgantown to get ready for the switch. Claydon, his managers and the Auto/Mate team had a hands-on meeting to discuss the steps involved in the conversion process. "Then we just carried on running our business while the Auto/Mate folks worked around us with minimal interruption," said Claydon.
Claydon admits there was some resistance from his employees at the idea of switching to a new system. "I made a decision quickly so there was nothing anyone could do about it," he said. "We were all worried because in 2000 when we last switched systems, that was not a pretty conversion. It was two to three months of headaches and caused a major interruption to our business."
But Auto/Mate's installation team reassured Claydon and his employees that this time, things would not be that bad.
The conversion itself happened after hours, the day before the old DMS was scheduled to shut down. The next morning Auto/Mate's DMS was up and running with all the data they needed. "Because the entire process was rushed, I never saw an Auto/Mate screen until the day before the conversion," said Claydon. "Everything looked and performed differently. Initially it took a little longer to find things and figure things out, and we all had to work a little harder." Within weeks, however, Claydon and the dealerships' employees adapted to Auto/Mate's user-friendly interface.
Today Claydon appreciates Auto/Mate's reporting capabilities. "With my old DMS I would have to ask my office manager to run reports for me, then scan through 30 to 40 pages of a DOC to gather the information I wanted, all of which took time," said Claydon. "Now everything is right in front of me. My computer screen looks like CNN on election night. I've got widgets telling me where we are with sales and revenue, where we were this time last month, and any other metric I want to see. For me it's brilliant, it's a huge upgrade."
Additionally Claydon appreciates the customer service that he heard so much about. Every time anyone has a problem or question, they call Auto/Mate and the issue is resolved immediately. "The people from Auto/Mate are absolutely splendid; no problem is too big or too small or too complicated," said Claydon.
Another benefit University Motors realized after the switch was a significantly lower monthly bill. "Cost wasn't the reason I switched but I'm spending at least 65 percent less than I was, and probably saving even more than that," said Claydon. "The important thing is they've charged us exactly what they said they would, every month. Before, we often had to question our bills."
For dealers contemplating a switch to Auto/Mate, Claydon offers the following advice: "Absolutely do it. I wouldn't have changed if I didn't have to, but I'm very happy I did," he said. "Before the conversion, it's important to give the installation team whatever they ask and make sure you think about all the questions they give you about how you use the system. If you follow the process, everything will be fine."
For more information on how to prepare for a DMS data conversion, download Auto/Mate's free eBook, The Auto Dealer's 10-Step Guide For A Successful DMS Data Conversion.
Auto/Mate Dealership Systems is a leading provider of dealership management system (DMS) software to retail automotive dealerships, typically saving dealers thousands of dollars per month from their current provider. Our Automotive Management Productivity Suite (AMPS) is a user-friendly, feature-rich DMS in use by more than 1,100 auto dealers nationwide. Auto/Mate has received the DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Auto/Mate’s employees have more than 940 years of combined experience working in franchised auto dealerships, the foundation of its “Designed By Car People For Car PeopleTM” slogan. Auto/Mate is committed to winning its customers’ business each and every month with no long-term contracts and free software upgrades.