Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

Guest writer John Anderson doesn’t ask the easy questions in this week’s blog post: Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

There is an urgent need for disruption in the industry.

As a former evangelist for dealer systems, I have spent over 30 years preaching the gospel of innovation to dealerships across the country. From John Deere agricultural dealers to small Bobcat dealers to the largest multi-store Komatsu dealer, I was always on the hunt for the next important thing. But lately, as I’ve returned to the industry, I can’t help but wonder: has innovation in dealer systems died a slow and boring death?

Sure, we have data analytics and integration to other industry applications, but is that really enough to keep us ahead of the curve? As I attend conferences and seminars, I cannot help but feel that the dealer systems industry is stuck in a rut. Instead of pushing the boundaries and taking risks, we’re settling for incremental updates and rehashed ideas.

The problem is, the world is changing faster than ever before. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace, and we need to keep up if we want to stay competitive. We need to find visionaries and free thinkers who are willing to take risks and pursue new ideas. We need to challenge our system suppliers to do better and think outside the box.

One of the most exciting areas of innovation in dealer systems is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Imagine being able to request a detailed repair order complete with parts requirements, technician instructions, time requirements, and skills matching, all from historical data and some AI. Even less experienced mechanics could receive technical instructions and AR vision to help ensure a quality job. These are the kinds of game-changing ideas that should be driving the industry forward.

Of course, there are challenges to implementing these kinds of innovations. It takes time, money, and a willingness to take risks. But the rewards are worth it. Not only will innovative dealer systems make dealers more efficient and profitable, but they will also make customers happier and more loyal. When was the last time you were genuinely excited about the technology and systems you use every day?

So, what should you be looking for in a dealer system supplier? You should be seeking a company with a great history and knowledge, but one that isn’t constrained by its own legacy. Look for a supplier that is developing new and needed applications that you can really get behind. You should be getting monthly updates on what’s new and what it means. And, most importantly, you should be challenging your system suppliers to show you what they’re working on. Make them develop a skunk works.

Innovation in dealer systems does not have to be dead. It’s up to us to breathe new life into the industry and push it forward. The entire world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Is your dealer business system doing the same, or is it just trying to keep up? Do not settle for mediocrity. Demand more and be a part of the solution.

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