Auto Dealer Controllers’ Tips For A Smooth DMS Transition

Dealerships with outdated technology are getting left in the dark. The inability to access real-time data on the sales floor, roadblocks in your accounting and F&I processes that frustrate buyers, and clunky systems that drive away employees—before and after they get hired—are just some of the side-effects of a DMS that doesn’t fit your needs. But, with all of these known issues, dealerships tend to rely on old, familiar systems when faced with the sometimes daunting task of upgrading to a new DMS. Why not take the plunge?

The disruption of a DMS switch can seem scary, so we gathered tips from top dealership controllers on managing a smooth(er) DMS transition. Controllers know the ins and outs of dealership operations and had the following advice:

It Starts From The Top
A big change is coming, so be sure to get everyone on the same page. Make certain that communication comes from the top of your dealership and host weekly check-ins and status updates. If leadership is successful in keeping everyone up-to-date on the transition, there should be fewer surprises.

Delegate Responsibilities
Once your Dealer Principal Owner shares the news, or has an update, it’s up to each department head to provide status updates to their team members. Make sure that this doesn’t fall to one person in your organization, and delegate tasks to each team. Whether you’re asking for internal audits of risk, information, or needs from each team, it should be clearly and evenly spread out.

Keep Communication Open
One of the biggest concerns dealerships have about a DMS change is the impact it can have on culture and morale. There’s an increase in stress that occurs whenever a big change happens so be certain to keep your doors open.

Find a Trusted Partner
When you choose a new vendor to take you through the journey, make sure you won’t get left high and dry. Ask a lot of questions about the process before you sign, and be certain that you can trust your new partner to help your team transition. Are you worried about hidden fees? What about losing your data? Is something implied, but not explicitly defined? The bottom line, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Never Stop Learning
Just as technology continues to change, so too will your dealership. As team members move into new roles and new hires come onboard, who’s going to be there to train them? When your DMS upgrades, how will you learn about the changes? Are there tools and resources to help your team become experts? What about access to an online community for troubleshooting and advanced learning?

If you prepare for the switch, you and your entire dealership family can avoid the frustration of a messy switch. Thanks to the unique perspective of dealership controllers, their shared knowledge among this peer group is valuable beyond measure. As technology continues to advance and impact the automotive industry, it will be this group who drives it.

Visit the Controller’s Hub to get more insights—Start Here.

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