According to a recent industry survey, nearly 50 percent of outdoor power equipment dealers do not utilize a computerized business management system (BMS). That is not to say that these businesses do not have a computer system of some type, as many have them for Internet access, parts look-up or email. The survey also indicated that the most successful dealers (by dollars and size) all had an “industry-specific” BMS in place at their dealerships.
So does this mean you must have an industry-specific BMS to be successful in the outdoor power equipment industry? Certainly not, but it does seem to indicate a BMS could factor into your success.
If you are one of those dealers in the 50 percent that lack a BMS, here are some reasons why you should consider adding one to your business and some implementation concerns you should be aware of.
The main purpose of a BMS is to improve productivity at all levels of an organization. Each department within your dealership will gain capabilities from computer technology that will allow them to function more effectively and efficiently. A BMS will streamline business operations, employee workflow and dealership processes. Ultimately, this will provide better management control and positively impact the dealership’s bottom line.
BMS help management and employees more easily communicate and collaborate. Users of these systems find they have much easier access to needed information in order to complete work-related tasks. Even technology like email, instant messaging and social networking has enhanced the communication process to provide rapid communication between the dealership, customers and vendors. This business communication technology allows management and employees to develop closer relationships to customers, which results in improved sales.
A BMS facilitates real-time tracking of business transactions. This speeds the process of typically laborious transactions like invoicing, purchasing and inventory control. Essentially, all business activities will see great improvements in time spent and a dramatic decrease in errors. Management is able to get a better handle on business operations, improve employee productivity and define future company strategies.
Now are there any downsides to adding a BMS to your business? In reality, very few considering the gains you will achieve. There are some pitfalls an astute business owner or manager must be aware of. Otherwise, implementing a BMS could prove to be very, very costly.
The purchase price of a BMS has seen a considerable decrease in the last two decades, but you should be aware that the initial price of the BMS is a mere portion of the total overall money a business will invest when they computerize their operations. It is imperative that the business owner and management foresee these costs and plan accordingly.
Installing a BMS puts tremendous demand on the ability of a company to manage its personnel. It tests the capacity of managers and employees to train and accept training. A company should expect to invest considerable time and money into training each person that will be involved in the operation. Without the proper managed training, operation of the BMS might cause work disruptions and could become quite detrimental to productivity and profitability.
As a final note, using a BMS will become a determining factor in your business operations, workplace practices and overall business strategies. Once you automate your dealership’s business processes, the business will gain additional reporting, management tools and operational procedures that will help achieve your business goals. The importance of a BMS cannot be overstated and is now well acknowledged as a business necessity.