LOUISVILLE, Ky. — UNITED Equipment Dealers Assn. (UEDA) will announce today at GIE+Expo the launch of its new interactive UNITED OPE Flat Rate Guide (OPE FRG). The new online tool will provide dealers with a web portal and secure API to find and report OPE flat rate repair times with more current accurate information than what is provided by OEMs. With this information, the association says dealers can increase their productivity and profits and improve customer relations. Additionally, UEDA will provide interested business system vendors access to the flat rate API so they can build integration allowing work orders in their software to access and report on the flat rate information.

"This is the only industry resource that factors actual dealer times into the flat rate calculation used to determine job pricing," says Kim Rominger, UEDA Executive Vice President/CEO. "This project is not just important to members of UEDA, but to all dealers selling and servicing the machines found in the OPE FRG."`

The OPE FRG benefits servicing dealers in three major ways:

  1. More accurate estimating: Since the data comes directly from dealers, it is a better reflection of real life repair times. Unlike the OEM estimates, the OPE FRG takes into account conditions resulting from wear and tear like mud, grass, rusty bolts and other issues faced by dealers every day.
  2. Improved customer relations: Dealers are able to provide timely, consistent and accurate estimates so customers understand their repair costs up front. Dealers can also show customers their charges are competitive compared to other dealers across North America.
  3. Boost shop productivity: By knowing how many hours a given repair would take, dealers can gauge the performance of their mechanics more accurately, reduce the number of write-offs, and increase their bottom line contribution.

The new interactive product replaces UEDA's existing OPE Flat Rate Guide (FRG). Moving the OPE FRG online addresses today’s mobile service managers and technicians and will enhance dealers’ bottom lines with increased productivity and allows on-going dealer input for improved times and reporting new models.

UEDA approached Charter Software Inc., the maker of ASPEN Business Management Software, to power this innovative technology platform. According to Rominger, UEDA has had a long partnership with Charter Software, since 2002, when they endorsed Charter Software as a business system vendor. "We wanted to leverage today’s technology and Charter is always breaking new ground and open to new concepts," says Rominger.

“This project is very exciting because it is a technology tool that is managed by a dealer association for dealers. Our goal is to get as many dealers as possible to subscribe to the OPE Flat Rate Guide. As a result, our API, available through the UEDA, allows any business system to integrate with the OPE Flat Rate Guide without any charge from UEDA or Charter Software," says Anne Salemo, President/CEO of Charter Software Inc.

The UNITED OPE FRG is available for dealers to pilot effective immediately. Charter's ASPEN November product release will include this integration, so all ASPEN customers will be eligible to participate. UEDA expects a full release of the product in January 2017.

About UEDA

The UNITED Equipment Dealers Assn. was formed January 1, 2016 when the members of the Ohio-Michigan Equipment Dealers Assn. (OMEDA) and Mid-America Equipment Retailers Assn. (MAERA) voted to merge. The newly formed association represents more than 700 members in four states including: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. This merger strengthens the unified voice for all dealers in the region. The association will be able to react quicker and represent all of its members interests in a more effective manner. This will also give UNITED increased strength of numbers when speaking on behalf of dealers on issues and concerns going forward. Visit http://www.UNITEDeda.com.

About Charter Software Inc.

Charter Software Inc. is headquartered in Littleton, Colo., and was founded in 1978. Charter Software provides affordable, Windows-based business management software designed to improve efficiency and increase the profitability of equipment dealerships. Charter Software works closely with the equipment industry’s leading suppliers to create streamlined EPC/e-commerce integration with their software. For more information on Charter Software please visit http://chartersoftware.com/