Rural Lifestyle Dealer offers this round-up of leading dealership management systems as part of our new “Innovations” series. The summaries feature information provided by Basic Software Systems, CDK Global Heavy Equipment, Charter Software, c-Systems Software, HBS Systems, nizeX and Red Wing Software.
The format is designed to help you do an “apples-to-apples” comparison, so you can select the right solution for your needs. Many of the companies have been around for decades and have adapted to the new mobile and cloud-based environments. They also offer a myriad of functions and reports to help you better manage your data and your dealership.
Basic Software Systems, Texarkana, Texas
Basic Software Systems has been providing dealerships across the country with a dealership management system (DMS) solution for nearly 38 years. Over the years, the newly integrated features of the software have helped transform dealerships. The company strives to listen and work for the success of its customers and is always looking for ways to evolve, improve and grow.
Brand Name: Basic Software Systems’ Business Management Solution
Introduced to Market: 1979
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: 413
Software’s Unique Solution: Basic Software Systems’ Business Management System has a modular design, providing the flexibility to customize a solution to meet a dealership’s specific needs. The company maintains effective relationships with world-wide manufacturers to provide various interfaces between individual dealerships and their manufacturers. The solution not only fits the needs of dealerships of all sizes, but it is adaptable as dealerships grow.
Functional Highlights: The integrated business system solution includes complete inventory, service and accounting management with high-level security to protect sensitive data. It is remote and mobile friendly; provides business critical dashboards for all departments; interfaces for OEMs; supports multiple locations; and offers a complete point-of-sale solution, including bar code scanning, credit cards, time clock and more.
Operating System: Windows Professional versions 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2008 or 2012
Database Manager or File System: Proprietary
Recent New Developments: New developments include Customer Portal, Statement Manager, Mobile Connect and Marketing Manager.
CDK Global Heavy Equipment, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
With a strong track record of innovation for more than 36 years, CDK Global Heavy Equipment’s dealership management system, CDK IntelliDealer, is a fully integrated dealer management system. By providing business insights, improving productivity and offering valuable business tools, IntelliDealer helps power the success of over 1,700 dealers. CDK relies on its experienced in-house product development experts and feedback from its dealers to build practical and powerful dealer management solutions.
Brand Name: CDK IntelliDealer
Introduced to Market: 1981
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: 1,700+
Software’s Unique Solution: The software offers a robust integrated solution with OEMs and partners. The company has 30+ years of experience in the industry.
Functional Highlights: Features include key performance visibility; customizable, mobile accessibility; browser-based and completely integrated solutions; and robust OEM integrations.
Operating System: The system is web-based, with either onsite IBM Power System or Cloud solution.
Database Manager or File System: DB2 open database ODBC compliant
Recent New Developments: New developments include a mobile suite of products.
HBS Systems, Richardson, Texas
For over 30 years, HBS Systems has provided dealership management systems to agricultural, industrial and construction equipment dealerships. By providing fully staffed training and support centers in Dallas, Texas, and Stratford, Ont., HBS is strategically positioned to deliver service to all of North America.
Brand Name: NetView Dealership Management System
Introduced to Market: 1985
Number of Dealer Installations: 1,400+
Software’s Unique Solution: A complete selection of modular software allows dealers of all sizes to choose the applications required to meet the unique needs. NetView is a browser-based system that allows dealers to securely access their data from anywhere in the world. It maintains unlimited online history across all applications, eliminating the need to print or archive historical information. The software is fully compliant with both U.S. and Canadian tax structures. HBS provides a comprehensive on-boarding process, which includes a full data conversion with on-site training and support.
Functional Highlights: NetView provides a fully integrated management solution for your entire business from single location dealerships to multi-location enterprises. A few highlights include full OEM integration, drill-down reporting, dashboard views and real-time graphical analysis. Through the company’s Eclipse technology, all software and manufacturer price file updates are automatically downloaded and applied. The NetView System can be deployed with an on-site server or via the company’s cloud solution.
Operating System: LINUX
Database Manager or File System: Proprietary
New Developments: The NetView Desktop gives each user the ability to drag-and-drop their favorite, or most often used, application icons in order to create a customizable workspace. HBS MobileView touch-optimized applications provide access to the system from anywhere at any time through an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone or tablets. NetView’s cloud fully-managed hosting service eliminates the need for a server in the dealership. Advanced technology includes handheld wireless mobile inventory computers for parts and wholegoods/units; electronic signature capture and POS payment processing; fully PCI compliant credit/debit card processing (for both U.S. and Canadian customers); Insight (single-page, aggregate view of each customer’s account activity across all departments and locations within the dealership with detailed drill-down); eDocs (ability to attach photos, videos, Word documents and spreadsheets); and eVault (automatic remote system data backup via the internet).
Charter Software, Littleton, Colo.
Charter Software Inc. was founded in 1978 by the company’s current President/CEO Anne Salemo’s father, Gerry Fricke. Salemo joined the business in 1988 and took over ownership of the business in 1996. Charter Software partners with servicing dealers to promote mutual success through its technology-based management tools. The company’s Windows-based business management software is designed to help increase efficiency and profitability. Charter partners with the equipment industry’s leading suppliers to create streamlined software integrations and works closely with industry associations.
Brand Name: ASPEN powered by Charter Software Inc.
Introduced to Market: The initial DOS version was introduced in 1985, followed by the DealerWin product in 1999 and ASPEN in 2009. ASPEN was released in response to the growing need of more sophisticated multi-location and mobile functionality.
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: 460 dealer groups with over 5,000 users.
Software’s Unique Solution: The solution features:
- A.I.M. Mobile Solution - Perform physical inventory for parts and units; create and clock onto work orders; create invoices; log interactions with customers; as well as access customer information, units, parts inventory, work orders and invoices from any smartphone or tablet.
- ASPEN Integrator – A data integration tool that allows for a secure exchange of data with third party systems in real-time.
- Tools for managing interruptions –ASPEN’s navigation allows users to quickly switch between multiple invoices, work orders and/or reports, as well as other program functions without the need to close, save or refresh.
- Internal workflow and task management – ASPEN’s workflow tasks and communications replace emails and notes. From within ASPEN, an employee can message a coworker with a link that takes them directly to the record or report to be shared. ASPEN’s built-in workflow also creates more consistent processes for repetitive transactions, saving time and reducing duplication of effort.
Functional Highlights: ASPEN is a unified business solution that provides: integrated accounting; customer management, sales & marketing tools; work order management; sales management; inventory management and point of sale; rental management and utilization; and permission-based security. The system also allows dealers to develop their own extracts/queries from the Microsoft SQL server database. Its “drilldown reporting” allows users to easily access the original source document such as an invoice, parts transaction, AP voucher, or other document.
Operating System: ASPEN is developed using Microsoft .NET and SQL Server. The company offers dealers both hosted and installed solutions.
Database Manager or File System: Microsoft SQL Server
Recent New Developments: In July 2016, Charter released ASPEN Integrator, which provides secure exchange of data with external systems in real-time. In September 2016, Charter partnered with the United Equipment Dealers Assn. to develop a new, interactive OPE Flat Rate Guide.
Entry Price Point (and deliverables included with entry system): ASPEN starts at under $300/month for the hosted solution.
Dealer Reference: Parish Tractor Co., Poplarville, Miss., www.ParishTractor.com, 601-795-4521
c-Systems Software, Arlington, Texas
c-Systems Software Inc. started business in June of 1983. The company was an early solutions provider for the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) industry. Early on, c-Systems found close symmetries between the OPE, agriculture and powersports markets. Many of the company’s OPE customers were also dealers for ag and/or powersports products, so the company expanded into those markets as well. Now 33 years later, c-Systems Software provides business management software for the OPE, ag and powersports industries.
Brand Name: Infinity by c-Systems
Introduced to Market: September 2004
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: 1,500 throughout the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Barbados) and Canada
Software’s Unique Solution: Infinity supports many unique features such as fully integrated labor rates from major industry vendors; automated electronic warranty claims transmission; and most recently, a comprehensive mobile application. The Infinity MobileAPP supports remote capability for many of Infinity’s standard features to include sales and repair order billing; physical inventory count; purchase order receiving; credit card processing; signature capture; and bar code scanning. Infinity also maintains a full list of enhanced vendor communications, CRM features and third-party integrations.
Functional Highlights: c-Systems’ Infinity DMS package features programs to handle sales orders, inventory control, purchasing, accounts receivable, shop management and warranty tracking. It supplies hundreds of reports, charts, graphs and management tools, including information panels that contain real time data pertaining to the healthy operation of the business.
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Server 2014/2016 or Windows 10 Pro. Actual operating system depends or may vary based on number of users and number of store locations.
Database Manager or File System: Microsoft SQL Server
Recent New Developments: Infinity’s new MobileAPP provides access to the DMS from anywhere at any time through a mobile device. Service writers have the ability to write and check-in repair orders, capture pictures of equipment damage or failure, post signature acknowledgement, all from a tablet or mobile device. Most recently, c-Systems’ development staff completed a “cloud” or hosted version of Infinity. The cloud version contains all the provisions and features of the standard Infinity version, but without the need for a local server at the dealership.
Red Wing Software, Red Wing, Minn.
Many dealerships use the CenterPoint Payroll Software solution from Red Wing Software, in conjunction with Ideal Computer Systems Software, which is an all-in-one dealer management solution. (Ideal Computer Systems is a Red Wing Software partner.) CenterPoint Payroll can also be used as a standalone payroll system and, according to the company, helps dealerships manage payroll faster and more easily.
Brand Name: CenterPoint Payroll Software
Introduced to Market: 1979
Number of Equipment Dealer installations: 40
Software’s Unique Solution: Features such as multiple state payroll, eFiling options, flexible time entry (including a new online time clock) and flexible payroll processing all help dealerships manage payroll more efficiently.
Functional Highlights: The software includes the following features: tax filing (multiple state functionality as well); online time clock; flexible time entry and processing; and direct deposit and employee access to online pay stubs.
Operating System: 32–bit or 64–bit Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Professional or Windows 10 Professional
Database Manager or File System: Sequel
Recent New Developments: Red Wing recently introduced CenterPoint Time Clock. The functionality enables employees and supervisors to enter time online, from any web-enabled device where the internet is available.
Entry Price Point (and deliverables included with entry system): CenterPoint Payroll starting price is $1,425 for the installed version. This includes 1 year of customer care membership, including all tax table updates and product enhancements. Yearly renewal for customer care membership starts at $627. CenterPoint Payroll in the cloud (same product as the installed version) starts at $103 per month. This includes customer care membership, including all tax table updates and product enhancements.
Dealer Reference: Hoyer Outdoor Equipment, Brookport, Ill., www.HoyerEquipment.com, Geneene Bremer, 618-564-2080
nizeX Inc., McDonough, Ga.
Lizzy from nizeX Inc. offers a complete cloud-based system for dealership management. No server is required and Lizzy is compatible with Macs, PCs, iPads, tablets and smartphones. Lizzy also has complete security and data encryption, so dealers control who can access what and from where.
Introduced to Market: Lizzy’s predecessor, Total Business Assistant, was introduced in 1994. Lizzy, which includes finance, insurance and real-time accounting, was the first cloud-based DMS to the market in 2009.
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: Over 200 ag installations, with over 500 dealerships on the company’s platform
Software’s Unique Solution: Lizzy provides a complete and affordable DMS, with everything a dealership needs to run parts, service, sales, finance & insurance, rental, accounting and payroll departments. The DMS agreement is month-to-month, instead of a multi-year contract. Lizzy is flexible, whether it’s being used by a single-user dealer or those who require 100+ users. Lizzy is scalable and all departments/modules are included, even rental. It also includes all the vendor parts price files, at no additional charge.
Functional Highlights: With each transaction, Lizzy creates the necessary journal entries and posts to the general ledger in real-time, saving data entry time and possible errors. It includes a complete customer relationship management toolset that can integrate with a dealership’s website-based lead generator. Dealers can track calls, emails and in-person meetings as well as information about the unit and trade-in details. The solution features: integrated credit card processing; ecommerce, web store and shipping; warehouse management; barcoding and inventory control; website integration/shopping cart; and reporting and forms printing.
Operating system: Lizzy is browser based (supporting Google Chrome, MS Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari) and is Apple-compatible.
Database Manager or File System: Lizzy is cloud-based with extensive reporting and file export capabilities (.pdf or .csv formats).
Recent New Developments: The solution has third-party integrations with ARI and DealerSpike websites and electronic microfiche from ARI PartSmart, PartStream and HLSM, along with several OEMs for direct purchase order submission. A complete online video training library is also available.
Entry Price Point (and deliverables included with entry system): Lizzy has the lowest entry price point in the industry, according to the company. Its $1,500 setup fee includes database setup, online and video-based training, data conversion (as is possible from the current system) for customers, parts inventory and unit inventory. Onsite training options are available at an additional investment. Monthly software-as-a-service fee is dependent on the number of users.
Dealer Reference: Jonesboro Tractor Sales, Jonesboro, Ark., www.Jonesboro-Tractor.com, Tracy Grissom or Camran Grissom, 870-935-9151