Basden’s Evolves into Multi-Million Dollar Business with Help from IDS

Basden’s American RV is a success story worth telling. From the beginning in 1992, they have gone from $600,000 in sales to over $11 million last year, and they plan to exceed $20 million in 5 years. “After that,” says J.B. Strassweg, President of Basden’s RV, “ it’s on to $40 million!”

These lofty goals may be attainable sooner than anyone thinks. Basden’s RV is ready and poised to get there. “Now that we’re fully integrated with our operations, we can act and re-act to make our strategic goals a reality,” comments J.B. So what decision allowed J.B. and his staff to achieve this state of readiness? The answer is quite simple: they needed to change their dealer management software.

“We were using the Spader system and it wasn’t fully integrated. We bought into the Spader philosophy hook, line, and sinker, but we soon found out it just wasn’t right for us. I’m not going to say it was good or bad, it just wasn’t right for an RV dealership,” says J.B. Then came the 1997 RV and Marine trade show, and J.B. stopped into the IDS booth after seeing the other alternative systems. “I look at people. Both John Armstrong (VP of sales at IDS) and Mark Queen (sales manager at IDS) gave me the straight skinny. They didn’t promise the world to me, which is much more believable than having a salesman tell you their software will do everything.” J.B. continues, “We came away from that meeting saying to ourselves, ‘Man, that system is the ticket! IDS Astra is the software we need.’”

Upon J.B.’s request, Mark Queen flew out to Basden’s RV to give another demo to J.B. and his staff. “After a short while I was reaching for my checkbook. We were convinced this was the system for us,” adds J.B.

It’s been nearly two years since Basden’s installed Astra in March of 1998. Is J.B. still as enthused as he was when he first saw Astra? “Absolutely. IDS Astra RV software has literally shown us how much time and money we wasted trying to reconcile different departments. We have actually freed-up two employees to do other things,” says J.B. with a smile. “You just can’t know how much waste is in your company operations until you have a tool that points it out. It was kind of shocking, but that kind of detail is what we needed in order to grow.”

It wasn’t all roses along the way though, J.B. explains, “We had to let go of the old Spader philosophy and adopt a new one – we feel the right one – and it took us some time. The first year was a real transition year, and now in year two, we’re seeing great results.”

What about current challenges with the system? “Well, IDS has been great about its customer support in general. It’s just really tough when a company, really any company, experiences employee turnover– you get used to dealing with a specific support person who knows you and your company’s needs. Then one day they’re gone. You end up starting over with a new person. I guess it’s that way with a lot of businesses though, and probably just can’t be helped. So, after a bit of up-time with our new IDS support person, we’re on the right path again.”

With the expected and current growth that Basden’s RV is experiencing, does J.B. Strassweg think that Astra will be up to the challenge? J.B. responds, “We just purchased a boat dealership and we ought to have that site on-line with Astra in a few months. We’re actually looking forward to getting that site online and seeing our company’s overall financial picture. I have no doubt that Astra and the IDS team will continue to grow with us into the new millennium.”

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