Interview with Rond’s Marine and Transcona Trailers on Managing Two Nationally-Recognized Businesses

Rond's MarineThe sky’s the limit for Garth Bromley and his teams at Transcona Trailers and Rond’s Marine.  Garth originally started in the RV business, working in his parent’s dealership.  Garth and his brother purchased Transcona Trailers from their parents in 1991 and moved to a larger location.  During that time, the marine dealership next door, which rented from them, was seeing tough economic times. They decided to step into the marine and powersports industry and purchase Rond’s Marine.

Since then, they’ve expanded each Winnipeg, MB, location twice and have received national recognition in each dealership.  In 2012, Transcona Trailers was named the Canadian RV Dealer of the Year by RVDA of Canada. Rond’s Marine is the only dealership in its province to currently hold the 5-star rating.

We recently spoke with Garth on how the business continues to grow and maintains a high level of success.    

IDS: Between the two dealerships, you cater to the needs of RV, Marine and Powersports enthusiasts.  What steps does the business take to ensure you are providing the best in sales and service for each market, and what sets you apart from your competitors? 

Garth: “Over 50% of our staff is long-term. Some are retiring now after 30-35 years.  We even had one retire after 40 years, so we have a lot of experience. Both of my sons are also in the business now. They’ve served 10 years in full & part time work. They have also been through each department for 1 ½ years. In addition, my brother’s two sons have been involved part-time in the business for the last 2-3 years as the oldest is now going through business administration in college. They have started in the detail shop and now are moving through the parts.” 

With that kind of longevity, we feel we can provide the best service because there really isn’t anything that we haven’t seen.  We also monitor our CSI all of the time and feel that’s a constant effort in helping set ourselves apart.”  

IDS: Do you cross-train between the two dealerships, or does each business have its own staff? 

Garth: “Both stores are side-by-side, but it’s entirely different staff.  Each stands on its own.  Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it that way, but we bought the businesses separate from each other.  Now we’ve grown too much to have employees be a jack of all trades with both businesses.”  

IDS: Describe the marketing strategy you use in your dealerships.  How do you promote yourselves as the experts in each industry?  

Garth: “With our marine store, we spent a lot of time to acquire a 5-star rating and we’re the only dealership in our province to have that rating. To obtain that kind of rating, you have to let them evaluate your dealership, your employee processes, and your CSI.  The process has provided us with a lot of good information and it’s made us spend more time on the information and see how we rate versus the competition.  It also gives us something to promote that no other dealership in our province can.”  

“On the other side of the business, we were the recipient of the 2012 Canadian RV Dealer of the Year Award which was presented by the RVDA of Canada. It’s based on your level of commitment and community involvement.  We promote that a lot to our customers to give them comfort.”  

“We also advertise that our dealerships are 52 and 57 years old as far as stability is concerned, so our customers know we’re not going anywhere and will be there for them. We feel that’s very important, especially with the bankruptcies that have happened with other businesses over the last few years.” 

IDS: Having a good dealer management software is key for helping manage any type of large dealership.  When did you bring computerization into the business to manage your daily operations, and what led you to select IDS as your dealer management system? 

Garth: “If I remember right, it was 1986 when we bought a software called RV Soft.  It was Canadian based and later was bought by IDS.  I believe we were the second dealer to make the transition from RV Soft to IDS.  At the time, I told my dad he was nuts because it cost a decent amount of money.  In hindsight, it was the best decision we’ve ever made and the software has continued to grow with us.  It’s been a big benefit with us acquiring the second store to implement IDS into there.” 

“We belong to two Spader 20 groups and I recommend IDS all the time because it’s just so integrated. You don’t need anything else. I’ve watched a lot of dealers stumble with various software systems and waste a lot of time and money to fight battles. Once you take the first couple months to get going on IDS, there are minimal hassles after that. It’s also been a big help in our 20 group reporting.”   

IDS: What challenges in the business prompted you to upgrade to G2 and what features do you like best about the product? 

Garth: “I think G2 had a lot more to offer. The amount of reporting outweighs blue screen. We like the departmental graphs each manager can display on their desktop and the quick report options are great. G2 has so much more information, much quicker without having to look all over for it. It’s easier to export information into spreadsheets. The system is so big, there’s always something new to learn every day.” 

IDS: You mentioned the graphs and reports in G2.  What metrics do you look at the most to help you with your business operations? 

Garth: “I think the key metrics are much the same in each department.  We look at daily, weekly, and monthly sales in each department and aged inventory. The sales manager will monitor the CRM. The service department pays attention to open work orders and warranties that aren’t paid.  G2 seems to have the right reports and it’s easy to track. I will look over the expenses and the income side. We keep an eye on budgets. The system is so readily accessible. With the departmental desktop, you can open up your metrics right on your computer.” 

IDS: Moving forward, do you plan on implementing the IDS mobile app and how do you see this benefiting your dealership?  

Garth: “We’re not on it yet, but we plan on it. The key benefit I see is scanning parts inventory to do cycle counts with phones and IPads so we can eventually get away from a year-end inventory. That’s been very time consuming for us. We usually have to shut down for two or three days each year for that. We currently have 70% of our parts bar coded. We want to get 100% so we can implement the app and start cycle counting each week and eliminate the year-end count.  The mobile app will be great for this.” 

IDS: What are the future goals do you have for the businesses? 

Garth: “We don’t have future goals completely set in stone. I know we want to move more toward the mobile platform. As IDS goes there, most dealerships will want to go there. Our staff spends 1/3 of their day on their mobile device so it will be simpler for managers to do more of their workload on their mobile devices. I’d also like to see us continue to grow with the system and get more advanced training.” 

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