Top 100 Dealer Russell Marine Manages Multi-Store Growth with IDS

Russell Marine dealer storyAlabama’s Russell Marine is one of the top boat dealers in North America, recognized for its innovation, customer service and business acumen.

In 2014, Russell Marine was ranked as the #2 boat dealer in the industry on the annual Boating Industry Top 100 list. Over the last decade, Russell Marine has grown significantly, increasing revenue and adding locations.

Helping to manage that growth has been the dealership’s use of the IDS Astra G2 dealer management system and customer relationship management software. 

Russell Marine started its relationship with IDS in 2005 for a number of reasons, but key to their decision was the software’s reporting functions.

“Every month we have a managers meeting and I publish a detailed report with all the data that comes out of IDS,” said Russell Marine comptroller Tommy Riggins. “It’s very instrumental in us monitoring where we are versus where we had planned to be.”

The IDS Astra G2 DMS is the unifying system that makes it possible for the Russell Marine team to focus on growth and running the business without worrying that their infrastructure can’t handle it.

“The audit function is very efficient and detailed through its scheduling function. IDS/G2’s audit function is as good as any system I have worked with. This gives you confidence in your scorekeeping performance: How are you doing, are you getting the right margins, carrying the right amount of inventory, getting the right amount of turns,” Riggins said. “You need feedback of correct information when you’re measuring your progress from each location, and from year to year when you’re looking to make improvements and G2’s audit function is as good as anything I’ve ever seen.”

With 30 years of experience and more than 10,000 users, IDS has plenty of experience serving the marine industry. The Astra G2 software was designed with the marine industry in mind, and easily syncs between locations for sharing of information.

For a growth-minded dealer like Russell Marine, the seamless integration of multiple locations is crucial.

“IDS has allowed for our growth,” said Russell Marine president Dave Commander. “We just expanded to another location this past year and we were able to do that pretty smoothly with the software that we have.”

With five locations, it’s important that Russell Marine be able to share information across the entire network, whether it’s to shift inventory or to manage the growing operation.

“Each location has visibility of other locations’ inventory, so that helps us,” Commander said. “Also, from a management standpoint, I can go in to each location and monitor their revenue categories. The majority of the revenue items we track, we can get up-to-date information by location.” 

Russell Marine can’t afford to have its DMS go down for long periods of time, so IDS’s improvements and top-notch support are key factors in its success.

“If we have an issue, we call them, they go behind the scenes and they fix it,” Riggins said. “We’ve been really pleased with their support.” 

New employees can quickly get up to speed as well with the IDS training. 

“IDS has a great resource center,” Riggins said. “The user can access it from anywhere – it’s just great.” 

Regular updates and improvement also help Russell Marine make the most of the latest technology, such as the IDS Mobile App, a 2015 Boating Industry Top New Products winner. 

“We can go out there and, for instance, scan inventory with an iPhone or receive a boat lead from the CRM Mobile App and respond from anywhere with an iPhone,” Riggins said. “They’re definitely always thinking in the right direction.”

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