Interview with Top 50 Dealer Bullyan RV on Evolving with Mobile Technology and Growing Their Service Department

Bullyan RVFor over 62 years, Bullyan RV has been to go-to RV dealer in the Duluth, MN, area. The business began in 1954 when the Bullyan family started a used car dealership. From there it grew into a manufactured home and RV business. By 2004, the family made the decision to focus solely on RVs and business has been booming ever since.

We sat down with the dealership’s vice president, Joe Bullyan Jr., to discuss the success of being named a Top 50 dealer and how technology has aided in the current growth of their business.

You were named a Top 50 Dealer by RVBusiness. What factors have contributed to you being recognized as one of the best dealers in North America?

Joe: “As we’ve grown and gotten bigger, we’ve been able to maintain our small company atmosphere, which has been a huge key to our success. My office and my dad’s office are right off the entrance. Customers walk in and we talk to them on a daily basis. It’s an open door policy for all of our employees.

Another factor is our investment in technology and making our shop more efficient so our techs can provide better customer service.”

What can someone, who has never been in your dealership, expect when they walk into your business?

Joe: “At our place, we’re welcoming and want to help the customer. We have employees who like to camp, so they can relate to the customer. Our sales and service staff know customers by name. It’s important that our sales staff introduce new customers to our service team so they can establish that relationship. That way if they do have an issue down the line, the customer can call in and know who they are talking to.”

You mentioned technology contributing to your success and that includes your dealer management system. How long have you had IDS and what led you to choosing it as your system?

Joe: “We’ve had IDS since 2004. Prior to that we used Handy. They were bought out and it came to a point where we either had to upgrade to their new system, or look elsewhere. We heard good things about IDS and there were aspects of the software that we were looking for that our current provider didn’t have. We did a demo and went with IDS and it’s been a great decision ever since. We’ve found they are always developing new features that integrate into our dealership. It’s nice because we don’t have to change the way we do business. With some software companies, you have to conform to the way they want you to do it. With IDS, we’ve found that we don’t have to completely change just because something’s new.”

Talk more about how has IDS has helped you manage your operations with the help of mobile technology.

Joe: “Our service techs use it. All of our advisors have one so they can easily work with a customer. We’ve installed wireless throughout the shop so they can go around and check-in a customer, take pictures and have the availability to view warranty information and the parts they need. Our techs like being able to punch in and punch out of jobs. For some of our techs who weren’t real computer literate, they’ve found that the tablets are easy to use and they like the speak-to-text feature. It’s been easier to dispatch work and it reduces lost work orders. I’d say it makes it a lot easier for tracking efficiency.

We don’t use it a lot in parts, but we have one sales guy that uses it as his inventory. That would be our next step for our sales reps to view the real-time inventory we have available.”

The efficiency of your technicians plays a vital role in your service department profitability. What’s a good level of tech efficiency and how do you measure it?

Joe: “It depends on the technician and what their primary role is. Our PDI and prep techs carry a higher efficiency than our warranty and general repair technicians. Based on flat rates, our PDI techs will range from 120-130% and we aim to get our repair guys from 95-110% efficiency.”

How has IDS helped you handle warranty claims?

Joe: “I think we’ve definitely learned how to streamline the system better over the last year, in particular the work order flow and work order manager. Then moving claims over to unclaimed and then claiming them so we can track the natural progression through the shop. We track the work order. Then when it’s finished, it’s transferred to the warranty department as unclaimed and then we can track the timeline of how long the work order sits as unclaimed until it’s claimed by the manufacturer.”

What future goals do you have for the dealership and what contributions do you see from both your employees and IDS in helping you attain those goals?

Joe: “There is a need for increased service in our area, so we just worked on expanding our shop by adding an additional 12,000 square feet. Other than that, we hope to continue to grow the business and utilize more technology.”

 

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