2018 Annual Letter from the General Manager

It’s been another record year for the RV, Marine and Trailer dealership industry. The trends are positive, and we are happy to see dealers maintaining their focus on improving their operations through this growth period.

From a technology perspective, we continue to see the need to be “mobile” as a key differentiator – as more and more often, staff require to step away from behind the counter to help their customers. We also see the need for an expanded marketplace as more partners that service the industry need to integrate with your dealership system.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve continued to improve our capabilities in those areas, along with the small things that help your team be more productive and efficient.
RV Industry Growth

  • RV ownership has reached record levels,as more than nine million households now own an RV – the highest level ever recorded; it’s a 16% increase since 2001 and a 64% gain since 1980.
  • Population and demographic trends favor long-term RV market growth– buyers aged 35-54 are the largest segment of RV owners, according to the 2011 University of Michigan study of RV consumers commissioned by the RV Industry Association.
  • RV sales are expected to benefit as aging baby boomers continue to enter the age range in which RV ownership has been historically highest.

Marine Industry Growth

  • Sixth consecutive year of growth in new boat sales and recreational boating expenditures, and 2018 looks to be on its way to becoming a seventh consecutive year of growth.
  • Boat clubs: rentals and fractional use companies continue to grow in popularity as new boaters explore ways to get on the water.


Product Development

Our investment in product has more than doubled over the last three years and continues to be the major focus of our business, so that we can meet your needs and stay ahead of our competitors. We added key people this year, including Eric Tchokonte as the VP of Engineering, Arran Noble as the Manger of Development, Rob Decaire as the Product Manager and Victor Ramirez as the User Experience (UX) Designer.

In the last 12 months, we added 10 people to the product development team alone, making it more specialized and allowing it to transition to an Agile development model. Agile lets us move faster since we now have numerous, small teams working on several projects simultaneously. This increases our productivity and ability to improve and augment the product. We will be passing on a slight increase in your support rates for this additional investment.

Usability, Quality and Performance

By prioritizing usability, quality and performance, here’s what our development team has achieved in the last 12 months:

  • 20% reduction of Emergency tickets reported
  • 5% reduction in tickets that required Developments involvement
  • Maturation of our Agile practice and major releases every six weeks
Better PDF Viewing

We’ve made it possible for you to view PDF’s on a wider range of devices, including mobile devices running Android and iOS, the older versions of Adobe Acrobat and desktop PC’s.

These new PDF documents are now aligned with standard OS readers, and the benefits apply to all PDF documents stored in Document Management as well as those created separately.

For example, the Sales, Finance and Rental documentation created using the Adobe Lifecycle Manager templates is now viewable on a wider range of customer applications, thanks to the new PDF format.

API 2.0

The IDS API 2.0 allows you to easily share your valuable dealership management software data with third-party software or service vendors, such as your website provider, menu-selling systems, extended warranty companies and inventory management tools, all of which have historically existed outside of IDS.

We’ve improved the API’s security, performance and scaling capabilities, with the latest feature allowing you to send customer data back into the IDS system. Here’s the list of the API’s capabilities:

Put Information into IDS Pull Information from IDS
Customer Records Yes Yes
CoBuyers Yes
Finance Quotes and Deals Yes
Sales Quotes and Deals Yes
Unit Inventory Yes
Locations Yes

You can find a complete listing of the specific data that can be accessed and documentation at http://developer.ids-astra.com/.

Data Integrity

We’ve improved IDS Astra with a rollback feature that reduces the need to fix data and leads to better reporting. We’ve also improved data validation to reduce the amount of transaction locks and failed transactions.

IDS Partnership Program

IDS has formed a partnership program with other software and service vendors, allowing them to use the API to plug into your dealership system’s data in real time. These integrated partners will provide a seamless user experience between IDS and their software tools, reducing the need for duplicate data entry.

Your website is a good example – we are working with website providers to allow them to consume your latest inventory information in real time, including images, so that you don’t have to upload anything manually.

Customer Service

2017 was an exciting year for the IDS Customer Service Team. We added several new support team members along with a Rapid Response Team to ensure you can always get quick updates on the status of your tickets. We also revamped some of our processes and realigned how we work to service you better.

Here’s how we did last year:

  • 60% of ALL tickets were responded to almost immediately
  • 65% of ALL tickets were responded to within 30 minutes
  • 70% of ALL tickets were responded to within two hours
  • 77% of ALL tickets were responded to the same-day

One of the ways we track the results of our efforts is through a survey in which we ask whether you’d recommend IDS to other dealers. So far, the results have been positive – we’ve seen a 40% increase in that score over the last year, thank you!

However, we still have much more to improve. In fact, we’ve noticed two kinds of customer feedback:

  1. “IDS always gets back to us quickly.”
  2. “IDS takes too long to get back to us.”

We think this disparity exists because we’ve never properly explained why some tickets get responded to faster than others. The simple explanation is that IDS uses a priority-based model.

For instance, if you claim in your ticket that you cannot access our software, we will prioritize it over the ticket in which you ask us how to perform something within the software.

To give you a good idea of when you should expect a response, we’ve developed a comprehensive chart that visualizes how we prioritize tickets. Give it a look, but keep in mind that these are just thresholds that help us prioritize – average response rates are normally much faster.

Service Targets – Normal Business Hours
Priority IDS Context Recommended Contact Method *Average Support Response
  • No user can log into IDS or system performance halts all operations
  • Phone 1-800-962-7872 and press option 0 to speak to Help Desk Admin 30 Minutes
  • Inability to process paying customers
  • Inability to perform year-end routines
  • Inability to process payroll checks
  • Entire department is not able to perform daily operations
  • Phone 1-800-962-7872 and press option 0 to speak to Help Desk Admin 30 Minutes
  • Only 1 person cannot log in or perform a certain function, while others are not affected
  • Deal forms printing/alignment
  • AP check printing
  • Technician time entry
  • Email Within 24 business hours
  • “How-to” questions
  • Help with reports
  • Help with reconciliations
  • Help correct transactions
  • Printer issues
  • Email Within 48 business hours
  • Service requests such as:
  • o   Forms adjustments
    o   Price files
    o   New printer setup
    o   Loading G2 on new workstations

    Email 5 business days


    Customer Success – Continually Set Up Our Customers to Succeed

    Our mission is to continually set up our customers for success. That’s why we were very happy to see an increase in the number of dealers inviting us back to help them “tune up” their business operations and make better use of the IDS software in 2017.

    In fact, our consultants completed 42 tune-up engagements last year, allowing our customers to:

    • Adopt additional areas of our software and streamline more of their processes
    • Get a better understanding of their financials and costs
    • Increase the effectiveness of their staff by boosting their software knowledge
    • Embrace email marketing automation – our customers deployed over eight million emails through Bronto last year!

    Thanks to our in-person interactions with dealers and our surveys, we’ve learned that we should make our training more accessible to you throughout the year. We’ve heard you, which is why we’re planning to introduce the following:

    • Regional classes. Keep an eye out for classes in your area covering various aspects of IDS.
    • New controller program. Hired a new controller? Let us help get them up to speed quickly.
    • Bronto automation webinars. Learn how to send out automated emails that cater to your customers’ buying habits.
    • CRM webinars. Learn how to leverage your CRM to empower your sales staff. To register for the upcoming training webinars, visit this page.


    Looking Forward

    In the coming months, we will be investing in additional Territory Representatives to increase our presence in the field.

    We expect them to provide your business with insight regarding our latest software developments and our industry at large. We hope this additional headcount will significantly improve the quality of the sales and services that we provide.

    Our ultimate goal is to develop even deeper business relationships with each of you and become more responsive to your needs.


    Best Regards,

    Sean's SignatureSean Raynor
    General Manager, IDS