Fineline Industries partners with DealersCircle to streamline manufacturer-dealer communication

Jacksonville, FL- Fineline Industries of Merced, California, producers of Ski Centurion and Ski Supreme towboats, signed with Marine Management Program innovator, DealersCircle, Inc. this week. Fineline will be utilizing DealersCircle’s web-based management program which links manufacturers, dealers, and their customers to enhance customer service and will bring its dealer network of over 100 dealers aboard. DealersCircle is written in the most cutting edge web technology and expedites and tracks boat orders, inventory, customers, warranty claims, service tickets, parts, customer correspondence, reports, and trends on all data in the system.

When asked about this partnership, Erin Mcllhatton, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Fineline Industries, responded this way. “Our goal is to bring every aspect of our business up to the level of the World Championship towboats we build and relentlessly innovate from there.” Mcllhatton continued, “We are excited to partner with DealersCircle because they offer a simple yet robust system that can be customized to progress with our brands.”

“We have been working with marine manufacturers and their dealers alike since 2003 and the need for a simple web based system to streamline sales, warranty and dealer development departments is paramount. Measuring success and trending is more important than ever for our industry and we are proud to partner with Fineline,” said Jamie Gaskins President of DealersCircle. “Increasing CSI and brand loyalty are the common denominators on the road to professionalism and our application helps remove some of the speed bumps we all encounter in this industry”.

DealersCircle Inc. is a technology and consulting company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. The DealersCircle team specializes in high-end B2B software applications utilizing the most up to date technologies.

Five Quick Tips for Streamlining Your Parts Ordering

Parts ordering can be a tricky thing, especially if you don’t have a consistent system between manufacturer and dealer already in place. Ineffective parts ordering can lead to all sorts of miscommunications, overcharges, incorrect bills, and even confused or upset dealers.

But while parts ordering may be complicated, the system that runs your parts ordering for you should make the entire process simple. We at DealersCircle have a handle on parts ordering, and we’d like to share some of our insights with you:

Tip #1: Make the parts easy to find—and order. If you want someone to order a part, then it logically follows that you’ll want to make finding that part as easy as possible on the person doing the ordering. DealersCircle offers configuration based on part numbers, quantities, prices, and manufacturing categories. This makes order selection and browsing much easier on the customer who’s actually doing the ordering and ultimately leads to a simpler ordering system altogether.

Tip #2: Allow dealers to submit notes. If your parts ordering system has no place to let dealers submit any custom information, then you’re either going to have to miss out on part of their order, or you’re going to have to get in touch with them through some other means. We find that the most efficient way to attach a custom note on an order is to allow the dealer to write in that note and submit it along with the order itself. This prevents miscommunication and ensures that the manufacturer knows about the special instructions as soon as the order is placed.

Tip #3: Set up email notifications. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something online, you expect an email receipt of some sort? Even a quick message that says “your order is being processed” is enough to make you feel like you actually matter to the company who’s taking your order. We recommend email notifications as part of the parts ordering process so that every party is continually “in the know” about what’s happening with the order—and what still needs to happen in order for the purchase to be fulfilled.

Tip #4: Allow two-way communication. You’d be surprised how many parts ordering processes do not allow for two-way communication. This makes it difficult on both the dealer and the manufacturer, because each party will scramble with phone calls to make sure that they’re talking to the right person on the other end. Cut through the miscommunication by allowing the manufacturer to adjust the part order and send it back to the dealer—not only will this ensure the communication is direct, but it will make sure that these edits are understood from the moment they’re made.

Tip #5: Document each order. Or, more accurately, let a solution like DealersCircle keep track of the entire history of each action, from the initial product order through the process fulfillment. Keeping tabs on each order is difficult without this step—but you’ll save a lot of time and money by allowing a system like DealersCircle handle it rather than doing it manually.

 

How to Improve Your Warranty Claim Management System

Better warranty claim management without investing more labor—it sounds impossible, right? After all, warranty claim management can be one of the most tedious parts of the job for manufacturers and dealers alike, especially if both parties are working with outdated software.

But with the right software in place, warranty claim management can not only be easier, but it can be clearer, more direct, and foster a healthier relationship between dealer and manufacturer. Here’s how.

Reducing Questions and Uncertainty

At DealersCircle, there’s a simple method for reducing questions and uncertainty that rise over warranty claims: nipping them in the bud. That’s because our warranty claim management system allows manufacturers to configure default rates for the different types of warranties claimed. This consistent price of labor allows the dealer to know exactly what they’re getting into when it comes to the warranty offerings. These configured warranty rates are fully customizable and can even be set at different rates for different dealers.

On the dealer’s end, they can submit warranty claims directly to the manufacturer for approval through this same software, utilizing the Warranty Claim Wizard. There they can enter all of the details—the year, manufacturer, and model of the warrantied equipment, and more. Once submitted to the manufacturer, both parties can then use this Wizard to edit and consult each other about the warranty claim to ensure that it meets satisfaction.

Leave No Stone Unturned

Part of the problem that dealers face in submitting warranty claims is that they’re not able to communicate effectively with a dealer. Using a standard paper warranty claim form, for example, adds a lot of potential problems, including longer wait times, the inability to edit the warranty claim, and the inability to add pictures that might help the manufacturer better understand the need.

Using the Warranty Claim Wizard, however, allows dealers to also submit pictures of the warranty claim. This helps both the dealer and the manufacturer properly diagnose the warranty claim and estimate the amount of labor involved in fixing the issue. Leaving no stone unturned in the warranty claim process is the best way to ensure a warranty claim can be quickly and thoroughly addressed.

Automatic Recording of Warranties

Utilizing DealersCircle allows manufacturers to spend more time focusing on the warranty itself and less time on the warranty claim. This is because the software handles many of the issues around the claim itself—for example, the software can add the warranty claim to the permanent history of the product for easy reference later on. With the warranty claims recorded into the system, a manufacturer will be able to see what kind of problems dealers and customers might be having with a product.

All of these solutions for warranty claim management make the process quicker and more thorough without increasing the amount of time your people have to spend on warranty claims. This not only saves on time and money, but ultimately promotes a healthy relationship with customers and dealers when they submit warranty claims.

Efficient Product Ordering Systems for Your Business

Stop Doing These Repetitive Tasks (and Get Your Product Ordering System to Do Them, Instead)

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

We at DealersCircle take a different approach. We believe that the definition of insanity is doing something that can easily be automated through the efficient use of the right software.

Perhaps the leading area of “labor redundancies” is in manufacturing—specifically, in the field of product ordering. Today’s technology allows for a wide range of options and features in your product ordering system. DealersCircle offers these exact features. So if any of the following points sound like you or your team, it’s time to stop doing what your product ordering system can do for you:

Order Documentation—Easier Than You Think

One of the first areas to identify redundancy is in order documentation, particularly because it can be so cumbersome to handle manually. In the days before software, order documentation would have to be done by hand, organized, and properly filed. This didn’t just cost labor—it cost a heck of a lot of ink.

These days, order documentation can be handled at the point of the order itself. Since an order through DealersCircle will require a dealer to enter all of the manufacturer needs to receive the order, the documentation can then easily be stored in a database, ready for printing.  DealersCircle will take care of the remaining documentation—no muss, no fuss.

Cataloguing Individual Parts for Order

Even if you’re using a software-based ordering system for documentation, you may still be missing out on time-saving features that you’re not aware even exist. The DealersCircle Parts Ordering System allows for cataloguing individual parts so that dealers can browse them easily and make their orders.

The dealer also has more options on their end, as they’re able to send notes and attachments along with their orders, entering in any custom information that the manufacturer needs to fulfill the request. This allows for personalized orders without the necessity for a personal interaction every single time a new part is ordered.

Direct Dealer-to-Manufacturer Ordering

This is likely already how you run things. But we believe in simplifying the communication between dealer and manufacturer, which means putting the power of ordering in a dealer’s hands and allowing them to submit an electronic order directly to a manufacturer. This is more efficient than both phone calls or email, as the parts ordering software of DealersCircle will then automated the processing and documentation of each order with minimal additional“human” processing needed.

Quick Options Configuration and Viewing

One of the hardest things to communicate between dealers and manufacturers are the available options on each part order. A manufacturer may have the capability to add dozens of options to a part, but it’s difficult to communicate each of these items to the dealer. DealersCircle allows you to configure your options so that they’re viewable during a dealer order, thus eliminating the need to go back and forth between dealer and manufacturer to reach an order that works for both parties.

Problems Manufacturers and Dealers Can’t Afford to Ignore—and How to Solve Them

If you’ve been around long manufacturing and dealers enough, you likely have a set way of doing things. You have a system of handling day-to-day interactions between manufacturing and dealers. It may not be an ideal system, but you’re glad to at least have a system in place.

The problem is, you’re starting to suspect that the systems you’ve set up with dealers or manufacturers are a little outdated. More and more problems arise as customers and clients modernize their expectations. If you sense that any of the following problems are on the rise, it may be time to stop ignoring the signs that your systems are outdated. In fact, it may be time to fix them. Here’s how.

Problem #1: Outdated Communication with Dealers

You use smartphones and you use email, so you don’t feel like your communication system is “outdated.”

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t. Here are a few signs that your communication systems are out of date:

  • A disjointed process. Someone calls you. You email them in response. Or they email you, and you call them in response, only to get no answer. If your communication is a mishmash of phones, emails, and other ways of interacting, the process is disjointed and needs a new strategy of centralization so that communication can be reliable and consistent.
  • Lack of communication accountability. Where do you record what communications have taken place? Is there any issue tracking, or any system in place to be sure which party has made the last attempt at communication? Without a sufficient system in place, even email and smart phones will give you a tough time at tracking communication.

Problem #2: Inconsistent Ordering

One of the most important ways to facilitate a healthy relationship between dealer and manufacturer is to establish a consistent ordering system. Here are some signs that your ordering system isn’t up to snuff:

  • The “mishmash.” Without a singular ordering system—one that provides all the options a dealer needs—a “mishmash” of different ordering procedures develops. This leads to inconsistent tracking and a number of human errors.
  • Indirect orders. If dealers are forced to make indirect orders through some fulfillment center—and not the manufacturer themselves—it can lead to a lengthier process. The ideal system is one in which an order placed by the dealer is received directly by the manufacturer, options and all.
  • Bad warranty claims. If warranty claims go unchecked, it’s a sure sign that the ordering process is flawed. Keeping things honest between manufacturer and dealer will require that warranty claims are as easy to access as are orders themselves.

The best way to solve all of these problems in a singular way is to utilize software that provides order tracking, warranty tracking, and effective, one-stop communication between manufacturers and dealers. DealersCircle provides all of these features and more in its inventory management and sales/customer tracking software, even offering a free trial so you can give it a whirl and see if the old way of doing things is just that—the old way of doing things.

 

 

The Most Common Signs You Need to Switch Software

As much as we hate to admit it, many of us are settled in our ways. Too many of our business processes are handled a certain way simply because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” To a certain extent, this is rational. It takes time, labor, and even money to switch things up, to train employees in new systems, and to switch things up. But sometimes, not changing systems is the biggest mistake of all. How do you know if you’re making that same mistake? Here are some of the most common signs that your current manufacturing and customer tracking software needs to be updated.

Sign #1: Too many cooks. Have you heard the expression “too many cooks spoil the broth?” Well, it holds true even when talking about manufacturing, inventory, and product ordering software.

Too many programs doing too many things spoils the “broth.” It’s difficult and time-consuming to use multiple programs for different reasons when one will suffice for all of your reasons. It takes time out of your employees’ day that could otherwise be spent productively.

So what’s the solution? Looking for a software system that integrates all your basic processes—product ordering, inventory management, warranty claims, parts ordering, sales and customer tracking—will immediately reinvigorate your infrastructure and streamline your processes.

Sign #2: Customer and client complaints. If you have great, honest employees who do their best to keep customers happy, great. But if, for some reason, your customers still find reasons to complain, there may be something else going wrong.

In many cases, it’s not your employees, but the sales and customer tracking systems you have in place. Losing track of customers, failing to follow up on product orders, and slow processing times can all be symptomatic of a deeper problem: your software is simply not good enough. If you’re going to fix the problem, you need to address the underlying causes of all the customer upheaval.

Upgrading your software is the quickest way to ensure that customers’ problems are addressed—especially when that software includes sale and customer tracking that allows instant manufacturer access to each customers’ unique information.

Sign #3: Cumbersome tracking. In this day and age, tracking should be automatic. Today’s software is more than capable of tracking orders, customer interactions, warranty claims, and more. If you have to do your own tracking for these interactions, then you’re losing a lot of time and money without even realizing it.

Manufacturers and dealers have to do a lot of tracking in order to stay on top of things. That’s why it’s so important that their software handle the legwork for them. Without an effective system in place, manufacturers end up losing employee time—which translates to losing money.

If any of these three signs sound like conditions at your company, it may be time to consider upgrading your software. Keep browsing around DealersCircle.com to find out how all of these problems can be solved with simple software that connects manufacturers, dealers, and customers.

 

Four Ways to Save Time on Every Business Process

The old saying that “time is money” isn’t quite accurate. If you ask us, time is more valuable than money—because while you can sometimes get your money back, you can never get your time back.

That’s why saving time in every aspect of your business is so crucial to keeping your company on top of its game. But unless you know how to save time, you’re just spinning your wheels. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of how you can save more time:

#1: Unifying processes into one software system.

As a company, you have to deal with what seems like a thousand things: Warranty claims. Parts ordering. Products ordering and management. Networking with your dealers. Adding contacts. Managing contacts. The list goes on and on.

Unifying all of these capabilities into one software system will save immeasurable amounts of time. With one system for it all, there is no cross-checking, no excessive data entry, no importing/exporting, no processing time. Just one system from which you can view it all.

#2: Automating your documentation.

DealersCircle offers product ordering and inventory management that comes with documenting built right in. This means that you don’t have to amass a paper trail for every single interaction and order you make, because the proper documents are assembled as part of your regular process.

If you’ve ever had to deal with documentation before, you know how much effort and time this can save you. This is especially true since you save time on each interaction every single time. It adds up to a lot of saved time—time that can be better utilized focusing on the company. (Check out more on our product ordering and inventory management software here).

#3: Track sales and customers in one place.

Your sales team should have a one-stop software option that allows them to offer quotes, make sales, and deliver products to their customers. Easily entering in a product order for customer delivery is one of the best ways to ensure that your sales team can spend time doing what they were hired to do—make sales. With this system in place, your company can quickly and easily respond to new sales, which in turn lets your customers see how seriously you take their orders.

Without this kind of system in place, your salespeople would be left to handle much of the work themselves rather than simply entering in new customer orders.

#4: Easy sorting, viewing, and product location.

Dealers who have the same manufacturer often need to contact each other about inventory. DealersCircle allows quick searching of inventory, allowing searches by year, model, dealer, state, manufacturer, etc. Each of these options makes every call between dealers go much more quickly, saving you time on what used to be a lengthy and cumbersome process.

Saving time at the company level isn’t just about finding the big chunks of time—it’s about saving little chunks of time but repeating the process over and over so that the time saved ultimately adds up to a far more efficient company.

Dealer’s Circle 101: How it Works, and What It Does For Your Business

You’ve read about us, you’ve heard about us, and now you’re considering working with us. Great! If you’re looking for a bit of information to help determine whether or not we’re right for you, here’s the nuts-and-bolts of what we do:

Defining Dealer’s Circle

What is Dealer’s Circle? Simply put, we’re an online data and communications software system for product manufacturers and their dealers. We streamline everyday business processes so you can spend less time in technical and logistical work and more time focusing on the business at hand. Time is money—but at Dealer’s Circle, we save you both.

How Does It Work?

Easily integrated into any product manufacturer’s business, our software can handle the following with easy:

  • Warranty claims
  • Warranty claim processing
  • Parts ordering
  • Product ordering/management
  • Contacts
  • Dealer networking
  • Documents and correspondence

Essentially, we help you run your business. The advantage is that you can run all of these processes from the same software. If you’re a product manager who runs these processes using disconnected, essentially random software selections, then you stand to save a lot of time and money by switching to one central hub for all of your business software needs.

Who Do We Help?

Any business that runs a range of different programs to solve the businesses above qualifies as someone we can help. We also help product manufacturers who are stuck in an “old way” of thinking—say, handling everything via phone calls or faxes or email—by updating their processes. Dealer’s Circle helps by creating one place for you to view everything from contacts to warranty claims, all while documenting each individual communication, issue, and claim.

Integrating Dealer’s Circle

Good news here—it’s really simple to use. Dealer’s Circle is web-based, running on all of the popular web browsers. If you have the Internet, you’re all set to start using Dealer’s Circle. The software structure is simple, easy to use, and won’t require any heavy training to get your people on board.

How to Get Started Today

If you’ve wanted to streamline your warranties, your claims, your communications with dealers, or all of the above for a while now, it’s time to get started with Dealer’s Circle. Simply prepare your industry, your name, your email, your contact phone number and company name and enter it in to our “get a free quote” form. There are no obligations—you’ll simply get a free quote that lets you know exactly what you can expect from Dealer’s Circle.

What to Do If You’re Not Sure Yet

Okay, so you’ve read the 101, you’ve browsed around our website, and you’re still not sure that you’re going to invest any money in Dealer’s Circle. No problem. We offer a 60-day free trial that requires no commitment whatsoever. This is the best way to get started with Dealer’s Circle if you’re still on the fence. You can also use this free trial to begin figuring out ways to streamline all of your processes, from processing warranties to contacting dealers.

 

 

4 Effective Ways to Manage Inventory

If you are a business owner, keeping track of your inventory is one aspect of your business that you would like to be perfect as soon as possible. Managing inventory involves more than hiring an experienced employee or implementing a creative system. In any case, anticipating common mistakes in tracking inventory and knowing how to address each one will help ensure that your business is in tip-top shape.

Surplus of Supplies 

Entrepreneurs are sometimes afraid of not having enough supplies for their bestselling items. When this happens, working capital gets tied up and products that are not sold quickly enough can be subject to damage and depreciation. To avoid this situation, and to improve cash flow these items are sold at a discount where the business owner loses revenue.

Looking at your monthly history is one way to estimate your supply needs. If in the past year you were able to sell 50 products for each month, you are more than likely to sell 50 products for the coming month. Of course, you need to consider the seasons of the year. By looking at the monthly history, you quickly learn which items are in demand for a particular season.

Inaccurate Tracking 

As much as possible, you would like your records to be error-free; however, the human component of the process makes that impossible. Even an experienced employee will have the occasional slip up during order fulfillment or shipping receipt. You cannot also rule out the possibility of theft.

Consider using product ordering and inventory management software to effectively keep track of your stocks. If you are a supplier who is in constant contact with your manufacturer, recommend the software to facilitate the processes involved in ordering and receiving items. Also, you can use bar code scanning and electrical data interchange to significantly reduce pilferage and errors.

Lack of Prioritization 

More often than not, a huge amount of time and resources are allocated in order to track all the necessary details of each item in stock.

To address the issue, something you can do is to prioritize the most important items. The Pareto Principle suggests that 80 percent of the product demand will come from 20 percent of items in your inventory. Therefore, concentrate on those in demand items by conducting monthly projections and in-stock position.

Using Unsuitable Software 

It is very common to see small business owners using Microsoft Excel to keep track of their inventory. However, using this process can be very dangerous. Unless you can assign one employee to manage your entire inventory, chances are you will lose important data.

Instead of using spreadsheets that are not specifically designed to handle the complexity involved in inventory management, use a suitable software like DealersCircle. Aside from providing you with a central database, the software has features that can address fundamental accounting and inventory issues.

Summary 

As a business owner, inventory management is one area of your business that you want to be perfect. By addressing issues such as surplus of supplies, inaccurate tracking, lack of prioritization and using unsuitable software, you are well on your way into achieving that goal.

Increase Revenue and Customer Satisfaction with Warranty Management Software

Warranty claims are often viewed as a significant cost for businesses; however, they also provide critical opportunities for companies to increase their revenue and customer satisfaction. In order to capitalize on warranty claim opportunities it is important that a business has the proper technology that can provide access to multiple types of data, analyze the correlation of the data, and generate recommendations for actions. Our warranty management software at DealersCircle is able to help companies manage warranty claim information in order to detect and manage warranties before they become an issue. A comprehensive warranty management solution requires the participation of all team members. Companies that center data in their daily operations can help to realize meaningful revenue making opportunities and mitigate common costs associated with warranty management.

Warranty management has traditionally been thought of as an assurance contract between a company and a customer, which protects the customer from buying a product that does not meet their expectations. In many cases, customers may purchase software, technological devices, automobiles, or other expensive items that are tested for quality, safety, and reliability. When a product fails to meet the standards set forth by the company, then a warranty is an opportunity for the customer to receive the product that they desired and an opportunity for a company to reestablish trust and connection with the user.

An important component of warranty management, which is often overlooked, is that it provides opportunities to sustain or improve a brand image by meeting the needs of customers. Customers who have their needs met through a warranty are more likely to positively represent the company in person and through social networking. Warranty management software allows companies to make sure that customers have their needs met because of a flexible data system that makes sure no warranty is lost or overlooked.

Warranty management software ultimately impacts the customer’s relationship to the company, determines the level of analysis that can be gained and transformed into action, and has a significant impact on future revenues. This technology uses structured quantitative and qualitative data such as notes from users, problem reports and resolution emails, customer feedback and complaints, and other data that a company finds relevance to customer satisfaction when dealing with warranties. This information allows companies to take an analytical approach when attempting to improve product quality and enhance warranty reliability.

At DealersCircle, we provide warranty management software that connects product manufacturers, as well as dealers and repair facilities with their customers through warranty management software that tracks sales and other relevant analytical data. We have multiple years of experience in developing warranty management plans with businesses and helping companies think through data collection and tracking. You can try DealersCirlce now for 60 days completely free by visiting us online or by contacting us at info@dealerscircle.com