Talking about the installation of a new dealership management system elicits a colorful list of descriptions from dealers and providers. None sounds too pleasant.
Some liken the DMS change to a heart transplant or a knee replacement. Others say it's akin to reading a foreign language or teaching someone how to write with their opposite hand.
While the descriptions vary, dealers agree that it can be a grueling process that touches every level of a store. It's not something they want to do often.
The DMS is the nerve center of a dealership. It's the platform from which stores conduct business related to payroll, accounting, parts, inventory and service.
The reasons for putting in a different DMS can differ based on a dealership's needs. Some stores can jump ship because of customer service annoyances, while others may get acquired by a larger group and not have much of a choice.
Then there's money. Some providers can charge fees crossing $6,000 per month, prompting stores to look for relief after the contract is up.
A DMS switch is among the most challenging undertakings for a dealership.
Staffers have to partake in extensive training via online tutorials and in-person sessions to learn new systems. Animosity can emerge when store managers try to sell a DMS switch to staffers who want no part of a new platform. Those hard feelings can make the process difficult for everybody, including the provider.