Reynolds and Reynolds began in 1866 as a purveyor of printed forms, which remains a big part of its business.

Headquartered near Dayton, OH, the company evolved into an information-technology provider, specifically offering computerized dealership management systems.

The firm has reinvented itself by using the DNA of the DMS to offer an array of enhanced software products dubbed the retail management system. The company says those tools allow dealerships to offer better and faster and customercentric service, department by department.  

In a Q and A with WardsAuto, Reynolds President Ron Lamb and Jon Strawsburg, vice president-product planning, discuss the firm’s transformation and how it came about. 

WardsAuto: So how did you get from there to here?

Lamb: Six or seven years ago, we decided to completely rebuild the DMS system, and build a broader platform. Over the last three years, we’ve been talking about this concept of the retail management system.

The DMS is about counting your money, but consumer-experience tools help you make money. These tools became an integrated part of the platform. All pieces work in harmony. When a customer drives in, RFID (radio-frequency identification) tells the dealership service adviser you are here, pulls up the appointment on his mobile device, provides him with a service history of the car and the customer’s name flashes on a welcome screen. All that is on the same system as everything else. It all happens cohesively to create the “wow” factor.

WardsAuto: Reynolds has made some recent acquisitions. What are some of those?

Lamb: One of them is XtremeService, a data-mining and vehicle-matching tool that (megadealer) Rick Hendrick had his folks develop over the years.

You take your new and pre-owned inventory, and the system prices it out based on current rates, residuals, rebates, incentives, dealer cash – all that stuff.

Then when customers come into the service lane, say someone in a Honda LX, the system knows what that’s going for, how much the customer paid for it, how many payments are left and the likely equity. Now, we can have a conversation about a trade in and a new-car purchase with the same monthly payments as the person is currently paying.

Rick has found a 15% increase on new-vehicle sales based on this program. That’s amazing. And as a dealer you are getting high-quality late models for your used-car inventory.

We also just acquired Add.On.Auto, an accessory-business tool. Accessories are a $32 billion-a-year industry that has eluded a lot of dealers. Less than 10% of dealers are good at selling accessories.

Add.On.Auto has figured it out with an interactive tool at kiosks in the dealership or online. People can see on the screen what their vehicle would look like with them. It’s a configurator, but one that is fun, like a video game.