Dealertrack is using coaches to help dealers get the most out of Performance Management and Business Intelligence, a new add-on to the company’s dealership- management system.

The Cox Automotive brand is pairing up about one coach per 50 clients to “walk them through” the ins and outs of the system, says Sharon Kitzman, vice president and general manager of Dealertrack DMS.

The instruction is done on the phone, online and occasionally onsite. Trainers have auto-retailing experience. Some of them are former dealership general managers and controllers.

In a dashboard format, Performance Management and Business Intelligence delivers data intended to aid dealers monitor sales and inventory, determine the health of various departments and find financial opportunities using industry benchmarking data.

Some of those opportunities might otherwise be overlooked, Kitzman tells WardsAuto.

“An example is the parts department,” she says. “Performance Management might show them how well they’re managing obsolescence. The coach might help them find they have 20% obsolete parts in inventory. The parts inventory is a large asset for dealers so it is important to avoid obsolescence.”

The system also tracks employee performance, says Kai Nielsen, Dealertrack’s director-strategy. “For instance, it shows effective labor rates for service advisers, which ones are successful, and which are discounting and not upselling.”

Dealertrack bills its DMS as the only one in the industry that is 100% cloud-based. It can run on multiple systems and devices, from PCs onsite to computer tablets offsite.

Performance Management is designed to “get people up to speed quickly” while using technology that’s not alien to them, Nielsen says. “It’s like the technology they use when they aren’t at work.”

Duties of the coaches include serving as data-insight analysts, Kitzman adds. “It goes beyond a personal customer support representative.”

Dealertrack piloted the DMS product enhancements with select dealers starting in December.

Ryan McCulloch, general manager at Temecula Hyundai in Temecula, CA, says: “It provides an experienced industry expert who not only helps me best utilize the DMS, but also works with me to define short- and long-term goals.”

sfinlay@wardsauto.com