Diamond Manage is a fully integrated lead generation and dealer management system

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. (MMSA) rolls out a new dealer management system during the second quarter of 2001. The company expects it to radically change the information processes currently driving automotive dealerships.

Installations were slated to begin in the first quarter but were delayed as wrinkles were ironed out. Once installations begin, they are expected to proceed at a rate of 20 dealerships per month. Mitsubishi has more than 500 dealerships in the U.S.

Called Diamond Manage, the DMS is an all-new, fully integrated lead generation and dealer management system. Mitsubishi says it will be the first automaker in the U.S. to install an end-to-end management system into its retail network. It covers all aspects of the business, from Internet inquiries to purchase and after-sales support to manufacturer communications.

“It's going to be a great system,” predicts dealer Michael Cohen whose Bell Mitsubishi in Rahway, NJ is a beta site for the Diamond system. “Is it a great system now? It's a work in progress. We're about 97% to 98% of the way there and they want to make sure we're at 100% satisfaction before they release it to the rest of the dealers.”

It is designed to offer seamless management of sales, parts, service, finance and insurance, accounting and customer relationship management.

Utilizing a user-friendly Windows platform, Diamond Manage delivers several features in one package. They include a centralized dealer management system, capacity to store six years of vehicle data, complete system functionality for service operations and automated real-time transaction updates. Functions include an electronic parts catalog, dealer communications system, Internet, Extranet and e-mail capabilities.

Screens will be familiar for users with Windows menus and title bars throughout all applications. It also downloads data to Microsoft Excel with a single click.

Diamond Manage allows each dealership department to synchronize inventory and billing to general ledger accounts, view daily operations reports and view customer histories.

In the sales department, it offers one-touch inquiry of vehicle schedule costs and full tracking of previously owned vehicle data.

“Is it a great system now? It's a work in progress.”
— Michael Cohen Bell Mitsubishi

The system offers eight display options for viewing repair orders and provides technician tool tracking, one-touch access to loaner car tracking and factors in three possible overtime rates.

In the accounting department, Diamond Manage offers security control, the ability to customize documents and financial statements and stores general ledger transactions for up to 60 months.

“It gives you the ability to go beyond the surface information,” explains Mr. Cohen. “It's very user friendly and easy for a dealer who isn't an IT guy to get an idea of what's going on. I can go into my dealership, plug in a laptop and find out how many ups I had that day.”

Greg O'Neill, senior vice president and general manager of MMSA, says, “Diamond Manage will keep our retailers in front of the competition because it will arm them with the information to respond much more quickly and effectively to their customers.

Diamond Manage is based on a dealer management system developed by Dimension Data of Johannesburg, South Africa. EDS is installing the system and providing technical support, training and software distribution services.

Much of the Diamond suite of offerings will be centrally managed and served from an EDS systems management center, which will enable dealers to utilize the system selectively and cost effectively.

Says Linda Judd, president of the EDS Automotive Retail Group, “It is refreshing to see a group of individuals push the boundaries of conventional wisdom reaching a higher level of operating excellence.

“Mitsubishi, its U.S.-based management team and network of retailers have shown over the past two years that they can radically change their position in this marketplace, evidenced by the fact that they are the fastest-growing Japanese manufacturer in the U.S. today.”