LAS VEGAS – Reynolds and Reynolds, a firm offering dealership information technology, reinvented itself about four years ago, says Ron Lamb, the Dayton-OH company’s president.

It did so by developing an end-to-end network called the Retail Management System. It features integrated software touching all dealership departments, from desking deals to selling accessories to engaging in F&I to enhancing back-shop operations.

At the recent National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention here, Lamb talks about the latest products, what dealers are telling him and what it has been like selling an all-in-one system to dealers.

WardsAuto:  What’s new?

Lamb:  In the last few months, we came up with a concept called e-workflow. It digitizes every aspect of the car buying, shopping financing experience.

It goes after the paper monster and eliminates 45 minutes of hearing that printer at work. An average deal jacket is an inch to inch and a half thick with paper.

In the e-work flow world, the customer has an option: instead of walking away with a bunch of documents, walk away with a thumb drive. Dealers are telling us 90% to 95% of their customers like that.

A dealer said, “In every one of my stores I have people that do nothing other than scan documents. And you wouldn’t believe what I pay for storage.” With this, you wouldn’t print that paper in the first place. It is a bit of a sea change for us.

WardsAuto: What are dealers talking to you about here?

Lamb: Dealer profitability as a percentage has declined. A number of conversations are around that, and what can be done to improve operational efficiencies.

For instance, my team went to a dealer’s store and mapped out what he is doing. They use 11 different systems to sell and finance a car. One is a CRM application, another an Internet lead-management tool, another a menu tool, and so on.

Apparently at every year at NADA they buy a new tool and plug it in. It builds and builds.

That’s one guy. Can you achieve efficiency by having 11 different systems or by having one system do 11 different things?

WardsAuto: Presumably the latter. Do most dealers see it that way?

Lamb: Here’s my problem since we’ve been bringing out the retail-management system.

We’ll have a dealer say, “I like that docuPad thing (software for screen-presenting and selling F&I products), I’ll take one.” And we’re happy to sell that. And someone might say, “I’ll take the Add.On.Auto accessory tool (a configurator that shows and calculates payments on accessory products).” Fine.

But it is that onesy-twosy thing we’ve been battling. Candidly, we are struggling telling the story that it is the complementary nature of how these things work. It was built as one to work as one with one data base.

WardsAuto: Dealers are different. Presumably there’s a segment of them that get the oneness of it all.

Lamb: We now are having retailers take a look at this and saying, “I’ve got to be more efficient.” We are seeing them go with the entire Retail Management System. It’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.