Ideal Computer Systems, Inc.
Business Management Software Solutions
Blog Home

Free Profitability Webinar Headlined by Guest Panelist Bob Clements



Ideal invites you to a free webinar where dealership expert, Bob Clements will headline a panel discussion on dealership profitability with special guests Jeff Nicholson of P & P Small Engines, and Ideal’s Lead Software Trainer, Dave Baumgarten.

The webinar entitled “Improve Your Margins without Losing Your Customers” will take place on Tuesday, May 5th at 1 p.m. (ET).

Click here to learn more.

Don’t Leave Money on the Table by Not Updating Your Price Lists


One of the biggest mistakes you can make heading into your busy season is not updating your price lists.  Ideal has updated many major manufacturer lists and have added additional lists. These lists can significantly increase your profitability during your busiest times, so it’s essential you update your lists each time a new one becomes available.  We’ve had dealers lose as much as $400 on a single item by simply not updating their price lists.

To put it in perspective, if you have $100,000 in part sales and your outdated price lists are off by 5%, you must increase sales by 25% to bring in the same amount as you would with the updated price list.

Cost of mis-pricing 500

Click here to download this image in PDF


Your Ideal system provides you with an easy overview of the status of your price lists as well as the ability to add new ones. To view the status of your price lists:
1) Go to Applications>Product>Load Price Lists
2) The PL History button will show you when you last loaded a specific list
3) The Purchase Price Lists Button (if you’re on notify) will allow you to purchase a new list

Price List Status

You can also view and order price lists online by visiting this link:

If there are any lines that you’d like to added to the database, or if you have any questions about your price lists, including whether or not you have the notify option selected in Ideal, please let us know by calling 800-737-1620 ext. 223 or 224 or emailing

From the Support Department: New Process for Entering Welcome Page Tickets


In an effort to improve the service we provide to our customers, we’ve made some changes to the way you submit tickets through the Ideal Welcome Page.  These changes allow you to provide more detailed information about your request.

From the Ideal Welcome Page:

1)      Select the Click to Request a Support Call button.

2)      The pop-up window now includes Type.  Select one of the following:

  • Accounting
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Interface
  • Product Suggestion

3)      Next, select the Priority level of your question.

4)      Select Email or Call and click Submit.




When entering this information, we ask that you be as detailed with your request as possible and honest about your priority level. Providing the correct information will lead to more efficient responses, from a technician who specializes in your specific request, and will create a better overall experience.


Did You Know? You Can Run a Report to View Warranty Expiration Dates


We recently had a customer ask if he could run a report to show warranty expiration dates so he could market to his customers who had equipment with warranties that were close to expiration. You can do this in the Ideal system by adding the Warr Exp Date field to the Wholegoods List Report using the Report Designer. Here’s how:

1) Click on the Products toolbar button, at the top of the screen.
2) Select the correct serialized product and click on the Properties button.
3) Enter the correct quantity in the Warranty Months Field. This will populate the wholegood record as units are received and sold.


Warranty Months


Note: You can also set the warranty months in the Wholegood Properties of a specific unit. This will calculate a Warranty Expiration date by adding the Warranty Months to the sales invoice date.

Once the warranty information is entered, you are now ready to run the report.

1) Select Inventory>Inventory Reports>Wholegoods List.

2) Next, select Options>Report Wizard.

3) Remove any fields from the Selected Fields column that you don’t need in the report. This will provide room for you to add Warr Exp Date from the Available Fields column.

Warranty Report Fields


4) Once you have removed and selected the proper fields, click the Finish button.

5) Next, select your desired Sales Date range and /or Warranty Exp. Date range, then click Preview to view the report.

6) If the report contains the correct information, go to Options>Save Report As and assign a report name.

Here’s an example of the report:

Wholegoods List Report

Marine Dealer Success: Blackburn Marine Distributing on Serving the Needs of a 300+ Dealer Network


blackburnBill Blackburn was first introduced to the marine industry in 1986 when he was a teenager who helped do odd jobs for his dad’s small propeller repair shop. Through the years, Bill and his father worked to grow the business into a wholesale distribution center for parts, engines and engine-related parts. Bill took over the business in the late 90s and during that time, he’s also worked to expand the service department, which now has the capacity to rebuild outdrives, powerheads and lower units for dealers.

We recently spoke with Bill to talk about how the business is able to successfully serve a network of over 300 + dealers.

Ideal: Blackburn Marine has been in business for nearly 30 years. Can you tell me how you became involved with the business and explain how the business has grown?

Bill:“My father started the business in 1986 as a propeller repair shop. I was around driving age at that time, so I was involved from the very beginning helping with sales, deliveries, and working in the shop. He and I grew the business until the late 90s when I bought the business from him.

The business has grown from a small propeller repair shop to a wholesale distributor of parts, engines and engine-related parts. In addition, we still do propeller repair and welding, but we’ve also grown to do machine work and rebuild outdrives, powerheads and lower units for dealers.”

Continue Reading


Dealer Success: The Power Shop on Bringing a New Sense of Professionalism to a Dealership


Power-ShopThe Power Shop, located in Centralia, WA, has had a 60-year reputation of providing great service on Outdoor Power Equipment. When Cedric and Diane Pruitt bought the business 10 years ago, they wanted to maintain the same level of service, but knew some upgrades would have to be made. One of those upgrades was to computerize the business. Another was to put their daughter, Rebekah Oliver, in charge of the finances.

We recently spoke with Rebekah to find out how the business has been able to grow since her parents took over and how computerization has added a new sense of professionalism to the business.

Ideal: When your parents took over The Power Shop, they had to make some upgrades, which included computerization. Can you explain how that process went?

Rebekah: “When we purchased the business, there wasn’t a complete computer system being that was being utilize. We felt for us to allow the business to grow and be able to accurately track our sales and inventory, we needed a complete and industry-specific solution. We chose to purchase the Ideal software. Overall we have been very happy with the program and look forward to continuing to grow our business with Ideal’s help and support.”

Read More

Support Tip: Updating Your Dealer Number for the Central Power Systems PO Interface in Ideal


The Ideal Support Department has received several calls from customers in regards to updating the dealer number for the Central Power Systems (CPS) Purchase Order Interface.

From the Central Power Systems supplier in Ideal:

1 – Select the Properties button

2- Select the Additional tab

3 – In the Account # field, enter your new dealer number

4 – Click Ok



Measuring Key Metrics in Your Parts Department


It’s no secret that the better you are at managing key metrics in your dealership, the more efficient and profitable you will be.  When preparing for your busy season, one area you’ll want to analyze and develop key metrics for is your parts department.  Having the right parts and quantities in stock, the right people in place to sell parts effectively, and boosting the value of your part sales will prepare you to have a highly profitable year.

With the help of dealership expert Bob Clements, President of Bob Clements International, we’ve highlighted three areas of focus that will help you evaluate the growth, profitability, effectiveness and overall customer satisfaction in your parts department.

1)   Offer the right parts and stock the right quantities

With the increasing trend of parts sales via the internet, it’s essential to carry the parts your customers want, and have them readily available. The two best ways to achieve this are by maintaining seasonal minimum and maximum stocking levels and recording lost sales.  This means you have to track your sales history and lost sales.

The easiest way track these measurements is through your Ideal dealer management system.  Ideal has inventory fields that let you create minimum and maximum stocking levels, and will generate order recommendations based off of those levels.




Lost sales are something that many dealerships fail to track effectively due in large part to limitations in their software systems, and it can be a huge mistake. Ideal helps you easily track this information by providing you with the option to record a Lost Sale as you complete a transaction, or in the Product Information. Make it a point to use this feature to track all lost sales because it will help you determine which parts you should add to your inventory.

We understand that you aren’t going to stock every single part by a certain manufacturer to avoid a lost sale, but you do need to be smart with the parts that are on your shelves.
Bob Clements recommends that a part should become a new item in your inventory only if there have been three demands in 90 days. If you track your Lost Sales properly in Ideal, you will have the option to run a Lost Sales Report which will provide you with the necessary information you need to make smarter buying decisions.

You can then take these numbers and determine your fill rate out of stocking inventory. Clements says you can determine your fill rate by taking your Total Parts Sold – (Lost Sales + Special Orders + Emergency Orders) divided by Total Parts Sold. For example:

200 parts sold – (10 lost sale + 8 special orders + 2 emergency orders) / 200 parts sold = 90%

That’s an excellent fill rate out of stocking inventory!

Clements says dealers typically have a rate in the low 80s. By tracking these lost sales and measuring the numbers, you will have the ability to hit that 90% mark.


2) Boost Your Transaction Time
When it’s your busy season, there can be times where you are swamped and feel like you can’t serve customers fast enough. Bob Clements has visited many dealerships where one of their biggest complaints is that they don’t have enough people working the counter to handle transactions. He’s done some studies in this area to evaluate just how much time the average counterperson handles transactions each day and the results are eye-opening.

Clements says when evaluating the average transaction time per person, you need to evaluate both the people at the parts counter and the need to increase or reduce personnel. For example, if you are doing 800 transactions per month with two people, for each employee that breaks down to:
- 400 transactions per month
- 20 transactions per day
- 2.5 transactions per hour
- 1 transaction every 24 minutes

Seems pretty manageable, right?

There are always going to be ebbs and flows throughout the day when you are busier than others. During Clements’s studies, he’s determined that on average, the normal transaction time in a dealership is seven minutes. He suggests that the transaction time you should shoot for is four minutes, and there’s a highly effective way to do this without employing more people.

The first thing you need to do is determine your fastest moving parts. Ideal has a report that will show you Parts Sales by Volume. Once you’ve determined your fastest moving parts, Clements believes it’s well worth the investment to purchase a Stanley-Vidmar/Lista cabinet and keep it at your sales counter. This cabinet should hold all of your fastest moving parts based on seasonality. With your biggest sellers right at your fingertips, you should easily be able to cut the transaction time for those items in half to help you achieve that 4-minute goal.

In addition, when compared to hiring an extra employee to help speed up transaction time, it’s more cost effective to spend the money on a Stanley-Vidmar/Lista cabinet than it is to pay the salary of a new employee. Clements believes your ultimate goal should be to have well-paid, highly effective employees rather than the more employees who only produce average results.


3) Increase Your Average Transaction Value
With the right parts and the right people working behind your counter, the next area you need to focus on is the value of your average transaction.

Ideal has teamed with Bob Clements to provide you with several key areas to analyze when looking at your transactions. These metrics are located in your Dashboard (Applications>System Manager>Dashboard) and include :

- Total Number of Invoices per Day
- Average Revenue per Invoices per Day
- Average Profit per Invoice per Day
- Parts Revenue per Day
- Parts Gross Profit per Day
- Number of Parts Invoices per Day
- Parts Revenue per Manufacturer
- Total Invoice Revenue per Day
- Total Invoice Gross Profit per Day
- Total Invoice Gross Profit Percentage per Day




Bob Clements warns that just because you increase the profit on parts, this has no bearing on improving your actual transaction value. To get a true measure, you need to take your price bumps out of the equation and focus on upselling more merchandise per transaction. You can do this by using Ideal’s Parts Feature to relate parts that are often sold together. For example to you can group filter and pre-filter, battery and core charge, etc.

By knowing what you should be measuring in your parts department and how to pull that information from your Ideal system, you’ll have a better handle on the performance of your parts department and how to measure and increase your profitability.


Click the button below to download the guide in PDF:




Tips for Handling Spring Orders in Ideal


In preparation for the spring ordering season, we’ve highlighted some helpful tips for handling your orders in Ideal.  The following information is listed under Handling Spring Orders, located in the Popular Topics section of the Ideal Welcome Page as well as in the Help>Help Topics section of the Ideal software.  Please reference those resources for additional information.

Here are things you may want to consider when preparing a Spring Purchase Order:

Viewing Sales History

To help you determine the quantities of Products to add to your spring order, you may want to view your sales history for those Products.  You can run a Sales Summary Report using the Periodic Quantity – Compare to Previous option.  This will give you the quantities of the products you’ve sold in each period and compare that to the quantities sold in the previous year.  See the Viewing Sales History for Spring Orders topic in the Ideal Help for further instructions.

Creating a Purchase Order Recommendation based on Sales History

Purchase Order Recommendations based on sales history can be used to help you create a more accurate Spring Purchase Order.  See the Running a PO Rec Based on Sales History topic in the Ideal Help for further instructions.


Creating a Spring Purchase Order

One thing to consider when placing a spring order is that if you Finish and Complete the Purchase Order, items on this order may not get recommended on your other Purchase Orders.  This is because Purchase Order Recommendations will recognize that the product is already on a completed Purchase Order.

Tip:  If you want these items to still be added to Purchase Order Recommendations, mark the Leave as Incomplete option when you Finish the Purchase Order, and then do not mark the Treat Incomplete POs as ‘On Order’ check box on future Purchase Order Recommendations until you receive your spring Purchase Order.

Note:  You can still send the Purchase Order using electronic interfaces even when leaving the Purchase Order as Incomplete in Ideal.  After clicking Finished, simply select the Leave as Incomplete Purchase Order option, mark the Interface check box, and click OK.

Did You Know?  When creating a Purchase Order, you can click the Show Activity button to display the Product Activity for the item selected on the Order.  Once selected, click the Hide Activity button to no longer display the information.

Ideal - Purchase Order Entry

Interview with Dareck Makowski of Golf Cars of Arizona on Business Expansion and Adding Computerization to the Dealership



When Dareck Makowski, owner of Golf Cars of Arizona, bought the business, he knew he had some work to do. The previous owners left the dealership with no computerization and a bad reputation throughout the community. Through some renovations, promoting the new ownership and implementing Ideal as its dealer management system, the three-store business has added a fourth satellite location and is benefiting from a 20% per year growth.

We spoke with Dareck to find out how he’s been able to grow the business.

Ideal: How did you get involved with Golf Cars of Arizona and what changes have you made to make it a successful business?

Dareck: “We bought the business in April of 2012 with three locations. Nothing was computerized. There was no database and service was booked on recipe cards. I came into this business from the HVAC industry, and we had a program that I thought was the best one we worked with called Successware. And Ideal has far exceeded my expectations. It’s a software program that’s actually better and easier to use than Successware ever was.

We opened our fourth location last December. I call it a satellite sales office in a small town. Since I took over the company, we’re doing about 20% growth every year.”

Read More


© 2010 Ideal Computer Systems, Inc., All Rights Reserved.