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

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GCArizona

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.”

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Technology Upgrades to Make Your 2015 More Successful

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TechnologyNow that we are fully into the winter season, this tends to be the time of year a lot of dealerships are evaluating what happened the previous year, and what improvements can be done to make this year even better.  A lot of these improvements revolve around technology in your business.

Here’s some important things you should be evaluating right now, from a technology standpoint, to make your 2015 more successful:

Upgrades to your dealer management software
The livelihood of your business is stored within your dealer management software.  Looking back at your busy season, did your system provide you with the important data and processes needed to run your business efficiently?  Are their certain limitations within your current software that you have outgrown?  Now is the time many dealers make the decision to upgrade so they can implement and get the new system up and running before the busy season.

If your dealer management system is working well for you, are there any upgrades you can make to boost your efficiency even further?  Most software companies issue at least a couple updates per year and are always coming out with new tools and features to improve your user experience.  Now is the time to work with your software company to make sure you’re running on the most recent version.  It’s also a great time to add any new user licenses, modules, or new products to your business.

Mobile apps
Mobile technology is becoming more and more part of our everyday lives and the same can be said in dealerships.  Dealer management software companies are now working to tie this technology into their software to help you with inventory, service, sales and more.  This is a great time to check with your software provider to see what kind of mobile features they can provide for you, and if it’s a good fit for your business.

Hardware upgrades
Now is also the time you should be evaluating your computers, cash drawers, scanners, and printers to determine if you need any upgrades before the spring season.  You can make all of the upgrades to your dealer management software that you want, but the performance of these upgrades relies heavily on the condition of your computers.  On average, a dealer should consider replacing their computers every three-four years to help ensure the computers are running the software at a high level and are functioning well in a shop environment that’s prone to more dust, dirt, and grime than an average business.

Credit card processors are another area that you have to keep an eye on.  With changes to compliancy and the introduction of EMV (also referred to as chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature technology), merchant service companies are asking for vendors to implement new readers equipped with EMV technology to avoid future issues.

As always with any software, hardware or equipment upgrade, it’s extremely important that you consult with your preferred vendor and get their professional recommendation before any updates are made.

From the Price List Department: Information on New Price Lists Coming out in 2015

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IdealCSI

We’ve received a lot of calls recently from dealers asking when the new price lists for 2015 will be available. Most manufacturer’s do not release a price file until the effective date, which means we don’t receive the files until then. For example, if Stihl releases a price list effective 1/15/15, we won’t have access to process it until then. Rest assured, we are aware of the manufacturers/distributors who do major updates in January and have been in contact with them. These files will be generated as we receive them so they can be available to you in a timely manner.

Once these price lists are available for you to download, you will receive a notification upon opening your Ideal system. You can open the Price List Loading screen from the notification prompt, or you can do it later by selecting Applications -> Product -> Load Price Lists from the main menu.

We thank you for your patience.

 

From the Support Department: How to Utilize the Ideal Program Help

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We all have that time of year we call the “busy season” where the amount of customers who need service significantly increases.  As a dealer, your busy season is typically in the spring/summer.  At Ideal, this is our busy season.  The months of December, January, and February are when we see the highest call volume, and callback times can be longer than usual.

To help answer some of your questions in a quick and efficient way, we’d like to point you to some resources that will provide some of the quick answers you’re looking for.

The Ideal Welcome Page

We hold weekly meetings where our department provides input on what type of calls we are experiencing the most, and the solution.  These items can be found in the Popular Topics and Frequently Asked Questions sections.  In addition, links to how-to videos and program help are also provided on this page.

Ideal Built-in Screen-Sensitive Help

Ideal has a built-in help system which allows you to find help on most of your current screens.  If you are on a screen and don’t know what to do, click the F1 button to bring up help for the active screen.

Using the Product Help and How To Guide

The Product Help and How To guide provides step-by-step instructions and definitions for most tasks within Ideal.  Once open, the help can be navigated to find the information you’re looking for.  To open the guide, click Product Help and How To in the Resource Center on the Welcome Page.

Product_Help1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that in the Table of Contents on the left, clicking the purple books will expand the sections to reveal relevant topics. Once you find a topic, click to display the contents on the right.

Printing

You can print a topic by right-clicking in the topic on the right and selecting Print from the menu that displays.

Searching

To search for a topic using key words, click the Search tab in the left-side and type in a word. Tip: Using the root (or less) of the word will help find all tenses (e.g. use “allocat” to find allocate, allocated, allocating, and so forth)

Product_Help2

We appreciate your patience during our busy season and we will continue to provide you with the best in customer service both on the phone, and within the program.

From the Price List Department: Important Information about Reloading and Ordering New Lists

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IdealCSIThe Ideal Price List Department has received some inquiries from customers in regards to notifications on new price lists and reloading old ones.  If you receive a fax or notification that a manufacturer has updated their pricing, you DO NOT want to go into the history of a backdated price list and reload the data.  Reloading an old price file DOES NOT have the new part numbers or pricing in it.

For example, if you received a notification that Honda came out with a price list on 11/01/14 and you have one from 8/15/14, you need to order the new 11/01/14 list in order for the new pricing to take effect.  Having the 8/15/14 list resent to you and reloading it will not work.

For more information about ordering new price lists, email pricelists@idealcomputersystems.com or call 800-737-1620 and enter ext. 223 or 224.

Ideal’s 2014 End of Year Procedures and Holiday Hours

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Ideal Computer SystemsThe end of the year is quickly approaching which means many of you are getting ready to close out your fiscal year. In doing so, we’d like to remind you that there are certain functions that you need to perform on your software to close out the year.

To guide you with this, we have created websites for both Windows and DOS users. This information should guide you in closing out your end of year properly.

If you’re a DOS user, please click the following link:

http://www.idealcomputersystems.com/dos_eoy.html

If you’re a Windows user, please click the following link:

http://www.idealcomputersystems.com/windows_eoy.html

Holiday Support Hours for Christmas and New Year’s:

We also want to make you aware of our upcoming holiday hours. These holiday hours are designed to give Ideal employees time with their families, as well as continue to support you. The hours are as follows:

Christmas – 2014:

Thursday, December 25 – Ideal Closed – No Support Available
Friday, December 26 – Ideal Closed – No Support Available

New Year’s – 2015:

Wednesday, December 31 – Regular Support Hours – 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (CT)
Thursday, January 1 – Ideal Closed – No Support Available

We hope you find this information useful and we’d like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

Sincerely,

Your Friends at Ideal

Mike’s Lawnmower Cuts Inventory Counting Time in Half with Ideal’s Mobile App

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Mike's LawnmowerAfter 20+ years working in the industry, Frank Buchanan, the long-time parts manager at Mike’s Lawnmower in Ocala, FL, finally isn’t dreading his end of year inventory count.

Why?

As an early adopter of Ideal’s new mobile app, complete with advanced inventory counting features, Frank has turned what used to be a time consuming experience into a an easily streamlined process.

“In the past, inventory has always been one of the most time-consuming tasks that has to be done at least once a year, minimum,” said Frank.  “The way that it had been done prior to the mobile app was a huge time-waster in my opinion.  It had to be done, but it was a necessary evil.”

“It ate up so much time having to create a report, take all the papers, go to the parts shelves, count them, write them down and manually enter all the changes,” added Frank.  “With this mobile app, it’s literally cut my time in half to accomplish the same thing.  It’s just a huge time saver.  It’s worked really well.”

Not only has the mobile app saved Frank time with end of year counts, it’s now given him the ability to conduct cycle-counts effectively.

“We used to do mainly end of year inventory counting unless we had a reason to do a cycle-count in a particular area,” said Frank.  “With this mobile app, I want to start doing more cycle-counting at least once a month on different areas to keep better track of where we are at.  It just wasn’t possible before from a time perspective, especially during the nine months of the year we are swamped.”

Besides the inventory counting features, Frank and his staff are also looking forward to some of the new features of the app.

“With the other features I’ve seen in the mobile app, the inventory and wholegood features are going to be great,” said Frank.  “It’s nice to be able to pull up the exact wholegood you have in inventory.  The work order features I’ve seen also look really nice.  It’s going to be a huge help being able to check units in and out.”

As a long-time user of the Ideal system, Frank is excited about the new developments of the product and really feels like the mobile app will make a difference for anyone looking to save time and improve efficiency in their dealership.

“Definitely get the mobile app,” said Frank.  “I’ve used Ideal for 18 years and even though it’s been a great system for inventory, it’s really nice now being able to pull the inventory up instantly on your phone or mobile device, walk to the parts shelf and see, in real-time, what you have now.  Even if you just want to do a small cycle count, it’s really easy.  Everything we’ve seen in the mobile app, I’ve liked.  It just seems like a really well thought-out app and so far, for us, it’s been working really well.”

Please Note Ideal’s Upcoming Thanksgiving Hours

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Thanksgiving

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, we want to make sure you’re aware of Ideal’s business hours.  These hours are designed to give Ideal employees time with their families, as well as continue to support you. The hours are as follows:

Thursday, November 27 – Ideal Closed – No Support Available
Friday, November 28 – Ideal Closed – No Support Available
Saturday, November 29 Regular Support Available from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. CT

From everyone here at Ideal, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  We’re thankful to have you as our customer!

 

 

IMPORTANT information on protecting your Ideal system

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IdealCSI

There are viruses out there that are causing serious issues with computer systems and affecting Ideal customers.

These viruses can and will cause major problems with your computers and your Ideal software, and can even destroy the livelihood of your business. Please read the following information to help prevent these viruses from attacking your business.

How do viruses affect your Ideal system?

Any virus can affect your system in a variety of different ways:
- It can have a direct impact on your files in Ideal which could cause anywhere from a couple days, to an entire loss of business data.
- It can cause any of your backup files to become corrupt, which could result in a potential loss of your Ideal data.
- Merchant Services vendors could discontinue their services if you get overrun with viruses and you could incur some compliance and security issues to get your CIP service turned back on.

What steps should you take to prevent these viruses?

BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU SEARCH, DOWNLOAD, AND CLICK ON!

This doesn’t just apply to the surfing the Internet. Many contracted viruses also come from clicking links in emails. If you receive an email that includes a link that you are unsure of, or not familiar with, do not click it!

You can also contract viruses by installing web browser toolbars, fake program updates, and fake anti-virus installations. You can read more about what is and isn’t safe to download by clicking here:

http://www.idealcomputersystems.com/extblog/index.php/on-the-road-with-dave-beware-of-where-you-surf-and-what-you-download

What should you do if you suspect you have these viruses?

You have a variety of options:

- If you have a reputable local tech that you trust, contact them.
- Contact your anti-virus provider.
- If you purchased computers from Ideal, you can send them in for re-formatting. Keep in mind that there is a $150/hr service charge.

Note: For those who are running our online backup - To aid us in minimizing the damage to the backups, we ask that you make a note of the date you first noticed the virus. That way we can backtrack, contact our provider, and eliminate any of the backups after that date. This will prevent the potential of restoring infected data on your freshly re-installed machines.

It’s important to note that as your dealer management system provider, we feel it’s necessary to keep you in the loop about virus protection and how to prevent it from happening to you, but we are not certified to deal with infections, nor do we support dealing with them. It’s best to contact a professional who specializes in virus protection and clean-up.

Please do everything that you can to try and minimize viruses affecting your Ideal system. This information will save you a great deal of time, money, stress, and frustration.

Getting Ready for EMV

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There’s no getting around it. EMV (also referred to as chip-and-PIN, chip-and-signature, or generally as chip technology) is well on its way to the United States.

Effective October 1, 2015, Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Discover will institute a liability shift for all POS devices, excluding fuel pumps.

With the liability shift, if an EMV card is presented and you have not adopted a certified EMV card terminal, liability for counterfeit fraud may shift to your acquirer, who could pass this fee back to you.

Click to download The ABC’s of EMV




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