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Who Is My Ideal Account Manager?

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Due to our growing customer base, we’re pleased to announce that Ideal now has two account managers in place to handle any questions you may have about new products, upgrades to your current system, and provide advice on ways to improve your system.

Ryan TeBockhorst has joined Brian Mohr and each will work with Ideal users in their respective regional territories.  Ryan’s focus is on the Northeast and Southwest regions, while Brian will continue to work with his customer base in the Northwest and Southeast regions.  To make it easier for you to know who your account manager is, we have included a map.

Sales-Rep-Map

 

Click here to find your account manager

If you have any questions, software, or hardware needs, please contact your account manager.

Brian Mohr (Northwest and Southeast Regions)
800-737-1620 ext. 209

bmohr@constellationdealer.com

 

Ryan TeBockhorst (Northeast and Southwest Regions)
800-737-1620 ext. 231

rtebockhorst@constellationdealer.com

 

Announcing the 2014 Ideal Training Seminar Schedule

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IdealCSIA tentative schedule for this month’s Ideal Training Seminar has been released.  This schedule is designed to give attendees an idea of what to expect each day.  We really don’t anticipate this schedule changing.

You can access the schedule here:

http://www.idealcomputersystems.com/2014_seminar_agenda.pdf

We also want to answer a couple FAQ’s you may have in regards to the seminar:

What should I bring?

You basically just need to bring yourself – dress attire is casual.  Seminar manuals will be provided as well as writing utensils for you to take notes.  If you have a laptop with the software on it that you’d like to use, you may also bring that.  We ask, however, that laptops are only used to follow along on your software and not to check email or any other applications that are distracting to the group.  There will also be an Ideal computer lab in the back for you to go over any questions you may have for our staff.  The lab is available during breaks and at the beginning and end of each day.

How long will the seminar last each day?

As you can see from the schedule, the plan is to be in session between 9 and 4 each day.  We ask that you come a little early each day before the seminar starts.  If you have questions at the end of each day, we will be available until 5.

Can I still sign up?

We are still accepting registrations, but seats are limited.  To sign up for the seminar, please visit:

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

If you have any additional questions, you may contact Erin Zein, Ideal’s Marketing Coordinator, at 800-737-1620 ext. 213, or email ezein@constellationdealer.com

Note: Ideal Will Be Closed on Monday, September 1st for Labor Day

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Ideal dealer management software

This is just a friendly reminder to all our users that Ideal will be closed on Monday, September 1st, for Labor Day. Support will resume its normal operating hours at 7 a.m. (CT) on Tuesday, September 2nd.

All of us at Ideal hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

Dealership Expert Bob Clements Will Speak at Ideal Training Seminar!

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bob_clements_webinar

We’re pleased to announce that dealership expert Bob Clements will conduct a best practice session for Ideal users on Tuesday, September, 23rd at the Ideal Software Training Seminar in Cedar Rapids, IA.  Bob will show you key metrics you should be looking at in your dealership and we’ll show you ways to pull that information in your Ideal software.

Bob is president of Bob Clements International (http://www.bobclements.com).  Many of you may recognize Bob from his presentations at the GIE Expo and numerous other speaking engagements across the country.  Bob’s captivating presentations can help any dealer looking to grow their business and boost profits.  It’s a great compliment to the Ideal best practice training you’ll receive at this seminar.

Don’t miss your chance to learn valuable information on Ideal from our lead trainer Dave Baumgarten, AP/GL trainer Nicole Lindsey and interact with a dealership expert.  Dealers from all over the country are signed up and there’s still a limited amount of seats available.  You may choose from our 2-day, or 3-day option which includes in-depth training on Ideal’s AP & GL modules.

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

We look forward to your participation!

P.S. There are still rooms at The Hotel at Kirkwood at a discounted rate, but space is limited.  To reserve your room for $119 per night, call 319-848-8700 or 877-751-5111.  The cut-off date for the discounted rate is Tuesday, September 2nd.

Ideal AP/GL Users – Don’t Miss This Specialized Training Opportunity!

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IdealCSIYou asked for it and we’ve listened!

Due to your dealer feedback requesting more in-depth training on Ideal’s Accounts Payable and General Ledger modules, we’ve decided to conduct an AP/GL boot camp at this year’s Ideal software training seminar.  The seminar will take place Monday, September 22nd through Wednesday, September 24th at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Join our lead AP/GL trainer, Nicole Lindsey, on Wednesday, September 24th as she will cover advanced usages of Ideal’s AP and GL modules including:

- Ideal’s GL setup and how it flows through the program.
- Transactions posting in the GL.
- Creating and understanding GL reports.
- Answers to frequently asked questions you commonly have, and more!

You can choose to participate in only the AP/GL boot camp, but we highly recommend that you attend all three days to get a better understanding how all elements of the Ideal system flow into the AP and GL modules, as well as have time to meet other dealers who use the system.

To view sign-up options, pricing, and hotel information, click on the link below:

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

We look forward to your participation!

Bath Power Equipment on Receiving Additional Training and Getting the Most Out of the Ideal System

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Bath Power

Larry Glenn came to Bath Power Equipment two years ago with a construction background. Eager to step into a new role as general manager for an outdoor power equipment dealership, he knew one of the most important things would be learning Ideal, which had been utilized in the business since the DOS system days.

Larry gave himself a year to fully learn the ins and outs of the system. By attending last year’s software training seminar in Kansas City, he was able to bring a wealth of knowledge back to the dealership. Not only has he taught his staff new features, he’s also been able to break old habits of inefficient ways to use the software.

We recently spoke with Larry to see how the dealership has progressed in learning more in-depth usages of the Ideal software.

Ideal: Can you tell me a little bit about the business and how you got involved?

Larry:“The business has been around for 35-40 years. It started as garden center and nursery. It was developed into an outdoor power equipment shop about 30 years ago and it’s grown since then.

I began working here as a manager about two years ago. My background is in construction. I had worked in the construction field for a long time and it was time for me to look for another position. I found this job and it’s allowed me to stay local and learn a new position. Coming to the outdoor power equipment business was a completely new arena for me.”

Ideal: What do you consider to be the strengths of your business compared to the other dealers in your area?

Larry:“Setting yourself apart from the competition can be hard. I think what sets us apart is the fact that we’ve found a niche. We are truly an outdoor power equipment dealer. Our competitors range anywhere from big-box stores to hardware stores. They do sales and maybe even some service. We offer it all. We’re a full dealer that offers full sales, service and parts, plus we’re well-established. We’ve got relationships with major manufacturers. There’s only so many people out there with the complete package and we’re one of them who does it well.”

Ideal: How long has business using Ideal and what prompted the business to get the product?

Larry:“It was here well before my time. We started off with the Dos-based system and then upgraded to Windows.”

Ideal: In your position what features do you like the most about Ideal?

Larry:“Overall I think it’s quite simple to learn and to operate. At the same time it’s sophisticated enough to let you do a lot of things once you start understanding the capabilities of it. I came in here and gave myself a year to truly learn the system. I was able to go to the dealer training seminar in Kansas City last year and it really helped. We use it for receiving inventory. We use it for point of sale, for our customer records, and work orders.”

Ideal: You’ve mentioned some of the inventory features. How has Ideal helped you manage your inventory?

Larry:“I discover things more and more all the time. After going to the training seminar, I really started utilizing the min-max features and order recommendations, which has worked quite well.

Lean more about Larry’s experience here

 

Ideal Announces Upcoming Software Training Seminar in Cedar Rapids, IA

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Ideal dealer management software

We’re pleased to announce our upcoming training seminar at our home base in Cedar Rapids, IA.

When: Monday, September 22nd - Wednesday, September 24th

Where: The Hotel at Kirkwood – Cedar Rapids, IA

Presenter:  Ideal’s Lead Trainer Dave Baumgarten, and lead AP/GL Trainer, Nicole Lindsey.

Ideal Head Trainer Dave Baumgarten’s 20+ years of experience training many of you on how to use the Ideal software more than speaks for itself. He will teach you tips and tricks on sales orders, work orders, purchasing, price lists, pricing, wholegoods, reports, and more!

New this Year – AP/GL Boot Camp!
Many of your have asked for more dedicated AP/GL training at our seminars and we’ve listened! Ideal’s lead AP/GL trainer, Nicole Lindsey, will present our first AP/GL boot camp on Wednesday, September 24th. Her presentation will cover advanced uses of Ideal’s AP and GL modules.

Why You Should Attend:
These seminars always prove to be an invaluable tool for those who attend. Whether you’re a new user, a long-time veteran, or are looking to educate new employees on the system, you will come away learning new things that will boost profitability and efficiency in your dealership. You’ll also have the chance to interact with a community of dealers, just like you, and exchange best practices.

Hear from other Ideal users on why you should attend this seminar

Costs:
The costs are as follows:

  • 2-day session excluding the AP/GL boot camp = $99 per person
  • 3-day session including the AP/GL boot camp = $129 per person*
  • AP/GL boot camp only = $49 per person

* It’s highly recommended for those participating in the AP/GL boot camp to register for all three days to help get a better understanding of how all elements of the Ideal system flow into the AP and GL.

You will be billed for the seminar October 1, 2014. Keep in mind that you are also responsible for your travel and hotel expenses. Lunch will be provided daily.

Full Seminar Details and How to Register:
www.idealcomputersystems.com/seminar.html

Note: This web link is the ONLY way you can register for the seminar. If you have any questions, please reply to this email.

Thanks and we look forward to your participation!

4 Tips for Making Service Employees More Efficient and Profitable

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Tech Profitability Guide

Now that you’ve discovered ways to generate profits in your dealership with marking up price margins on parts attached to work orders, charging for all diagnostics, posting your hourly labor rate, implementing flat labor rates and offering extended warranties, it’s time to focus on the overall efficiency and profitability your employees generate on a daily basis.

With the help of dealership expert Bob Clements, here are 4 ways your employees can be more efficient and profitable.

1. Keep detailed data in your business management software so anyone in your dealership has the ability to answer questions
We all have that “go-to” person at work that seems to know the answer to every question. But what happens if that person is busy, or on vacation? You’ve just lost valuable time pulling someone else away from their job who might know the answer, and you’ve created poor customer service by making people wait.

In order to help make all of your employees knowledgeable in the eyes of your customers and prevent having to pull employees away from their assigned duties, you need to record detailed information in your business management system. The job of your software is to be that “go-to” person in your dealership, so make the most of this valuable tool. Any employee should be able to look up customer records and answer questions regarding sales orders, service work, and other pertinent information. The more data you have in your system, the more time all of your employees will have to perform tasks that make your dealership profitable.

2. Do not let your technicians look up or pull their own parts
This is an area where many dealerships need improvement. Clements makes it a rule that service technicians do not look-up or pull their own parts. The more time they are away from their service bays, the less billable time they are producing. You need to have your service manager or another employee in place who does all of the parts handling for your techs. A good system is to have a workstation back in your service bays so techs have the ability to create invoices and pick tickets from their working area for the appropriate person to retrieve. This also helps keep your inventory quantities more accurate because there’s a direct process for taking parts out of inventory and recording the data.

We do understand that some smaller dealerships don’t have the resources to assign a particular employee to this specific task. In this case, Clements recommends that you create a second parts location right next to your service techs and conduct inventory counts for those parts on a weekly basis so the numbers are accurate, and your techs always have the supplies they need.

3. Keep your techs operating with an 85% recovery time or higher
Clements states that in order for your technicians to be profitable, they must operate with an 85% recovery time or higher. He measures recovery time as paid time vs. billable time for an 8 hour workday. A break even recovery rate is 75%. If you aren’t at 75%, you are losing money. Clements has seen techs at dealerships work at a 130% recovery rate, so set your goals high.

Your business management software can help you easily monitor these rates if it includes a technician time clock. By having your techs punch in and punch out on work orders, you can easily compile data that will let you know the recovery times of each individual tech as well as your entire team.

4. Reduce amount of non-billable activities for your service technicians
The money generated by your service department is based primarily off the billable work of your technicians. Nothing can be more detrimental to your tech efficiency than having them get sucked into performing tasks they aren’t being billed for such as unloading trucks, answering phones, driving fixed equipment out of the work area, mowing the lawn, etc. A good solution to this problem is to hire someone to do your odd jobs during your busy season on a part-time basis. You could look for high school students, good customers that are knowledgeable about your business, retired people, or someone who is just looking for a couple hours of work per day. The extra money generated from your techs turning wrenches as opposed to doing these odd jobs should justify the cost of hiring someone to do busy work.

Download a PDF copy of the guide here

Come Visit Ideal at these Upcoming Dealer Meetings

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Ideal dealer management software

If you plan on attending dealer meetings in September, make it a point to visit members of the Ideal staff at these upcoming shows:

Arctic Cat Dealer Meeting
September 7-9, 2014
Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, NV

Cub Cadet Dealer Meeting
September 15-16, 2014
Nashville Opryland Hotels by Marriot
Nashville, TN

Ariens/Gravely Dealer Summit
September 24-28, 2014
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
Scottsdale, AZ

We look forward to seeing you there!

Information on Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Server 2003 in 2015

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In a continuing effort to keep you informed of changes that may affect your business, we want to make sure that you’re aware of Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Windows Server® 2003 next year on July 14, 2015.

Often times, we see dealers wait to plan their server migration and upgrades at the last minute.  This tends to cause more of a stressful situation than necessary because a “forced” migration is usually needed.  To help avoid this situation for both your dealership and our production department, it’s highly recommended that you plan any necessary upgrades well in advance to ensure you have the right computer hardware and network infrastructure in place before making the transition.

To stay updated on out most current hardware recommendations, click on the Configuration Instructions link located in the Resource Center of the Ideal Welcome Page.  We also want to remind you that Ideal offers some of the best computers on the market that are specifically designed to handle the needs of your particular dealership.

If you decide to purchase hardware from a third party and need Ideal to configure it to your network, there is a $450 charge for a server setup.  If you decide to configure the server yourself with Ideal’s configuration documents, Ideal charges $195 to migrate the Ideal data base and the Ideal data files to the new server and setup Firebird for the database. This charge must be prepaid and scheduled with our staff in advance.

If you would like more information on the dealership-specific products offered by Ideal, or setup fees for third party hardware, call Brian Mohr at 800-737-1620, ext. 209 or email bmohr@constellationdealer.com.

The countdown to July 14, 2015 is on!  Don’t let yourself be caught unprepared.




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