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Product Placement

February 2011, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gregory Arroyo - Also by this author

Meet the two guys leading the charge for Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS)’s software and F&I product units: Bob Corbin, president, and Matt Nowicki, director of information technology. We caught up with the execs to talk about software integration, using the menu as a compliance tool, and the new No. 3 F&I product.

F&I: How has IAS faired in the e-contracting, e-rating and e-remittance arms race?

Nowicki: It’s really ramped up over the last six to eight months. Not only are we connecting to more providers, but the way in which we’re doing it is also changing.

F&I: Being that you’re also an F&I product provider, how do you work both sides?

Corbin: As you know, we provide our software free of charge to dealers who sell our products. Now, if one of our customers chooses to use a non-IAS menu and that menu offers e-rating and e-contracting capabilities, then we want to make sure our products are accessible through that menu.

F&I: Has the industry considered a standardized link between product providers and menu makers?

Corbin: For a standard to be realized, dealers need to embrace e-rating and e-contracting a lot more than they do today. If 50 percent of the dealers were e-contracting today, then we’d already have a standardized hub.

F&I: I would think not having a binder full of ratings would be reason enough.

Corbin: That’s how I see it. The reality is, most F&I managers don’t need to pull out the binder for every customer because they sell a service contract above dealer cost, which means they’ve already built in enough margin. So, it’s about building interest in the tools, not the tools themselves. That’s really the battle.

F&I: How has your view of the menu changed?

Corbin: Originally, it represented a way to print something out that had color and life to it, and that was specific to that consumer’s deal. We also spent a lot of time doing tax calculations and a lot of credit life, accident and health calculations. Today, it’s about integration. Currently, we’re certified with the top three providers of dealership management systems — Reynolds, ADP and DealerTrack.

F&I: Integration is a big investment. Have you realized the benefits?

Corbin: Definitely. Most of all, we have the ability to use them as advertising partners, which is a strong marketing tool. But I’ll tell you, the No. 1 reason for me is I never want to be one of those companies that gets a call from the dealer saying, “I’ve got deals to deliver right now and your software isn’t working.”

Comment

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