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These wise words by Robert Toru Kiyosaki, a renowned American businessman and author, resonate deeply with every sucessful company in the world. The story of Optimum info follows a similar trail. Today, Optimum Info offers a range of software solutions tailored to the needs of companies in the automotive, powersports, equipment, and transportation industries for optimizing the performance of dealer networks.
Optimum Info was approached by an industry contact who was burdened by the problem and asked the company to build a Business Management system from the ground-up. Although in a nascent stage, Optimum Info leveraged its industry knowledge to build a disruptive business management solution that is highly flexible, scalable, and growth-oriented.
“This became our flagship product and since then we have expanded our offerings into other related areas like dealer network management, franchise development, field operations and more, to optimize the performance of dealer networks for forward-looking automotive players in the market.” shares Arvind Verma, the Founder and CEO of Optimum Info.
In an interview with the editorial team of CIO Applications, Verma speaks at length about his company’s suite of user-centric software solutions and how they empower Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) with flexibility, efficiency, and fast performance, specifically in the dealer network management and after-sales operations domains.
What, according to you, are the pain points that automotive companies face in the field operations space, and how does your company’s solution address them?
When automotive OEMs sell their products through a franchise network, they deploy field managers who visit the dealers, collaborate with them, book orders, help the dealers improve their processes, and guide them. The field force interacts with the dealers on a day-to-day basis. Similarly, multiple departments in the company interact with the dealers and collaborate through the field force that typically acts as a link between the company and its dealer network.
Many companies rely on traditional CRM tools to assist the field force in their operations. However, we recognized that a CRM system has limited functionality for managing the field staff and their operations, and they require a specialized solution tailored to their needs.
Another major issue in the industry is that companies are still leveraging archaic technology. Even some large companies use Excel or Word document, emails, and phone-based collaboration to manage field reporting which result in scattered information, inefficiency, and poor visibility into field operations. Our field operation system transforms these legacy practices, boosts efficiency, and streamlines workflows across the dealer performance improvement & collaboration process.
In preparation for a meeting with a dealer, having access to KPI dashboards, dealer performance reports, dealer scorecards and other operational data is key. All this information can be easily retrieved from a single platform and shared as needed with the dealer prior to a meeting.
Once the meeting agenda is set, users can schedule meetings with a calendar feature that provides role-based visibility of all field activities based on district / region / national level.
All discussions, action items are documented in the system and can easily be retrieved at all times.
Could you elaborate on your company’s solutions suite?
We offer an integrated cloud-based solution suite to help OEM companies in the automotive, boating, powersports, equipment, and transportation industries optimize the performance of their franchise network of dealers, distributors, and retailers.
• Our Dealer Package Management Solution helps users onboard a new dealer or make a change in the existing dealer network, get all the documentation from dealers, and manage reviews and internal decisions pertaining to dealership appointments.
• Next, our Dealer Contact Management Solution enables field managers to manage all aspects of field operations activities including reviewing dealer performance, scheduling, conducting, and recording dealer meetings as well as assigning/tracking actionable items.
• Through our Business Management Solution, we help OEMs and distributors monitor network performance, and identify opportunities to make the network financially strong and viable.
• To ensure that dealers conduct their processes as per the guidelines from the manufacturers, we have introduced an “Audit solution” which ensures that the right processes are in place and equips dealers to train their staff in representing the brand effectively.
• As we work in the universe of dealer networks, we provide a “Dealer Profile Management solution” that centralizes all the data from different solutions and platforms into one system. It allows users to manage information related to dealers and foster collaboration and communication.
• Our Facility Project Management Solution helps manufacturers manage and track the complete life cycle of a new facility project, renovations, brand image facility upgrades, greenfield, redesign, and more. The system helps track construction milestones and documentation.
What are the key differentiating factors about your business?
From my perspective what differentiates us is the culture of the company.
We try to work as partners with our customers. Having a no-change-order-policy has proven to be a huge benefit our clients.
We chose to stick with this policy for two reasons.
One is a lot of innovations we bring to our products are the results of listening to our customers. And when a customer requests anything that we see as an upgrade to the product, we will happily implement it free-of-charge so that this customer as well as all our other current and future customers can benefit from this change. Essentially, our product gets richer as we grow.
The other point is that if we were to charge the customer for these changes, they might become reluctant about requesting future changes, and any of these upgrades that could be significant would end up fading away. This has allowed us to build a lot of trust and respect in our relationships with our customers.
In the end, a lot of companies can build good software solutions, but having a culture of doing the right thing and being pro-active in helping our customers is what has allowed us to differentiate ourselves from our competition.
Could you illustrate a customer success story?
One of our automotive customers was struggling with a contact management system that had limited capabilities and was difficult to use. They had around 750 dealers in the network, and almost a hundred people, both from the sales and service side that visited the dealers every month. However, they had no proper management or oversight in place. Due to inadequate and improper documentation, they were unable to enforce policies. We listened to their needs and designed a user-friendly system for them, which proved very effective for field managers who are not computer-savvy.
Eventually, they realized that the system could help them in many different ways. We built a module that aggregated all the data without the field managers having to get the data from different sources.
With our system, they could reduce the time taken to prepare for a dealer visit from three or four hours to just 15 minutes. This has increased our system’s adoption rate in the client organization to 100 percent for the last five years.
Additionally, our solution facilitated the internal monitoring and alignment of policies, making collaboration between our client and their dealer network much easier and cohesive.
What are your plans for the future?
We aim to continue growing our presence in North America, and expand our footprint in Europe—Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and the UK. We will continue to reinforce and grow our products with a focus on expanding to other vertical segments like powersports, equipment and transportation manufacturer companies.